Hollywood Walk of Fame honors late samurai star Toshiro Mifune

Nov 16, 2016

Hollywood Walk of Fame honors late samurai star Toshiro Mifune

Hollywood celebrated the life of legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune on Monday, honoring him with a star on its iconic Walk of Fame two decades after his death. Mifune rose to stardom through filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s classics, including “Rashomon” (1950) and “Seven Samurai” (1954), ...

Every hero has a few human flaws

Nov 1, 2016

Every hero has a few human flaws

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Ryoma Sakamoto (1835-1867), among Japan’s most beloved heroes, came of age when U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry’s Black Ships arrived demanding trade relations and ending the country’s closed-door foreign policy. The old Japan ruled by the feudal Tokugawa shogunate was giving way to the modern ...

Bushido: Soseki, 'Star Wars' and the samurai

Jul 30, 2016

Bushido: Soseki, 'Star Wars' and the samurai

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In September 1912, Gen. Maresuke Nogi — a hero of the Russo-Japanese War — committed ritual suicide. His sensational death took place on the day of Emperor Meiji’s funeral, making it an act of junshi (following one’s lord in death) and a high-water mark ...

Japan's epic samurai dramas are in a tight spot

Feb 3, 2016

Japan's epic samurai dramas are in a tight spot

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Japanese can roughly be split into two camps: those equipped with an encyclopedic knowledge of history and those who have only a vague idea of who the samurai were or that a Shogun once lived in what is now the Imperial Palace. The history ...

Sawamura Award winner Kaneko to start Game 2

Nov 13, 2014

Sawamura Award winner Kaneko to start Game 2

Samurai Japan manager Hiroki Kokubo hopes that right-hander Chihiro Kaneko will continue in Friday’s Game 2 of the Japan-Major League All-Star Series what teammate Kenta Maeda started in a 2-0 win in Game 1. Kokubo called Kaneko, who won this year’s Sawamura Award as ...

Punk author Kou Machida on his offbeat samurai story

Aug 16, 2014

Punk author Kou Machida on his offbeat samurai story

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You wouldn’t expect a punk musician to write decent novels, any more than you’d expect a boxer to be good at darning. The talents prized by the former vocation — restlessness, insouciance, hard-wired disregard for authority — don’t lend themselves to the rigors of ...