Tuesday, 31 January 2017

We Were Watching,

a film a couple of nights ago,

 the new Magnificent 7, the 2016 version,

 based on the 1960 version of the same name,

 which in turn was loosely based on the 1954 film 7 Samurai,

 so why the pictures of ladies in Samurai dress? there were in fact women Samurai, known as Onna-bugeisha, they were female warriors belonging to the Japanese nobility, many women engaged in battle, commonly alongside samurai men, they were members of the bushi(samurai) class in feudal Japan and were trained in the use of weapons to protect their household, family, and honour in times of war,

 long before the emergence of the renowned samurai class, Japanese fighters were highly trained to wield a sword and spear, women learned to use naginata, kaiken, and the art of tanto Jutsu in battle, such training ensured protection in communities that lacked male fighters, one such woman, later known as Empress Jingu (c. 169-269 AD), used her skills to inspire economic and social change. She was legendarily recognised as the onna bugeisha who led an invasion of Korea in 200 AD after her husband Emperor Chūai, the fourteenth emperor of Japan, was slain in battle,

and some like Nakano Takeko (1847-1868) likeness above, who fought in the Boshin War are still remembered today, and died a warrior’s death:

While she was leading a charge against Imperial Japanese Arby troops she was shot in the chest. Knowing her remaining time on earth to be short, Takeko asked her sister, Yūko, to cut her head off and have it buried rather than permit the enemy to seize it as a trophy. It was taken to Hōkai Temple and buried underneath a pine tree.

another revered fighter, Tomoe Gozen, appears in The Tale of the Heike (often called the “Japanese Iliad), She is described as “especially beautiful,” and also as “a remarkably strong archer… as a swords woman she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot.” Samurai women fighters, it seems strange that so few films have been made about them whilst so many have been made about Samurai.

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