samurai

The City of Angels is now the City of Samurai with Los Angeles museum’s awesome armor exhibition

Like clockwork, every winter I get a serious bout of home-sickness. It’s usually triggered by a call or email from someone back home telling me about taking a drive with the top down, watching football on ordinary broadcast TV, going out for some Vietnamese sandwiches, or one of the other things I miss about life in Los Angeles.

“But,” I remind myself, “Japan has lots of cool things too! Where else can you go to the museum and see massive collections of samurai armor, huh?”

Oh, right now you can do that at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art? Touché, L.A.

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Historical Japanese swords turn into hot and battle-hardened Blade Boys in new mobile game

These days, one of the quickest and most popular methods for stocking a video game with a cast of attractive anime-style characters is to pick a class of item and anthropomorphize the heck out of it. There’s currently no hotter mobile game than Kantai Collection, in which players command a fleet of pretty girls who’re all modeled after World War II-era Japanese warships. If naval history isn’t your thing, you can also find titles featuring comely cars and moe mushrooms.

There’s a new entry in the subgenre though, and judging from its all-pretty boy roster of characters, it’s been designed with female otaku gamers in mind. As such, it’s no surprise that the men of Touken Ranbu are all based on something long and hard…plus sharp, as they’re all anthropomorphized swords.

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Edo era Samurai were pretty gay

Recently a Japanese TV program highlighted an interesting bit of historical trivia: The most common type of revenge killing in the Edo period was between gay lovers. It’s a statistic that shocked many viewers in modern Japan, but there is ample evidence to support that a whole lot of gay sex was going on in the country from between 1400 and 1900.

It was at first a playful fancy of the ruling classes but then grew into a cold yet efficiently run military system of battlefield man-pleasuring. However, as we can see from the previously mentioned little factoid, once guys start letting emotions get involved, the whole thing starts to fall apart.

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Samurai tennis! Professional Kei Nishikori trades racquet for a sword in this awesome new ad

Last year, Nissin, makers of Cup Noodle instant ramen, created the awesome Samurai in Brazil ad, in which a soccer player clad in Japanese armor travelled to South America to show off his footwork to the locals. The company later caught up with the freestyle soccer expert in Europe with a sequel, Samurai in Manchester .

In its newest commercial, Nissin isn’t just switching venues, but sports, too, as Samurai in New York features one of the best tennis players in the world, who proves just how talented he is by leaving behind his racquet and delivering powerful forehands, backhands, and serves using a wooden sword.

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Photos from 140 years ago show Tokyo’s skyline was amazing long before the Skytree was ever built

In 1853, the rulers of Japan ended the country’s more than two centuries of isolation from the rest of the world. But while foreigners could now get into Japan for trade and commerce, it would take more than 10 years until Japanese citizens could leave the country, meaning that outside cultural influences were still slow to find their way into the half-opened nation.

As such, there’s a brief, time capsule-like period in which Japan’s culture was still almost entirely of indigenous origins, but foreign visitors had the technology to visually document it, as shown in these beautiful photographs of 19th century Japan.

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Discover your inner Japanese warrior with this samurai name generator

On the road to becoming a modern-day samurai, you’ll have to go through many trials. While learning to speak, dress, drink and decorate like a samurai is of utmost importance, your journey will begin with finding your samurai name. That’s where this handy website comes in!

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The awesome Soccer Samurai is back, and this time he’s fighting ninjas in Manchester 【Video】

Back at the start of summer, our jaws dropped to the floor as we watched what might be the coolest commercial for Nissin Cup Noodle instant ramen ever, in which a man dressed in samurai armor travelled to Brazil and wowed the people of the World Cup host country with his amazing freestyle football skills.

The Japanese national team turned in a less than impressive performance in the contest, though, failing to advance past group play. Would the disappointment over his countrymen’s early exit lead the soccer samurai to retire?

Not at all, as his second video finds the samurai with a new set of armor, new, European surroundings, and now a group of adversaries: ninjas!

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Scholars confirm first discovery of Japanese sword from master bladesmith Masamune in 150 years

Should you visit a history museum in Japan, and, like I do, make an immediate beeline for the collections of samurai armor and weaponry, you might be surprised to notice that Japanese swords are customarily displayed with the stitching removed from the hilt. Visually, it sort of dampens the impact, since the remaining skinny slab of metal is a lot less evocative of it actually being gripped and wielded by one of Japan’s warriors of ages past.

The reason this is done, though, is because many Japanese swordsmiths would “sign” their works by etching their names into the metal of the hilt. Some craftsmen achieved almost legendary status, becoming folk heroes whose names are widely known even today.

The most respected of all, though, was Masamune, whose reluctance to sign his blades has made identifying them difficult. But difficult and impossible are two different things, and for the first time in over a century, a sword has been confirmed by historians as being the creation of the master himself.

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Pikachu ready for battle with his own set of samurai armor

Even though it’s been a week since we made the trip to downtown Yokohama to see the packs of roaming Pikachus, and we’ve still got a warm fuzzy feeling. Actually, warm and fuzzy is also an apt description of the lovable pocket monsters’ plush yellow coats, which brings up a concern.

Cuddly softness is all fine and good when Pikachu is handing out hugs, but what about when he goes back to his regular duties of fighting other Pokémon? Shouldn’t he be wrapped in something a bit more durable, like his own custom set of samurai armor?

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Speak like a samurai with these four antiquated words

The age of the samurai makes one of the best thematic settings for any Japanese movie or TV show. There are so many great historical figures to profile, and even more fictional characters to imagine ourselves as! We might have the look, but how did they talk? What words did they use?

The Japanese language has a word for this “samurai language” called monofu-go. An accidental de gozaru (samurai for “to be”) and a parting katajikenai (samurai for “grateful” or “indebted”) is only the beginning of being “old school” cool. Well fear not, RocketNews24 brings you level two! Here are four more phrases and words that were used back in the day that will help you expand your monofu-go vocabulary!

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Samurai Vader: a historical take on a favorite from a galaxy far, far away

Ever since it hit the scene back in the ’70s, Star Wars was an early pioneer of movie merchandising. Decades later the gravy train of action figures, posters, lunch boxes, notebooks continues. Underoos, Shrinky Dinks, Jell-o molds, clothes hangers, chess sets, virtual keyboards, book ends, and um… I forgot where I was going with this.

For those of you who think it’s all been done before, we present to you something new from Bandai. Behold: Samurai Taisho Darth Vader.

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Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup

There’s now less than a week left until the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and media and businesses all over the world are gearing up. Japan is no exception, with celebratory events going on and brands rushing to launch special themed products. In amongst it all, one particular advert from Cup Noodle maker Nissin has caught our eye for its great combination of traditional Japan and modern Brazil.

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Kamon kamon kamon kamon…branding? Pumps to bring out your inner feudal warlord

Japanese family crests (or kamon), have been passed down through the generations for centuries, although these days they’re mostly seen in the patterns of kimono or the logos of sushi restaurants, as well as on flags and armour. Kamon are circular, often featuring animal or plant motifs.

These family crests have found a new home now, though – as logos on cute shoes! These kamon pumps, from an Ikebukuro-based cosplay store, use the actual family motifs of four armoured generals (“busho” in Japanese) from the Sengoku period, to make up this new feudal warlord series. We do love it when Japan combines old and new!

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Surreal samurai art exhibition mixes the historical with the bizarre

The Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art is located in Yamazaki, a place of historical significance in Japan since medieval times when it served as a field of battle for Toyotomi Hideyoshi to avenge the betrayal and murder of his lord Oda Nobuaga. The museum is currently hosting an exhibition that pays homage to the samurai of those ancient times, in a very modern and surreal fashion.

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Detailed explanation of Japanese armor?!? Show me!

An extremely exciting part of Japanese culture that can be felt even in the recesses of modern Tokyo is its history with bushido: the way of the samurai. There were morals and rules and a strict code of honor that samurai followed and are even in this day still referred to for answers and strength.

But bushido is only a part of what makes a samurai a samurai, with another huge aspect being the look. A man in armor said as much about being a samurai as the practice of Bushido did. The name and place of every piece of armor is certainly daunting, but a very easy-to-understand illustration has surfaced on the Internet, and we are happy to report it’s in English!

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“The Man Who Was Slashed 50,000 Times” gets his first starring role in upcoming film

Since the 1950s, Seizo Fukumoto has been a fixture of seemingly any Japanese production involving samurai. However, you probably wouldn’t recognize his face as he tends to be given the role of “guy who gets killed.” Although he has occasionally taken work outside of period pieces, his constant roles as “soon-to-be-dead guy #2″ has earned him the industry title: The Man Who Was Slashed 50,000 Times.

Having enjoyed a long and bloody career in cinema slightly off center-stage, Fukumoto has finally been given his chance at a starring role in Uzumasa Limelight, a new film hitting Japanese theatres this summer.

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Amazing photography from the 1860s shows us some of Japan’s very last samurai

Between the way Japan has embraced technology and just how incredibly safe the country is, it’s easy to forget that it really wasn’t so long ago that the whole nation was still under the feudal system. Until 1868, “samurai” was still very much a viable career choice, as the ruling shogunate relied on a trained warrior class to keep the peace.

How much the traditions of Japan’s fabled swordsmen live on in Japanese society today is something scholars love to debate, and while there are points to be made both for and against their importance, there’s one thing that unquestionably remains, and that’s photography of real-life, genuine samurai.

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Video proves 19th century samurai and Japanese ladies have elegance all wrapped up

Have you ever looked at the current crop of Johnny’s and female idol groups streaming out of Japan and thought that their high energy hair styles and in-your-face costumes were a little genki for your tastes? Have you ever wondered, “what would they look like as samurai or geisha?” Look no further than this video showcasing the style and class of the 19th century!

Take a look at the video after the jump and see what the rest of the world thinks of Japan’s stoic idols.

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Cup Noodle commercial reveals that the samurai still exist, love idol music

The samurai are one of the most enduring icons of Japanese culture. While anime, manga, and Godzilla are obviously all huge parts of popular Japanese culture that have received attention overseas, the old-school warriors continue to fascinate people of all ages and nationalities. Unfortunately, the real samurai haven’t existed for quite some time, and we’ll never get to see them in action again.

Or will we?!

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Samurai grooming tips that kept Japan’s warriors looking their bushido best

A couple of weeks ago, we shared some historical photos of Japan’s most attractive samurai. Sure, with the arsenal of specialized soaps, lotions, and multi-bladed, razors available these days, it’s not unusual to find handsome models, movies stars, and Internet writers. But how did these guys manage to look so good without all these modern luxuries?

It turns out that along with sword fighting and horseback archery, a strict grooming routine has long been part of the samurai tradition.

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