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Goin’ Japanesque!

Best 4 Samurai Actors in Japanese Historical Drama Movies

The star of Japanese movies is the “Samurai”. The way they live in their way and brandish the sword for something they believe in is loved by Japanese and regarded with admiration all over the world. This time we are introducing the popular samurai actors that livened up Japanese movies.

 

1. Toshiro Mifune

三船敏郎

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Most Japanese will think of Toshiro Mifune when speaking of samurai actors.

His main movies as samurai are the 2 works “Yojimbo” and “Sanjuro” directed by the master of Japanese movies, Akira Kurosawa. He looks rough with a stubbly beard and worn out clothes but once he draws his sword, he hacks the villains to pieces with lightning speed of stage combat. He is amazingly smart and good at plotting against his enemies. He is a lone wolf that helps the weak without relying on anyone else. This is our idea of a perfect samurai.

We cannot forget about “Kikuchiyo”, a droll samurai that he played in the masterpiece “Seven Samurai”. He can be seen as a joker but he carries a belief that a man should always be stronger than others as well as melancholy on his back.

This Japanese man with a bright-face established various samurai images during his lifetime.

 

2. Raizo Ichikawa

市川雷蔵

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In contrast to the fierce Toshiro Mifune, Raizo Ichikawa’s “Nemuri Kyoshiro” series pursue beauty.

Kyoshiro, who kept being persecuted for having a foreign mother and vivid colored hair and eyes, had to live as an outlaw. His miserable situation and figure that is like a statue built through decades make him an independent, lone samurai. The way he performs his secret “Engetsu-Sappou” style of sword work is so beautiful that it could be recognized as some kind of artwork.

One glimpse of the way he carries himself and you will be infatuated by the sophisticated beauty of his style.

 

3. Tomizaburo Wakayama

若山富三郎

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The film version of “Shogun Assassin” performed by Tomizaburo Wakayama displays astounding might out of many samurai actors.

Falsely accused of cursing the Tokugawa clan, Itto Ogami, the “Kogi kaishakunin (aid in suicide)” wanders all over Japan with his son Daigoro. He is so strong that even dozens of men cannot beat him. His demonic power is matchless.

His strength is not only thanks to his outstanding sword technique, but also the various weapons equipped in Daigoro’s stroller. The joint-style Naginata sword is just the beginning. It is so well armed with several guns in the front and swords on the both side that pop out to kill enemies as it runs. The unique atmosphere that Wakayama creates makes this almost ridiculous setting realistic.

 

4. Shintaro Katsu

勝新太郎

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Although he is not a samurai to be exact, the “Zatoichi” series with a hero as “a master of sword play” performed by Shintaro Katsu, is no way inferior to other samurai movies.

The villains ridicule, deceive or intimidate him because of his beggar-like look, obsequious and weak behavior and blindness. But not what he appears to be, he is the one and only master of Iainuki (the art of drawing one’s sword) in Japan and there is nothing he cannot cut with his swordstick.

Possibly because Japanese love unexpected settings like “a puny, blind man actually being an incredible master”, this movie was re-made many times in different adaptations. The one performed by the world famous film director Takeshi Kitano is also popular. Nevertheless, we have to say that Zatoichi by Shintaro Katsu is the most attractive ever.

 

Watching Samurai Movies Can Enhance Your Travel Experience in Japan

There are many other unique samurai actors in Japan in addition to the ones introduced above. We would love for you to enjoy their strong, powerful and attractive way of life at the movie theater or on DVDs?

Learning more of Japanese historical drama through samurai movies should make your trip of Japan even more enjoyable.

Related Articles:
6 Recommended “Taiga” Drama Series: History TV You Can’t Take Your Eyes Off

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