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Usagi Yojimbo, Rabbit Samurai created by Stan Sakai

Usagi Yojimbo is the story of a ronin (masterless samurai) rabbit whose tales are published in a series of comic books and graphic novels. Created by Stan Sakai, the samurai, Usagi, roams a mythical,  medieval Japan ( the beginning of Edo period Feudal Japan - early 17th century ). Wandering the land as a shugyosha (student warrior on a pilgramage) and otherwise following the honor code that governs samurai, Usagi occasionally sells his services as a yojimbo (bodyguard). Hence the title "Usagi Yojimbo". There are great sword fights and  cool ninja, from every animal species as anthropomorphic animals replace humans in the drawing and stories.
 
Usagi Yojimbo is that rarity in the world of comics: A book conceived, written, lettered and wholly illustrated by one person - and produced not for just a few stories, but over an extended period. Tom Luth provides cover coloring but otherwise, the story, artwork, coloring and lettering are all done by Stan Sakai. And this has been going on since 1985, ever since the notion of the Samurai Rabbit occurred to him.  The character first appeared in the second issue of a limited-run comic called Albedo. The stories are marvelous and the artwork roams from compelling to zen-like.
 
The "Rabbit Bodyguard's"  full name is Usagi Miyamoto. This comic book character is  loosely based on the famous Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi,  His adventures draw from Japanese myth, legend, history and popular culture. There are other fascinating character in the comic books, including  the female samurai, Tomoe Ame (an anthropomorphised cat) who is based on the woman warrior Tomoe Gozen.
 

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Usagi Yojimbo exhibits a strong moral code (and strong story writing). Usagi Yojimbo also often juggles storylines as it follows several distinct characters unwittingly meandering their way toward their ultimate convergences with one another - stories within stories... Usagi is often attacked by bandits and enemy ninja. These opponents frequently disguise themselves as harmless peasants, villagers or priests.
 
Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo began in 1985 and is still published regularly, currently by Dark Horse Publishing. Sakai said that Usagi had been optioned many times over the years and that it was currently optioned for both a film and TV series. However, the cartoonist cautioned fans that this meant nothing at all in Hollywood.
 
Sakai, a third-generation Japanese-American,  notes that he was born in Japan and grew up in Hawaii. His mother, much like his most famous creation, came from a family with a samurai tradition.
 
If you are looking to read  about and understand the world in which the Japanese Samurai lived, you will get a great glimpse in the comic books about Usagi Yojimbo. The books consist of short stories, with underlying larger plotlines which culminate into longer, extended story arcs. The stories include many references to Japanese history and Japanese folklore, and sometimes include mythical creatures. The architecture, clothes, weapons, and other objects are drawn with a faithfulness to the period's style. There are often stories whose purpose is to illustrate various elements of Japanese arts and crafts, such as the fashioning of kites, swords, and pottery.
 
There is beauty, widsom and lots of Samurai action when you read about the Adventures of the Rabbit Samurai, Usagi Yojimbo.

About the Author:  Scott Harker is the publisher of several websites including: Pin-up Artist, Battling Pests, Mesothelioma, and Spiritual Paths.

- Recommended Resource -

Usagi Yojimbo Books



A Wandering Ronin is Ambushed by Bandits - Dark Horse Comics: Usagi Yojimbo

Based on the Dark Horse comics series Usagi Yojimbo (http://www.darkhorse.com/Search/Browse/usagi/PpwNwkt8?page=1) Learn more at http://www.darkhorse.com/ CL...



Stan Sakai Related Items For Sale

1 of a kind Usagi Yojimbo Original Production Art 80s Fantagraphics Stan Sakai 1
Posted on Tuesday April 18, 2017

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Stan Sakai USAGI YOJIMBO 2003 Calendar signed with sketch
Posted on Friday April 14, 2017

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1 of a kind Usagi Yojimbo Original Production Art 80s Fantagraphics Stan Sakai 7
Posted on Tuesday April 18, 2017

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Usagi Yojumbo (Rabbit Bodyguard) Sketch - Signed art by Stan Sakai
Posted on Tuesday April 11, 2017

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1 of a kind Usagi Yojimbo Original Production Art 80s Fantagraphics Stan Sakai 9
Posted on Tuesday April 18, 2017

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Original Stan Sakai sketch of Usagi Yojimbo
Posted on Saturday November 26, 2016

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1 of a kind Usagi Yojimbo Original Production Art 80s Fantagraphics Stan Sakai 2
Posted on Tuesday April 18, 2017

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USAGI YOJIMBO Signed ART PRINT Stan Sakai SDCC 2010 Lithograph MIYAMOTO Ronin
Posted on Tuesday November 29, 2016

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News About the Samurai Comics

“Samurai Jack" Returns With More Mature Lens - New University
Posted on Tuesday April 25, 2017


New University

Samurai Jack" Returns With More Mature Lens
New University
The original “Samurai Jack” ran for four seasons from 2001 to 2004 on Cartoon Network and starred the eponymoustitular character (Phil LaMarr) in his quest to defeat the evil demon Aku (Mako Iwamatsu). After nearly defeating Aku with his magic sword ...

PokeRecap - Challenge of the Samurai - Comicbook.com - Comicbook.com
Posted on Saturday April 22, 2017


Comicbook.com

PokeRecap - Challenge of the Samurai - Comicbook.com
Comicbook.com
To celebrate the Pokemon anime's 20th anniversary, we're recapping an episode of the series every Saturday! Episode Title: Challenge of the Samurai!Original ...

and more »

'Samurai Jack' 5.06 'XCVII' Review: Ashi Discovers Jack's Legacy - Heroic Hollywood (blog)
Posted on Monday April 24, 2017


Heroic Hollywood (blog)

'Samurai Jack' 5.06 'XCVII' Review: Ashi Discovers Jack's Legacy
Heroic Hollywood (blog)
Samurai Jack takes us on a trip through memory lane with Ashi and a surprise character. Meanwhile, Jack goes to a dark place as the stakes rise.

and more »

"XCVII" · Samurai Jack · TV Review Samurai Jack takes a backseat ... - A.V. Club
Posted on Monday April 24, 2017


A.V. Club

"XCVII" · Samurai Jack · TV Review Samurai Jack takes a backseat ...
A.V. Club
“XCVII” is a pretty unusual episode of Samurai Jack, in that the samurai himself is barely featured. The only real precedents for this are “Aku's Fairy Tales” (which ...

and more »

Lone Wolf & Cub: The Best Comic Book Movie Franchise Ever? - Den of Geek US
Posted on Wednesday April 05, 2017


Den of Geek US

Lone Wolf & Cub: The Best Comic Book Movie Franchise Ever?
Den of Geek US
Koike came up with the idea because he wanted to take the typical story of a 'superheroic' samurai but one with a vulnerability – hence the addition of an infant son who travels everywhere with him. The comic was a phenomenal hit and it wasn't long ...

and more »

Samurai Jack finds himself in the comically literal belly of the beast - A.V. Club
Posted on Sunday April 09, 2017


A.V. Club

Samurai Jack finds himself in the comically literal belly of the beast
A.V. Club
But “XCV” puts him in the position of finally having to interact with someone for a prolonged period of time, and Samurai Jack finally gets to flex a few of its old comic muscles. Still, the beginning of the episode maintains the same tone as the rest ...
Wacha! 'Samurai Jack' is back and it's more brutal and beautiful than everScroll.in

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Cool Old Movie Review: Pauline Kael On Tampopo - Deadspin
Posted on Tuesday April 25, 2017


Deadspin

Cool Old Movie Review: Pauline Kael On Tampopo
Deadspin
The whole movie—an understated burlesque of Westerns, samurai epics, and gangster films—is constructed like a comic essay, with random frivolous touches. (Goro wears his hat in the bathtub, like Dean Martin in Some Came Running, and it works on its ...


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