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evalerio
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:18 am    Post subject: Samurai Headhunters Reply with quote
An awful title for a documentary in the Smithsonian Channel. But decided to record it anyway. To my surprise, it was about samurai during the Sengoku Period, hosted by none other than Dr. Stephen Turnbull. From the opening montage the documentary would focus on the dark, grim and the gruesome and horrific nature of samurai warfare. The documentary used three methods to demonstrate samurai warfare.

A Japanese Grandmaster demonstrated how the katana may have been used on the battlefield. His students standing in as multiple opponents. He showed some of the 'dirty tricks' to render an opponent helpless to defend themselves, then delivering the death blow. His own daughter then demonstrating against upright bamboo poles, the proper way to decapitate opponents in battle.

Scrolls showing very gruesome illustrations. The various ways katana were tested on condemned criminals. Very gruesome illustrations of a samurai battlefield with bloodsoaked bodies dismembered. Very disturbing torture and executions of prisoners of war.

Reenactors in full samurai armour recreate the Komaki campaign. The main focus is a fictional troop of samurai. The main character is Masa, a peasant farmer, one of four ashigaru supporting a poor samurai who fight as a footsoldier. During the march to the battlefield, the samurai prevents his thirsty ashigaru from joining a mob of ashigaru from drinking from a stagnant pool. Later that night many get sick from drinking from the pool. The samurai inform his ahigaru, 'The less samurai on the battlefield, the more heads for him'.

The armies of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi then meet on the battlefield of Nagakute. The foot samurai and his four ashigaru are part of the 'Red Devils'. The ashigaru spearmen on both sides are sent in first, they are the main fighting force, as well as 'cannon fodders' Teppo ashigaru blasting holes in the ranks. The elite mounted samurai are held in reserve, waiting for a hole or any sign of weakness in the enemy ranks. When the mounted samurai are committed they cut down fleeing enemy troops. Mounted samurai are shown returning from the battlefield heavily laden with bloody heads. Beheadings of the fallen are graphic. Some are shown as alive and struggling during the process. The beheading of samurai in full armour are demonstrated step by step.

Masa, the lead ashigaru in the story encounter an enemy samurai general. In a short and frenzied fight, he wounds the general and takes his head. His samurai master later discover the decapitated body and takes the generals' elaborate helmet as a trophy. Returning from the battlefield empty-handed, the samurai, desperate for glory, beheads one of his exhausted ashigaru. Together with the general's helmet he will pass off his unlucky ashigaru as the general's head.

Cheating during the head-viewing ceremony was said to be rampant among the samurai. To prevent the 'theft' of heads, names on wooden tablets tied to daggers were often impaled on heads for later collection. Moustache and beards on samurai were important for identification as children and women were sometimes beheaded and presented as trophies from the battlefield.

During the head-viewing ceremony the 'Red Devil' commander shield his face with a fan to prevent the enemy heads from recognizing him. The cheating samurai is exposed as a liar. One of the commanders know the dead general and exposes the cheat. Masa's trophy is brought forward as the real thing. Masa is rewarded and his samurai master is dismissed.

Masa rise in ranks and rewarded with land. He marries a magistrate's daughter and later has an heir. But at the time of Sekigahara, his wife is raped by his former master. Masa is punished for drawing his sword against his former master in the presence of his lord. Masa commits seppuku to regain his honor and preserve his holdings for his heir.

I found it refreshing Dr. Turnbull talked about the ugly side of samurai warfare.


Last edited by evalerio on Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ltdomer98
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Masa rise in ranks and rewarded with land. He marries a magistrate's daughter and later has an heir. But at the time of Sekigahara, his wife is raped by his former master. Masa is punished for drawing his sword against his former master in the presence of his lord. Masa commits seppuku to regain his honor and preserve his holdings for his heir.


Sounds...yeah.
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kitsuno
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The third sentence said it all.
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Thunberg
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Preview videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2DsfR3bNd4

The shows webpage:
http://untoldhistory.tv/samurai-headhunters/

Apparently they have also made an episode on female samurai warriors and one about ninja. Rolling Eyes
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wicked iemon
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:31 pm    Post subject: Samurai Headhunters . Reply with quote
The female Samurai episode is about the Joshitai . The written blurb also states that excavation of a battlefield showed 30 per cent of the bodies found were female .Sadly does not tell us what battle ? ,or where or when it was fought(unless its also at Aizu ).
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owari no utsuke
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Here is the full video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNoUJ9SXGLw
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ughhhhhh...Antony Cummins is one of the docu's alleged 'experts'.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
And hey, here's the "Ninja Shadow Warriors" episode for those of you who enjoy good comedy, also with more Turnbull and Cummins.

Doesn't look like "Samurai Warrior Queens" has surfaced yet, which is the one I really wanted to see.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Sadly the Ninja Shadow Warriors episode has been removed from Youtube.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's ELSEWHERE on Youtube. The ninja are always lurking somewhere.
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R. Evans
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Laughing So they are.
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