“Short stories about samurai and some runaway horses of modern Japan"

Presented By: Andrés Camacho, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain

Japan was facing the last 10 years of the Tokugawa period, which after over 250 years of military ruling became threatened by the most fearful menace any clan had ever seen: modern times. The bakumatsu is the breaking point in the samurai history because not only they decided the destiny of Japan for the coming modern years, but because they had to choose to whom they would brandish the sword in order to preserve the spirit of such a culture, if against the enemy or against oneself. The spirit of samurai was kept alive in modern Japan, but if we think deeply about the samurai that came through bakumatsu and Meiji Era to preserve the essence of bushido and Japanese traditional culture on the pages of modernity we would find out that these heroes had different ideas about identity and national culture. Takechi Hanpeita, Katsu Kaishū, Sakamoto Ryōma, Saigō Takamori and many others, are only some of the characters who reshaped the meanings of samurai that inspired the most popular heroes in Japanese literature, film and of course, manga and anime. “Short stories about samurai and some runaway horses of modern Japan” is an analysis on how the concepts of life and death for more than 800 years of samurai history have been adapted in Japanese film, manga and anime, and how the modern western thought has influenced the 20th century Japanese authors on shaping and reshaping the spirit of Japan in culture and sub-culture.