RARA-AVIS: Bushido

From: DJ-Anonyme@webtv.net
Date: 26 Dec 2004

As I noted in another email, I've been getting into samurai films
(yakuza, too). Much of this stuff is pretty damned hardboiled, especially in the aspect of the cold loner hero fighting against overwhelming odds, both in the number of adversaries and in how corrupt the society is. I said adversaries instead of bad guys because some of these guys, particularly Lone Wolf and Cub, are pretty bad themselves. After being framed by court rivals who killed his wife, the Shogun's former executioner, Ogami Itto, and his toddler son, Daigoro, decide to
"live as demons at the crossroads of hell." They hire themselves out as assassins while still being hunted by those court rivals who still want him dead.

(I know this series was supposed to be an inspiration for Road to Perdition, but does anyone know if James Lee Burke is a fan? While watching the first, I was struck by how much the scene where Ogami Itto's wife is killed was like that in which Robicheaux's wife was killed in Heaven's Prisoner.)

Finally, my questions: Does anyone know if any samurai tales have been translated into English? I've read the stories behind Rashomon, but I'm thinking more of the pulpy samurai tales than the artier ones of Kurosawa (not to say I don't like those, too). I've read the Lone Wolf manga, but it seems that many of these movies, like the Zatoichi series, are based on short stories or novels. Have any been translated?

Secondly, can anyone think of direct influence of samurai on US hardboiled? Although I can't think of any off the top of my head (other than the movie Ghost Dog), I know I've read books where characters
(and/or their writers) have seen themselves as modern day samurai, often referring to Bushido. Can anyone remember any of these? Again, I know about Kurosawa's influence (Seven Samurai to Magnificent Seven, Yojimbo to Fistfull of Dollars), but others?


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 26 Dec 2004 EST