Cold Blood

Book one of Sword of the Taka Samurai.

zatoichi dance scene

Dancing in Samurai Film

Painting the life of the common people in a world where the major daily chore was finding enough food, can lead readers to think they are indeed being presented with a bleak world. And yet, the Japanese culture has always been one of songs and dance and laughter. Some genre readers are excited by the swordplay, but wonder why …

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Will a Long Sword Best a Shorter Sword? The “Nodachi” double-length sword.

In Kurosawa’s film Seven Samurai, Toshiro Mifune plays the character Kikuchiyo, the seventh (and odd-ball member) of the seven samurai. For those not familiar with the film, the concept is that seven unemployed samurai (sometimes called ronin, literally “man of the wave”) are hired by a group of hapless farmers to protect the farmers’ village …

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A Woman Samurai in the Era of Genji

The Yamabuki series traces the adventures of a young samurai set shortly after the time of The Tale of Genji. It is in large part a homage to Genji’s author, Lady Murasaki, while never forgetting it is a head-on story of a warrior in the tradition of Japanese chambara (crashing swords) and jidaigeki…

The World of Taira no Kiyomori

As a big fan of Japanese television, I have watched more than a historic drama or two. It is a rather Japanese style to introduce historic dramas by showing the films of historic places as they look today along with artifacts and scrolls. Think Ken Burns and The Civil War, if you are American. The …

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The royal carriage of Taka Yamabuki

Readers of Sword of the Taka Samurai, especially those tracing Taka Yamabuki through chapter 2 of Cold Blood, are told of a royal carriage. Western readers sometimes picture something out of Cinderella — four horses and carriage out of Louis XIV. However, the Japanese carriage of the year 1165 was somewhat different. For example, it …

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