samurai

What stormtroopers and Boba Fett would look like if Star Wars was set in feudal Japan

With just under four months to go until we finally get Episode 7 of Star Wars, many people have a galaxy far, far away on their minds. Some people are clamoring for any and all kinds of movie tidbits, while other fans are desperately trying to avoid all spoilers. Which means it’s the perfect time to release some “alternate realityStar Wars toys to the public.

Although, when your toy is this cool looking, any time is the perfect time.

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Even samurai ran late! Newly discovered document shows one warrior’s excuse to his boss

We’ve all been there, waking up late after the alarm didn’t go off or just hitting the snooze button a few hundred times too many. Sometimes the excuses are legitimate and sometimes everyone knows you didn’t actually get food poisoning while rescuing a Girl Scout troop from a box of bad cookies. Still, calling in sick has a timed-honored tradition of hard (and lazy) workers for decades — and, in fact, for centuries!

A recently discovered document on display at the Tochigi Prefectural Museum reveals the reason why one daimyo (samurai warlord) was late to an important meeting with his boss, the famous Toyotomi Hideyoshi. We’re guessing “Sorry, boss, I have a sore throat!” probably didn’t cut it with one of Japan’s great unifiers…

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Women in Tokyo are cutting through stress and fat with this new “Katana Exercise” class

There’s a growing fitness trend in Tokyo, but it’s nothing new really, being based on age-old traditions: Katana Exercise.

Not only will you be taught to swing a sword like a samurai by a handsome teacher, but you’ll cut out stress and extra fat. Check out our hands-on experience of the class after the jump!

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Samurai cats look awesome, teach us about Japanese history and culture at the same time

Over the years here at RocketNews24, we’ve brought you news of cats in kimonos, kittens in coffees and sushi cats that fly through the air. So as soon as we stumbled upon a collection of mighty samurai cats being awesome, we knew it was our duty to bring them to everyone’s attention.

These warrior felines wrestle with giant fish and ride on tigers but they also teach us a thing or two about history and pop culture in Japan. Can you guess what famous Japanese movie inspired the group of cats in the image above?

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Iron Man Samurai is the most awesome thing you’ll see today 【Video】

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably spent some of your daydream time contemplating awesome collaborations like Colossal Titans morphing into toy cars, Crayolas whittled into Star Wars character heads or even cats flying through space on pieces of sushi.

While we may not have the graphic design skills to visually realise half of our crazy awesome ideas, there’s one lucky man who can. Jack Lee, an artist from Hong Kong, has successfully melded Iron Man with a Japanese samurai warrior and the image he came up with is simply amazing. We take a look at his time-lapse video to see just how much effort went in to creating the perfect Iron man samurai.

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Samurai fashion guide – Should you wear your sword blade-up or blade-down?

In any situation, it’s important to dress appropriately. It can be tough to get all the little details just right, though, especially when dealing with articles of clothing you don’t have occasion to use very often. If you’re still a student, for example, you might have trouble tying a nice, crisp knot in your necktie, and even if you’re an adult working in a suit-and-tie business environment, you might not know all the finer points for more formal accessorizing, such as where to position a tie bar or the proper way to fold a pocket square.

Or, if you’re going to meet up with your fellow samurai, should your sword point upwards or downwards?

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Samurai Toothpicks with bite-sized language lessons will help you look and sound like a swordsman

If you watch a lot of samurai movies or TV shows, you might have noticed that a toothpick is about as common a costume accessory as a set of paired swords. The reason isn’t because samurai were particularly fastidious about dental hygiene, though. Many fictional samurai stories re set in the Edo period, when the end of Japan’s centuries of civil war caused the warrior class’ power and prestige to begin slowly but surely eroding.

The samurai were a prideful bunch, though, and were loath to admit the new societal reality that swordsman had suddenly become a far less lucrative profession. So even if they couldn’t afford to regularly fill their stomachs, many would still lodge a toothpick between their teeth to give the impression that they’d just polished off a lavish meal fit for a man of high rank.

Of course, it takes more than just a toothpick to transform yourself into a samurai. You’ll also need to talk the talk, which is why these traditionally made Japanese toothpicks come individually wrapped with period-correct samurai phrases, and even helpful English translations and pronunciation guides.

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Get your own angry mob of medieval Japanese peasant farmers with these collectable sets!

Fictional depictions of Japanese medieval warfare tend inevitably to focus on samurai, the military nobility. Whether the medium is cult movies or collectible models, Japan’s common foot-soldiers barely get a look-in compared to their samurai masters.

Ukrainian company Redbox, however, aims to buck this trend by producing plastic figurine sets of the Japanese peasant infantry.

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Driving just became so much more thrilling with this katana-handle shift knob

A while back, we introduced a realistic ninja throwing star origami template for all of you ninjas-in-training, but if you’re more of a sword-wielding samurai-type (and you happen to drive a truck), you can now turn your shift knob into a samurai sword! Or, well, at least half of one…

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Engineers teach robot to swing katana at 1,000 foes, hopefully don’t awaken its bloodlust 【Video】

We recently took a look at the latest iteration of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, which showed us how far scientists have come in building sophisticated robots, and yet how far those machines have left to go before they can get from point A to point B without falling down hilariously. But little did we know that while we were snickering at those clumsy creations, another group of engineers were building their own robot that can perfectly perform a severing strike with a samurai sword.

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Women, gamers, and foreigners all show up to be samurai for a day at Sengoku battle reenactment

Some people in Japan have no more than a passing interest in the country’s long and fascinating history, which is at least partly the fault of how the subject is taught in schools. Many history classes place a heavy emphasis on memorization of the exact dates and years of important events, leaving less time for studying the people and motivations behind them.

There’s been a recent surge in history buffs, though, especially in regards to the Sengoku, or Warring States, period which lasted from the mid 15th century until the very start of the 17th century. But it’s not crusty old historians leading this charge, as a recent samurai battle reenactment had women making up some 40 percent of the volunteers, whose ranks were also bolstered by video gamers and foreign residents of Japan.

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Expert Swordsman Isao Machii is back and fighting fried shrimp at 130km/h for SoftBank!

They don’t come much more badass than Isao Machii. Dubbed the “Heisei Samurai” or “Modern Samurai” he’s a five-time Guiness World Record holder for feats such as slicing a BB pellet in half mid-flight with a sword. He is also the creator of the Shushin-ryu style of Iaijutsu which is a martial art centered on sudden sword strikes.

Needless to say, this guy has the skills to pay the bills. And pay bills he does by occasionally appearing in commercials. Last year, we saw him promote Toaster Strudel by playing a live version of Fruit Ninja. Now, he’s back to take on more food with his mighty sword, this time at speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour (93 mph).

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Skiing samurai shreds the slopes with katana ski pole

Every ski season in Japan brings with it an army of skiers and snowboarders keen to make tracks in fresh, world-class powder snow. But how can you make your mark when you’re surrounded by hundreds of people decked out in ordinary ski jackets and snow goggles?

One keen warrior-loving skier found a solution to this problem by donning some heavy samurai armour on the slopes. And just to make sure he had everyone’s attention, he decided to forgo the ski poles for a long, single-edged sword known as a katana.

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Prepare for battle? Colonel Sanders across Japan found decked out in samurai armor 【Photos】

Kentucky Fried Chicken – American fast food chain and purveyor of greasy, finger-lickin’ goodness – has firmly established itself in the Japanese landscape ever since the first store opened in the 1970s, and has been a Christmas-dinner staple in Japanese homes since. At pretty much any location you stop by, Colonel Sanders will be there to greet you in his signature white suit, his plastic-y smile welcoming you inside.

In the past few days, however, Colonels across the nation have been spotted in full samurai garb. What is the meaning of all this? Is KFC about ready to wage a Last Samurai-esque battle of the fast foodies? Unfortunately the truth is not that epic, but all these Samurai Sanders still look pretty cool as they get ready to celebrate the upcoming Japanese holiday Boys’ Day.

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Nightingale floors: The samurai intruder alarm system Japan’s had for centuries

For centuries, Japan has taken pride in the talents of its craftsmen, carpenters and woodworkers included. Because of that, you might be surprised to find that some Japanese castles have extremely creaky wooden floors that screech and groan with each step.

How could such slipshod construction have been considered acceptable for some of the most powerful figures in Japanese history? The answer is that the sounds weren’t just tolerated, but desired, as the noise-producing floors functioned as Japan’s earliest automated intruder alarm.

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Sith lord or samurai lord? Darth Vader becomes decorative doll for Boys’ Day in Japan

A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away (from English-speaking territories, anyway), Yoshitoku Taiko made its first doll. Founded in 1711, the company’s history goes back to a time when Japan was ruled by a shogun, and the country sealed off from the rest of the world.

More than three centuries later, Yoshitoku Taiko is still in business, but Japan is now part of the global community. That’s why the company’s latest offerings are two exquisitely crafted dolls of Darth Vader in samurai armor.

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Samurai and swimsuit models? New TV show offers both in one sexily convenient place 【Photos】

When I first told people I was moving to Japan, many of them immediately said, “Ah, you’re moving there because you like Japanese girls, aren’t you?” And while it’s true that after arriving in the country I did meet, start dating, and am now married to one of the locals, my attraction to Japanese culture and history played a bigger part in my moving across the Pacific.

Of course, there’s no law that says your loves of history and beautiful women have to be mutually exclusive, which is why a new TV series is set to premier that features sexy models stripping off samurai armor to reveal their swimsuit-clothed bodies.

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How to armor yourself in the event of a sudden attack: A guide for samurai beginners and pros

An online retailer specializing in ancient Japanese armor, helmets, and horse harnesses has been getting a lot of clicks recently for their detailed, illustrated instructions about how to rapidly equip yourself (and your horse!) with armor in a pinch. Both novice and advanced warriors are sure to learn a thing or two from this handy step-by-step guide–take a look, and you’ll never be unprepared in the event of a stealthy ninja attack again!

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Iwate Prefecture’s recruitment poster for the Japan Self-Defence Force is kind of confusing

The Japan Self-Defence Forces are the unified military forces of Japan, established after the Second World War. Recruits are tasked with maintaining the security of the nation and, occasionally, with international peacekeeping for the UN.

Recently, however, this recruitment poster for the JSDF in Iwate Prefecture has been raising netizens’ eyebrows online for, well, a number of reasons, but they might not be what you were expecting…

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Meet WHISPERED — the heavy metal band from Finland with a samurai spirit!

Sure, we know that Japanese samurai warriors, with their bushido code of honor and their sharp katana swords, are seriously cool, right? Well, such warriors may be an existence of the past, but we can understand how they continue to hold a strong fascination for people not just in Japan, but abroad as well.  To our delight, we’ve found a group of such samurai fans, in far away Finland no less, and they’re making their fondness for samurai and Japanese culture heard very loudly indeed!

Meet WHISPERED, the Finnish heavy metal band whose look and work have a decidedly Japanese and samurai theme. And judging from comments online, Internet users who’ve heard the band’s music seem to have good things to say in this case of Japan meets Scandinavia!

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