Samurai - Popular Culture

Popular Culture

Further information: Samurai cinema

Jidaigeki (lit. historical drama) has always been a staple program on Japanese movies and TV. The programs typically feature a samurai. Samurai films and westerns share a number of similarities and the two have influenced each other over the years. Kurosawa was inspired by the works of director John Ford and in turn Kurosawa's works have been remade into westerns such as The Seven Samurai into The Magnificent Seven and Yojimbo into A Fistful of Dollars. There is also a 26 episode anime adaptation (Samurai 7) of The Seven Samurai.

Eiji Yoshikawa is one of the most famous Japanese historical novelists. His retellings of popular works, including Taiko, Musashi and Heike Tale are popular among readers for their epic narratives and rich realism in depicting samurai and warrior culture.

The samurai have also appeared frequently in Japanese comics (manga) and animation (anime). Most common are historical works where the protagonist is either a samurai or former samurai (or another rank/position) who possesses considerable martial skill. Samurai-like characters are not just restricted to historical settings and a number of works set in the modern age, and even the future, include characters who live, train and fight like samurai. American comic books have adopted the character type for stories of their own.

A film released in 2003 titled The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise, is inspired by the Samurai way of life.

The television series Power Rangers Samurai (Samurai Sentai Shinkenger in Japan) is also inspired by the way of the Samurai.

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