the onna bugeisha: the female samurai

Part myth, part history—-女武芸者—-the Onna bugeisha—-were woman warriors during Japan’s Civil War era. Unlike the numerous female bandits found throughout that nation’s historic records, the Onna bugeisha were traditionally part of Japan’s upper class, which included many samurai households. Trained in the arts of 武士道 (Bushido: the way of the warrior) modern historians have confused research by randomly ascribing the term to numerous historic women who happened to be described as using a sword. Thus, everyone from Empress Jingu, Tomoe Gozen, Nakano Takeko and Hojo Masako have all been labeled as Onna bugeisha. Fact gets blurred even more when seen through the label of art. I make no claim for authenticity, none of these images presented are suppose to represent historic women; rather, most are based on either cosplay actresses who happened to dress in what they thought a female samurai might look like, or photos taken in the 19th century and sold to 外人—–the gaijin—-foreign barbarian devils such as myself. And as such, please, enjoy.

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saya1

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something is going to die painfully tonight

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