Pop Culture and Japan

Ghost Of Tsushima Review: The Samurai Game The World Has Been Waiting For

In popular culture, samurai are often portrayed with a mixture of romanticism and chivalric honour. They are presented with a strict code of honour that’s thought of as heroic, but in reality, the life of a samurai was far more complex. The absolute devotion they had to their code could make them ruthless and cruel to the people they considered to be beneath them.

In many ways, a samurai was a walking contradiction. A warrior who was expected to draw their sword at a moment’s notice, but was also meant to compose haikus, arrange flowers and be the living embodiment of Japanese virtues. This complexity is on full display in Ghost of Tsushima, a game I’ve been waiting to play for a long time and that allowed my inner history geek to run free.

Continue reading “Ghost Of Tsushima Review: The Samurai Game The World Has Been Waiting For”

Poetry

Of Flowers, The Cherry Blossom; Of Men, The Warrior

When the ronin chose his path

He walked it bravely

To cast aside tradition 

To become his own master

Is a lesson that resonates through time

No matter the situation

Relationships, jobs, money

All fall to the wayside 

In the pursuit of inner peace

A priceless feeling that can never be replicated

The stake that sticks up gets hammered down

And rises again

Stronger than ever before 

Pop Culture and Japan

Appreciating The Beauty And Craftsmanship Of Jizai Okimono

Japan is known for having some of the most unique art in the world. Building on centuries of feudal culture, Japanese art has its own style. A famous example of Japanese art is jizai okimono, which translates to ‘move freely decorative object.’ Jizai okimono involves the crafting of articulated sculptures. Beginning in 17th century Japan, the art form is highly specialised and fascinating.

But what are the origins of this beautiful artform and how has it evolved in modern times? Continue reading “Appreciating The Beauty And Craftsmanship Of Jizai Okimono”

Pop Culture and Japan

Japan’s Deadly Female Ninjas: Walking The Path Of The Kunoichi

The phrase 'female ninja' has only gined popularity in the modern day. Even kunoichi was rarely used during the Edo period.

Ninjas are undoubtedly one of the most well-known tropes in Japanese pop culture. As practitioners of ninjutsu, the warriors who followed this path were referred to as shinobi. But it would be incorrect to assume that the role of black-clad assassin was reserved solely for men.

Women could be moulded into the ultimate expression of death as well and they were known as Kunoichi, a term that’s evolved to mean ‘female ninja’ in the modern day. So, what is the history of these mysterious figures and how did they function within Japanese society? Continue reading “Japan’s Deadly Female Ninjas: Walking The Path Of The Kunoichi”

Poetry

Kika Sai

Furusato

The house of the heart

Where memories collect dust on the shelf

Bottled and stored for safe keeping

Childhood painted across every wall

Coloured gold and silver

A tableau for every joy and triumph

Weighed against sorrow and disappointment

Each room has been built to the exact measurement of your ribcage

No bone or strand left out of place

Preserved as a monument to all the lives that you touched

A system pumping the lifeblood of laughter

As they remember every moment spent in your company

Beautiful, bittersweet

Hana wa sakuragi, hito wa bushi

You are home

Pop Culture and Japan

Top Collection Bronze Samurai Figurine Review

Samurai have earned a reputation for being honourable and stoic warriors. They have come to represent the spirit of Japan. Portrayed across countless mediums, the image of the samurai has fascinated scholars, writers and fans of popular culture.

 I count myself among the people who are interested in the history of the samurai. And everything they represent has been captured beautifully by figurine manufacturer Top Collection. The company’s bronze samurai figurine is highly detailed and evocative. Continue reading “Top Collection Bronze Samurai Figurine Review”

Japanese Cuisine · Pop Culture and Japan

The Dos And Don’ts Of A Japanese Tea Ceremony (According To A Legendary Samurai)

A traditional Japanese tea ceremony is one of the most important aspects of Japanese culture. A celebration of harmony and the transience of life, the tea ceremony can be a transformative experience, and like many traditions, the ceremony was a crucial part of the samurai lifestyle.

In addition to being fierce warriors, samurai were meant to be cultured and poetic. They placed great value on the Zen nature of the tea ceremony and believed it needed to be carried out in a certain way. The famous samurai Umawatari Bogyu was one of many warriors who adhered to strict tradition, and in his opinion, the tea ceremony could only be enjoyed under a set of specific rules. Continue reading “The Dos And Don’ts Of A Japanese Tea Ceremony (According To A Legendary Samurai)”