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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.
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.
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
Usagi Yojimbo Sketch (Signed by Stan Sakai from San Diego Comic-Con 2005)
SIGNED & NUMBERED KIM JUNG GI limited edition USAGI YOJIMBO art print stan sakai
Stan Sakai USAGI YOJIMBO 2003 Calendar signed with sketch
USAGI YOJIMBO Signed ART PRINT Stan Sakai SDCC 2010 Lithograph MIYAMOTO Ronin
Usagi Yojimbo Signed Stan Sakai Sketch Book #4 w/ Original Art / Drawing
Usagi Yojimbo Original Samurai Art By Stan Sakai Tomoe
Original Stan Sakai Usagi Yojimbo Artwork & Ninja Turtle Playmates Action Figure
Stan Sakai orig. artwork - Chizu on the attack
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