Pop Culture and Japan

The Way Of The Warrior: Samurai And Comics

Japanese culture has been popular in the west for years, with anime being woven into the fabric of pop culture. Westerners also visit Japan to learn about the country’s history and the samurai are an important part of it.

The traditional view of samurai are noble, honourable warriors who dedicated their lives to a singular cause. It’s no surprise that samurai have been featured in comics.

But how are they portrayed? Do mainstream comics like Marvel and DC remain faithful to what samurai stood for? Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading “The Way Of The Warrior: Samurai And Comics”

Pop Culture and Japan

Appreciating The Intricacies Of Shinto Funerals With Daken And Wolverine

Everyone has their own way of coping with death, whether through carrying out their own personal rituals or spending time with loved ones. The passing of my grandad has made me think about the burial ceremonies from different cultures, with comics offering an insight into the various practices. After all, death is never constant in comics. But we still mourn characters if we’ve read about them for years.

Japanese funerals are some of the most elaborate, so it seemed appropriate that Wolverine’s death would be honoured through a culture that shaped his life.

During the Death of Wolverine arc, Logan’s son, Daken, carried out a traditional Shinto funeral for his father. Shinto funerals have twenty steps and I’m looking into each one as a way of seeing how grief is processed.

Continue reading “Appreciating The Intricacies Of Shinto Funerals With Daken And Wolverine”

Pop Culture and Japan

The Pop Culture Pub Crawl: Wolverine (Part 2)

The Pop Culture Pub Crawl highlights the drinking habits of different superheroes and Wolverine has a reputation for being one of the booziest members of the X-Men. Wolverine’s love of Japanese culture is one of his defining traits, so let’s take a look at the type of hooch that he’d drink when out on the town in Japan.

Continue reading “The Pop Culture Pub Crawl: Wolverine (Part 2)”

Pop Culture and Japan

What Kind Of Legacy With Lady Deathstrike Leave Behind?

Controlling how you’re remembered is part of the human condition, even when it’s impossible to do. Everyone will be remembered differently, but it doesn’t stop some people from wanting to define their legacy. When a person is gone, what do they leave behind? That is the essence of legacy.

A character that’s battled to define herself is Lady Deathstrike. An enemy of Wolverine, Deathstrike has fought against the X-Men for years. When her motivations are pulled apart, an intriguing character is revealed. Deathstrike’s upbringing and nature have shaped the way she wants to be remembered. Continue reading “What Kind Of Legacy With Lady Deathstrike Leave Behind?”

Oubaitori Life

Oubaitori Life: Wolverine

Japanese culture has a reputation for being deeply spiritual and fluid. There’s plenty of inspiration to be found in concepts such as ikigai/the act of finding one’s purpose. There’s also the opportunity to find inspiration in the principle of oubaitori (oh-buy-toe-ree). This is the idea of not comparing yourself to someone else.

Everyone has their own unique traits, which is why Yamato Magazine is proud to feature a new series called Oubaitori Life. The segment will investigate the lives of fictional characters and see how Japanese concepts are applied to their stories. Let’s start things off with everyone’s favourite Canucklehead, Wolverine. Continue reading “Oubaitori Life: Wolverine”

The Otaku Armoury

The Otaku Armoury: Wolverine’s Muramasa Blade

The Otaku Armoury showcases intriguing Japan-inspired weapons that are found throughout popular culture. Many weapons can trace their roots back to legends and mythical figures, such as Sengo Muramasa. An infamous Japanese sword maker, Muramasa’s blades were said to be cursed and caused their wielders to go mad with blood lust. It’s the kind of reputation that makes an engrossing story.

 So, it’s no wonder that Muramasa swords have found their way into mediums like comics. For example, the Marvel superhero Wolverine has wielded a sword that Muramasa created especially for him. Continue reading “The Otaku Armoury: Wolverine’s Muramasa Blade”

Women Warriors

Women Warriors: Mariko Yashida

Women Warriors is an ongoing series that celebrates the lives of inspirational Japanese women throughout history. And while historical figures like Empress Jingū laid the groundwork for what can be accomplished, it’s worth looking into fictional characters as well to appreciate how Japanese women are represented in popular culture.

Mariko Yashida is a great example of a badass female warrior who broke away from traditional Japanese societal norms. A love interest of Wolverine, Mariko is by no means a damsel in distress. Continue reading “Women Warriors: Mariko Yashida”

Pop Culture and Japan

The Pursuit Of Peace: The Story Of Wolverine And Itsu

In recent years, Japanese culture has found its way into the mainstream western comic industry through Marvel and DC. Marvel has done an excellent job of presenting the nuances of the Japanese way of life in characters such as Silver Samurai and Sunfire. And much of this influence is attributed to the work of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller in the 1980s, with their revamp of Wolverine into a failed samurai looking to reclaim his honour.

Wolverine’s connection to Japan is essential to understanding who he is, and his appreciation for the country has manifested through the women he’s loved. One of Logan’s greatest loves was Itsu, a character who shaped a significant portion of his life.

Continue reading “The Pursuit Of Peace: The Story Of Wolverine And Itsu”

Pop Culture and Japan

The Way Of The Ronin: Yukio And Overcoming Disability

There’s a great variety of Asian characters in comics, and one of the most underrated is Yukio. Best known for her connection with Wolverine, Yukio was born in Japan and operated as a thief and rōnin, a masterless samurai.

She worked as an assassin for the Yashida family, but was eventually crippled and became wheelchair bound. This didn’t stop her from living her life, which demonstrated how strong Yukio is. Most people will be familiar with the character because of 2013’s The Wolverine, where she was played by Rila Fukushima. Although the film did her justice, there’s far more depth to her. Continue reading “The Way Of The Ronin: Yukio And Overcoming Disability”