Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride – the Dark Samurai

21st Century Samurai Girls

Most of the characters in Hyakka Ryouran are based on actual people from the history of Japan. I thought I’d sum up who’s who, starting with the Dark Samurai.

Dark Samurai

The Dark Samurai, from left to right.

Houzouin Inshun (宝蔵院胤舜) is quite an exception. First of all, she’s not even a proper samurai, instead a ninja. The Inshun she’s based on was a famous warrior monk and spearman who lived in the late 16th-early 17th centuries. He was born in 1589 (Tenshou 17) in Yamagoe, Kyoto. He completed and standardized the Houzouin spear style that In’ei founded with the support of Yagyuu Muneyoshi, and uses a cross-shaped spear instead of a traditional one. He died in 1648 (Shouho 5).

Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵) was a famous swordsman of the same era. He developed the Niten swordfighting style and was a renowned fighter who proved himself in a number of duels (the most famous of them is probably his duel with Sasaki Kojiro commemorated by a statue at the place of the duel on Ganryuu island). He wrote the Book of Five Rings, a significant publication on the art of warfare. He was a very significant person of his age, a respected warrior and an acknowledged strategist. He took part in the planning of the city of Himeji. He was born in (probably) 1584 (Tenshou 12) as the son of the skilled martial artists Munisai. Unusual for warriors of the age, he didn’t die in battle, but (presumably) of cancer in 1645 (Shouho 2).

Sasaki Kojirou (佐々木小次郎) was also a prominent swordsman of his age. Ironically, he’s most remembered for his death in a duel against Musashi in 1612 (Keichou 17). The place of the duel, Ganryuu island bears his battle name (巌流) too. His signature move was the so-called Swallow Cut (very deadly), claimed to be named so because it was so fast and precise that he could kill a swallow mid-flight. Not even that could save him from Musashi though.

Last up is Araki Mataemon (荒木又右衛門), most known for helping Watanabe Kazuma avenge his brother in the Revenge of Iga by killing Kawai Matagorou. Born in 1599 (Keichou 4), some say he was the pupil of Yagyuu Munenori and Juubei. He died suddenly in 1638 (Kan’ei 15) in the castle of Tottori. Some say he was assassinated by the family of Kawai Matagorou.

This entry was posted by Vale.

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