The Other Samurai

When most people think of the Samurai they usually picture men. Well, my feminist side led me on a bit of a search and sure enough there were women Samurai, just as powerful as the men.

6 Responses to “The Other Samurai”

  1. xensen  on August 10th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Interesting. Otomeki5 also touched on the topic of women and martial arts in Japan. The “halberd” (not really a halberd in the strict sense but rather a swordlike blade on a long pike) was a traditional weapon for women.

    At the same time that we recognize the contributions of women we should also remember that “there was great subordination of women in samurai culture,” according to catalogue author Thomas Cleary.

  2. Rochelle  on August 11th, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Wow – thanks for sharing the video! I never knew women Samurai existed either! Did you make that video yourself? Great quality – thanks.

  3. namastenancy  on August 11th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I’ve read a bit about warrior women in various cultures, including China and Japan but what I hate is that their lives always end in tragedy. What’s the point of being the Joan of Arc of Japan (or France either) if you end up dead. A statue just doesn’t cut it when you are dead, dead and did I mention — dead? Plus, as Tom points out, the position of women in samurai culture (as in many other cultures) was distinctly subordinate.
    But at least she got to hack off a few heads before they shot her down.

  4. namastenancy  on August 12th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    There’s an interesting review in today’s NY Times on a Japanese sword maker and the shrine to the Japanese war dead – the old ways die hard (if at all). Anyway, it’s an interesting addition to our discussion on samurai culture:

  5. wodeford  on August 20th, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Two words: Tomoe Gozen, mentioned in ‘The Tale of the Heike.’

    Was she real? Whether she was or not, her legendary status is reflected by the fact that a re-enactor portrays her in the annual Jidai Matsuri processions in Kyoto

  6. Corinne Takara  on August 23rd, 2009 at 10:50 am

    This is so interesting and surprising. I enjoyed the simple elegance and high quality of the video. Thank you for posting it. I will be sharing this with my students and my own children.


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