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General Notes on Tokugawa Japan:

The Adventures of Nemuri Kyoshiro take place during the Tokugawa Era (approx. 1603-1868, also called the Edo Period), during the term of the 11th Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Ienari (served 1787-1837); thus, the time period is considerably later than that of Lone Wolf & Cub and The Razor. This period of military-rule was characterized by its relatively peaceful order overall, clear division of the social hierarchy, extravagance by the privileged classes, isolation from the West, and a lot of convoluted treachery, as well as many important cultural and intellectual developments.

For many centuries, Japan had a form of feudal system, in which the servants, vassals and palace guards of the Daimyo (the military Lords of independant regional domains, who maintained a castle, a home base, and several strategically-located satellite fortresses) were granted a piece of land (a fief), or in most cases, a stipend that came with a specific official post. In return, the vassals were expected to dedicate their lives to the service of their masters. The relationships between masters & vassals were based on this reciprocity of services and rewards, and were emotionally very strong. It was not uncommon for the servitors and followers of a Lord to join him in death.

Almost two-hundred Daimyo-ruled domains and their associated castle-towns existed in the early-Tokugawa period, of various sizes depending on each Daimyo’s holdings and the agrarian production of the fiefs they controlled. However, the number of Daimyo decreased quickly during this era, as the Tokugawa Shogunate was always maneuvering to reduce the power of, and if possible, destroy, the Daimyo.

Tokugawa society as a whole was divided into four basic classes. Class was somewhat hereditary, in that once born into a particular class, it was impossible to become a member of a higher class. Although not a wealthy class and owning no land (land was owned by the Daimyo alone), at the top were the privileged class of Samurai (about 10% of the total population), the governing, sword-carrying members of the society. The Samurai class originally emerged around 800 AD, and they were highly skilled in military arts, and highly educated, especially in Confucianism, whose basic philosophy taught virtues of benevolence, propriety, righteousness, fidelity, wisdom and loyalty.

Each person was expected to follow the virtuous examples of the ancient sages. The Shogunate demanded that Samurai closely follow these rules of conduct and ordered that they study Confucian classics. In the early years of the Tokugawa Era, the Shogunate was heavily concerned with the problem of a large number of Samurai who became masterless as many Daimyo fell and lost their domains. These detached Samurai were called “roonin,” and many of them went on to become teachers of swordsmanship, Confucian scholars, somewhat-privileged farmers, or simply became a part of the townspeople.

Swordsmanship is an interesting tradition that is carried on from one school of practitioners to the next. Each ’school’ or ’style’ is called a “ryuu,” and is centered around a set of teachings, principles, customs and techniques. There were and are many ryuu in existence, in various sectors of martial arts.

In addition to strict adherence to Confucianism, also among the Samurai’s codes were many related to ritual combat. As cumbersome as it may seem, if, for example, Samurai from two different Daimyo domains decided to fight each other, both sides would agree on the site of combat and avoid using dishonest means to take unfair advantage of each other. In “The Chinese Jade,” for example, Nemuri and Chen Sun agree, in a quite formal and almost friendly way, the terms under which they’ll duel, possibly to the death!

Accounting for approximately 80% of the population were the peasants, the class of people whose function was, in short, to serve the Shogunate and the ruling classes’ economic requirements. These villagers were required to till the land, producing grain (rice, barley, and wheat), and were taxed harshly; 50% or more of the crop (esp. rice, which often played a role of currency in many official functions). As the Shogunate’s expenses (which included expensive constructions and renovations, as well as the extravagant lifestyles of its members) skyrocketed, the tax burden on the peasantry became higher and higher. Many families were severely punished for failing to pay the required taxes, and some had to sell family members into temporary bondage (slavery was illegal, but this form of service was a common practice).

In fact, the brothels (whose customers were largely Samurai) were filled with daughters of these peasants. In addition, the Shogunate considered the peasants to be a readily-available labor force. They regularly called upon the peasants to participate in maintaining public roads and facilities.

The majority of the townspeople consisted of artisans and merchants. Many of these, as well as the retainers of the Daimyo and the Shogunate gathered around castle-towns where most business was done. Among these were wholesalers and money-lenders, some of whom accumulated enormous fortunes and survived into the modern era, transforming themselves into some of Japan’s largest companies.

At much lower social rank were the ’commoners,’ which the Shogunate classified as a part of the ’outcast’ population. These included exiled and ostracized members of villages, as villages had their own appointed chiefs who punished unruly members of their villages by sentencing them to exile. Others, the so-called “non-people” and “lowly-people” included: descendants of slaves, people with physical disabilities and abnormalities, beggars and prostitutes. This class was at the bottom of the social hierarchy, and as such, they were not accounted for in official surveys, and were required to live in certain fixed (and undesirable) areas.

Interestingly, actors and performers were officially considered to be outcasts, as they were also required to live near their theaters, and to hide their faces in public.

Seppuku was a ritual form of suicide-execution, mainly indulged in by the Samurai, which originated in the late 1200’s. It involved disemboweling oneself with the sword, after which the execution-assistant, or “Second,” delivered the decapitating coup-de-grace. There were many reasons for which Samurai committed, or were sentenced to commit, seppuku (breaking the code of conduct or being on the losing side of a plot were the most common) but Samurai would also sometimes commit seppuku to protest an action by their Lord which they felt to be unfair.

During this era, there were also great cultural developments, many of which could not have been possible without the extravagance of the ruling classes. Such developments include literary works, especially haiku (17-syllable poetry) and fiction. The higher classes enjoyed literature, because education, which included literature among other topics such as military arts, was fairly well organized. Even the commoners could receive some form of education at temples, or by masterless Samurai.

Puppetry and Theater also became very popular, primarily in the Yoshiwara entertainment district of Edo (Edo was named the capital, Tokyo, in 1868, after the new Meiji government was established), where many Kabuki theaters, tea houses, and brothels, were located.

Aside from these were developments in the fine arts. Woodblock printing and painting, originally introduced to Japan from China around the 8th century, while mainly commercial productions subject to the censorship and approval by the city magistrates, took art to new heights. Ukiyo-e, “the pictures of the floating world,” and others by such famous artists as Hokusai and Hiroshige, influenced many European artists, especially the French Impressionists. Military crafts were also being perfected by a few artisans, most of whom were employed as retainers of the Daimyo and Shogunate. Prior to the isolation of Japan during the Tokugawa rule, Japan had a short-term trading relationship with the Portuguese, and in 1543, muskets were introduced, and many smiths quickly learned to produce them. Despite the Samurai preference for honorable swordplay, a fair amount of dirty-work “got done with guns.”

Sleepy Eyes of Death 1

“How the heck did we end up fishing, here off Tsukuda Island, of all places?!”

Tsukuda-Jima is a small island, approximately a mile in length, located where the Sumida River, a large river that flows through Edo (now Tokyo), meets what is now Tokyo Bay.

During the Edo times, the island was crowded with fishermen who set out to catch schools of “shirauo” (whitebait) which congregated in the area.

Tsukuda-Jima is famous for “Tsukuda-ni,” which is cooked fishmeat mixed with other seafood, such as shrimp (and clams, at times), soaked in a sauce mixture of soysauce, sake, and so on.

“Ninja, eh?” - Igamono, Shinobi, and Ninja

These words are often used almost interchangeably in Samurai films.

Iga (far south-west of Edo, now a part of Mie prefecture), one of many provinces that was not a part of the scattered Shogunate domains, and thus not under the Shogunate control, also was home to many spies, Ninja and gangs that regularly infiltrated the Shogunate domains on behalf of various causes. So many of these spies, etc., were from Iga that the words “Igamono” (Iga-person) and “Igashuu” (Iga-people) eventually became synonymous with such infiltrators regardless of their true origins.

The kanji character used in the verb “shinobu” (to snake, stealth about, or hide) is the source for “shinobi” or “shinobi no mono” which literally means someone who engages in stealthy acts. The two kanji used in “shinobi no mono,” when joined together as one word, is read “ninja,” which is an equivalent term that’s more commonly known throughout the world.

Unless it is clear that a reference to “Igamono” is actually a reference to someone from Iga, we translate this term as “Ninja.” For the other two terms, we typically use the term that is spoken unless it would be confusing.

“Sankin-koutai”

In 1634, in an effort to control the Daimyo, the Shogunate instituted a policy known as “Sankin Koutai,” or the “Alternate Residence System” - a regulation that obliged the Daimyo to spend every other year in service to the Shogun in Edo. The Shogunate was interested in hitting the Daimyo with the enormous expenses of constant relocation, but a side-effect was the rapid expansion of Edo, as the Daimyo established great urban mansions there - which in turn promoted the development of the town.

“Kagome, Kagome”

A popular “Birdcage” game played by children. The player (the “Bird inside the cage”), whose eyes are covered, is surrounded by a singing, circling crowd.

The object is for the player at the center to guess the identity of the person who’s behind him when the song finishes.

“Tokiwazu”

Tokiwazu is a form of “joryuri,” or music-accompanied narration and singing. It was popularized during the Edo era as Kabuki became widely-known by the masses.

The singing is accompanied by a shamisen, a 3-stringed lute-like instrument.

“This is a perilous time... the million-koku fief of Kaga is at stake!”

The so-called “Koku-daka” system of calculating rice production was adopted before the Edo era. During the Tokugawa period, it became the standardized way to rate the holdings of the villages and fiefs. A “100,000-koku” Daimyo meant that he ruled a domain that produced 100,000-koku of rice.

Of Koku, George Sansom says that: “...the product of one choo (approx. 2.5 acres) of first-class paddy,” which are wet fields where rice is grown, “is of the order of 10 koku, a koku being the equivalent of about 5 bushels of dry measure in England or the United States.” Furthermore, “...in all discussion of the amount and quality of the crop, the ruling fact is that 1 koku of rice is the average annual consumption of one person.” He also states the amount of labor that’s needed for producing such a sizable amount: “To cultivate one choo of mixed (wet & dry) arable land required the full-time labor of four or five men.”

To give you a better idea, the Shogunate, combining all of its scattered fiefs, controlled about 7 million-koku. There were almost 300 Daimyo, who altogether controlled 25 million-koku. Kaga, which was the richest fief, was a “million-koku fief.”

In 1601, the ’gold’ coin called a “koban” was first minted, and was worth 1 ryoo. At first, it weighed 44 momme of silver (1 momme = 3.75 grams, or 0.13 oz.) and contained 67.7% gold, 27.8% silver, and 4.5% copper. But the value (and content) fluctuated widely over the years. In early-mid 1700’s, it equalled 60 momme of silver, and also equaled 1 koku of rice.

In the second film, we see the “kotsubu” coin, worth 1/4 of a ryo.

For simplicity, we’ve chosen to use “gold pieces” when necessary.

Noh Masks

Perfected in the 14th century, the Noh dramas, which originally grew out of plays and dances performed at Shinto shrine festivals, are Zen-influenced theater noted for their presentations that are highly stylized, abstract and restrained. Its stage is very plain, with little or no background scenery. Performers’ expressions are through stylized gestures and movements, and musical accompaniment is provided by the chanting of a chorus.

Masks are usually worn by the principal actor of Noh plays, and so there have been many skilled craftsmen over the years who produced them for a living.

“My father was... an official for the Kaga Clan.”

The fief of Kaga was the richest in Japan. It was assessed at over 1 million-koku.

“No description of the commercial undertakings of the Kaga fief would be complete without reference to the remarkable smuggling which was carried out by a merchant named Zeniya Gohei,” Sansom says of the real-life character upon whom the Zeniya Gohei character is based. Zeniya “...resided in the harbor town of Kanazawa and is said to have owned (circa 1850) two hundred vessels and to have a capital of three million-ryoo. The administration of the fief, after turning a blind eye to his operations for some time, decided to confiscate all his possessions. He was imprisoned, and died in gaol, while his sons and his manager were crucified. The charge against him was that he had committed some offence in regard to a small reclamation scheme, but this was obviously a dishonest excuse. The exact truth is not known, but it is clear that the clan authorities wished to lay their hands on his wealth, and were not scrupulous in their choice of an excuse. Much of Zeniya’s trading was quite legitimate, consisting of the carriage of goods to and from the Hokkaidoo; but his enterprise shows that the desire to engage in foreign trade was growing fast.”

Kanazawa was also the castle town of the head of the Maeda family (in real life), the richest daimyo in Japan, the source upon which the Lord of Kaga, Maeda Nariyasu, is based. The first of the Maeda line, Lord Maeda Toshiie, first resided in the castle in 1583. The castle is today a hugely popular tourist attraction.

Because the Kaga Clan encouraged artists and craftsmen to move into the fief, the area became known for first-rate arts and crafts. Gold leaf, for example, which is used in lacquerware, is more or less exclusively produced in Kanazawa. In fact, it was Toshiie himself who first ordered the craftsmen in the Kaga region to produce gold leaf.

Bugyo (Official)

Chisa refers to her father as “bugyo,” which is a reference to his position. During the Edo period, there were thousands of bugyo across the country appointed by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Governor, magistrate, commissioner, superintendent and overseer were just a few of the ranks.

“He was implicated in the Zeniya case, and committed seppuku.”

In regard to the character Zeniya Gohei, George Sanson states in his book A History of Japan that “No description of the commercial undertakings of the Kaga fief would be complete without reference to the remarkable smuggling which was carried out by a merchant named Zeniya Gohei,” He continues. “...(Zeniya) resided in the harbor town of Kanazawa and is said to have owned (circa 1850) two hundred vessels and to have a capital of three million-Ryo. The administration of the fief, after turning a blind eye to his operations for some time, decided to confiscate all his possessions. He was imprisoned, and died in jail, while his sons and his manager were crucified. The charge against him was that he had committed some offense in regard to a small reclamation scheme, but this was obviously a dishonest excuse. The exact truth is not known, but it is clear that the clan authorities wished to lay their hands on his wealth, and were not scrupulous in their choice of an excuse. Much of Zeniya’s trading was quite legitimate, consisting of the carriage of goods to and from the Hokkaidoo; but his enterprise shows that the desire to engage in foreign trade was growing fast.”

Kanazawa was also the castle town of the head of the Maeda family (in real life), the richest daimyo in Japan, the source upon which the Lord of Kaga, Maeda Nariyasu, is based. The first of the Maeda line, Lord Maeda Toshiie, first resided in the castle in 1583. The castle is today a hugely popular tourist attraction.

Because the Kaga Clan encouraged artists and craftsmen to move into the fief, the area became known for first-rate arts and crafts. Gold leaf, for example, which is used in lacquerware, is more or less exclusively produced in Kanazawa. In fact, it was Toshiie himself who first ordered the craftsmen in the Kaga region to produce gold leaf.

“The sky... the sea... and the Musou-Masamune blade...”

A 14th century swordsmith, Okazaki Masamune is one of the several celebrated masters renowned for their artistry. It is said that he supplied swords to some of the most powerful warlords and warriors during the early 1300s (the late Kamakura Era, a period known for many large-scale battles among warlords). Only a few Masamune swords have survived to the present day.

Each of Okazaki Masamune’s creations was christened “Masamune” as part of its name. Although it is not stated whether Nemuri Kyoshiro’s sword, “Musou-Masamune” (where “Musou” means “void of emotions”), is a genuine Masamune creation, we can safely assume that it is in any case a masterpiece.

“Above us flows the Sumida River.”

Flowing 23.5 km (14.6 miles) through the eastern part of Tokyo, from north to south and into Tokyo bay, the Sumida River is the closest of the Tokyo rivers to the center of the ciy. For that reason, it is a popular and crowded recreation area for the people of Tokyo.

Note: The nickname of the Sumida River is “ookawa,” which literally means “big river.”

“But, if you were with us as well, we’d be invincible.”

In the scene where Zeniya Gohei is expressing his desire to have Nemuri as his partner, he quotes an old saying - “Oni ni kanabou,” which literally means “An Iron bat for Oni-Devils.”

Oni are mythical, monsterous creatures from Japanese legend. Since an Oni was a powerful being to begin with, letting him have a strong weapon like an iron bat would only make him even more powerful.

The phrase is used to exemplify just that - great strength or invincibility. It was popularized during the Edo era when it was used in a popular cardgame.

“There is a statuette of Buddha called the Jade Statuette.”

Note: The actual material of the statuette is probably a type of jasper.

Tokiwazu Singing Instructor “Mojiwaka”

Tokiwazu is a form of “joryuri,” or music-accompanied narration and singing. It was popularized during the Edo era as Kabuki became widely-known by the masses.

The singing is accompanied by a shamisen, a three-stringed lute-like instrument.

“Engetsu-Sappo” -- The Full Moon Cut

Nemuri Kyoshiro’s fictional fighting technique. It literally means “Full-Moon” or “Circle” Technique of Killing. As Nemuri explains, it is a technique in which he would draw a circle with his sword -- the idea being that his opponent will be slain by the time the circle is completed.

”Chen Gen-Ping... didn’t he come from the Ming Empire, and introduce Shorinji-Kenpo?“

There are many theories about the origin of karate, which was formerly known as “kenpo,” or “the way of the fist.” One popular story goes that Bodhidharma (c. 520 A.D.), a great Indian Buddhist priest who had extensive training as a warrior, travelled to China, and spent almost a decade at the Temple of Shaolin (which, in Japanese, is Shorin-Ji) teaching meditation, and later breathing techniques, to the monks there. [These teachings became known as Ch’an, or Zen, by the time they spread over to Japan.] Bodhidharma had soon incorporated fighting techniques, especially through his knowledge of “vajramushti,” a form of weaponless fighting, into Ch’an. This was perfected over the years in China as ch’an-fa, which then evolved into many distinct styles, particularly those popularly known as Kung-fu.

During China’s Ming Dynasty era (1368-1644), much commercial and cultural trade took place between China and Okinawa. A legend says that Chin Genpin (or Chen Yuanpin), a Chinese scholar of ch’an-fa, brought the Shaolin teachings to Japan during the late Tensho Era (1573-1591) and eventually became a naturalized Japanese citizen. In the film, Chen Sun states that he’s the 13th descendent of the older Chen.

Shorinji-Kenpo is now among the most popular styles of karate and is currently taught all over the world.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 2

Tokugawa Ienari - the 11th Shogun (ruled 1787-1837)

During Inenari’s rule, governmental expenditure was among the highest of the Tokugawa Era. With each passing year, spending continued to rise, as did the considerable personal expenses of this self-indulgent and hedonistic shogun. Ienari had one true wife and almost twenty concubines, and it is said that he fathered fifty-five children. Many Daimyo and rich merchants followed his example and lived extravagantly, spending large sums of money on bribes and gifts, and on both reputable and disreputable forms of entertainment. For example, since the weddings of Ienari’s daughters were “...celebrated in an extravagant fashion, the Daimyo had to make frequent and handsome contributions...” [Sansom]). Their lavish habits led many businesses to blossom; theaters and other entertainment establishments (including adult pleasure-domes) were always full of customers.

But this profligate spending caused the price of many goods to skyrocket. By early 1800’s, in an attempt to restore economic order, the Shogunate had repeatedly asked merchants and villagers for financial contributions, but these efforts were largely unsuccessful.

When MIZUNO Tadanari became a Roojuu (Member of the Council of Elders) around 1818, he was immediately approached by a current Finance Commissioner (the role portrayed by Asahina in Sword of Adventure) about solving the financial problems of the Shogunate.

A Shogunate Mint officer, GOTO San’emon-Mitsunori, suggested to Tadanari a scheme to issue debased coinage, in an attempt to first bail out his own troubled House, and then the Shogunate. This plan only staved off the inevitable for a short time; each issue of debased coinage showed only enough profit to last until the next financial crisis, at which time the cycle began again. Although almost 5 million ryo of profit were raised this way, the scheme inflated the currency, devastated the economy, and brought the Shogunate closer and closer to oblivion.

Moreover, the 1830’s and 1840’s inflicted upon Japan a series of famines and plagues, which resulted in numerous peasant uprisings. The stage was being set for the Meiji Restoration.

“I see. In that case, here’s five mon.”

The minting and standard usage of gold coins called Oban and Koban (“big coins” and “little coins,” respectively) was ordered by the goverment in the late 1500s. Oban, which were almost a foot long, were primarily used among administrative offices and retainers, while Koban, thanks to their more portable cigarette-box size, were the coins widely used by merchants and richer townspeople.

The koban issued in 1601 by Fushimi Mint (which was founded that year by Ieyasu, the 1st Tokugawa Shogun) was worth 1-ryo and the Oban was worth 10-ryo. It should be noted that 1-ryo was a lot of money for an average person. Mon coins, at 1/4000th of a ryo, and kan coins, at 1000 mon, were the coins most people used.

1-ryo can be considered roughly equivalent to 350,000 (Based on the gold exchange rates, reported by NHK in the late 1990’s). 1-ryo bought roughly 1 koku (approx. 180 liters or 5 bushels) of rice, which is about a year supply of rice. In a recent NHK documentary, it was reported that Tokugawa Ieyasu (the 1st Tokugawa Shogun) had amassed by the time of his death approximately 6 million-ryo of gold (about 64% in Koban, 14% in Oban, the rest in other forms of gold), roughly equivalent to 2.1 trillion Yen.

When Kyoshiro plants his wallet for the boy to find, he is carrying “about 10-ryo in koban, and about 2 kotsubu,” a lot of money for anyone during that time. Likewise, the five mon that Asahina pays the boy was the smallest unit of currency.

“He’s the son of a samurai... and his father was a kendo master.”

The sword fighting technique known as kendo (literally “way of the sword”) originated in the military clans of 12th century Japan. With the introduction of shinai (bamboo swords) and bogu (armor) in the early 18th century, as well as training methods in the late 18th century, modern kendo was born. Today, there is an estimated six million practitioners of kendo around the world.

“Treasure boat pictures! Treasure boat pictures! And Doochuu-sugoroku games!”

Doochuu-sugoroku is a game similar to Life, in that you roll dice to get from the beginning to end. Specifically, the starting point is either Edo or Kyoto (you decide which way you want to go at the beginning) and the Tokaido Road is the board. The game features the 53 stops of the Tokaido and each stop includes a picture of the location, with special sights, items needed for the location, as well as instructions (skip ahead, go back, miss a turn).

Pictures of a treasure boats are sold on January 1 and 2 every year and used as good luck. On the night of January 2, people place the pictures under their pillows to help give them good dreams. If a person has a good dream that night, it is regarded as good fortune.

On January 1 and 2, vendors sell Doochuu-sugorku and a picture of a treasure ship as a package deal.

Soba Noodles

Soba noodles are very thin buckwheat noodles which can be eaten hot or cold and prepared in dozens of different ways. The most popular noodles, kake soba, are eaten directly out of hot soup bowls, as is seen in the film. Mori soba, on the other hand, are chilled noodles served on a plate and dipped into sauce.

A variety of items are added to the top of soba noodle dishes, such as deep-fried vegetables, wakame seaweed, and raw egg. The popularity of soba noodles outside of Japan has spawned new recipes, such as Soba Noodle Salad, which are cold noodles mixed with vegetables and sesame dressing.

Note: If you ever have soba noodles in a restaurant, the size of the noodles are a good indication of how long thy have been in the broth. Since soba noodles are thin, if they sit too long and absorb too much liquid, they will swell.

Nabeyaki-Udon Noodles

Udon are thick flour noodles typically served in a bowl containing soup-broth.

Much like soba noodles, udon is topped with a variety of items. One particular Japanese dish that has become quite common, zaru udon, are cold noodles served with a cup of sauce for dipping.

“Brother Johannes Serdini.”

The word “iruman” is one of many Portuguese loan-words that found their way into Japanese during the 15th and 16th centuries. It is a localized pronunciation of “irmão” (brother), and is now no longer used.

Two of the most commonly-used Portuguese loan-words are “pan,” from “pão” (bread), and to the chagrin of anglophiles everywhere, “igirisu”, from the archaic “inglez” (English). However, the story that “arigato” derives from “obrigado” is incorrect.

A sense of the complex interplay of the religious and secular motives behind the Japanese / Portuguese trading relationship can be gotten by considering the following Japanese words, all of which are of Portuguese origin: Arukoru (Alcohol), Botan (Button), Jiban (Kimono underwear!), Kirishitan (Christian), Rosario (Rosary), and, of course, Tabako (Tobacco).

“Underneath that Jizo statuette there...”

One of the most beloved of all Japanese divinities, Jizo Bodhisattva (“one who seeks enlightenment”) is the patron protector of infants, mothers, travelers, and firemen. He is usually portrayed as a child-monk, often carrying a pilgrim’s staff with six rings that jingle to warn animals of his approach. Jizo also carries the bright jewel of Dharma truth, whose light banishes fear.

As the patron saint of infants, Jizo takes particularly keen interest in children who die prematurely. When they are sent to the underworld to build stone towers (as punishment for the grief caused to their parents by their early death) and beaten by a demon, Jizo comes to rescue them. Even today, there are often heaps of stones around Jizo statues, as many believe that a stone presented to Jizo will shorten the time that their child suffers in the underworld.

Although originating in India, Jizo is more widely revered in Japan, China and Korea. He entered Japan around the sixth or seventh century. Jizo has achieved enlightenment but postpones Buddhahood, and therefore the rest of Nirvana, until all can be saved.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 3

Killing to test a sword

During the Edo period, many corrupt samurai exploited their high social rank to engage in “tsuji-giri,” which involved roaming around town late at night and randomly testing their swords and techniques on innocent people. Tsuji-giri became so widespread at one time that the Shogunate addressed it in a group of civil laws collectively known as “Hyakkajou”.

“Let’s kill him and cut his head off!”

A wide variety of inventive forms of torture and execution existed in Edo times, of which several are mentioned in this film:

Sarashi - the captured criminal (more or less automatically guilty upon capture, of course) is bound to a sign stating the cause for his arrest, the point being that he’ll be humiliated in public. Usually, in an economy measure, the culprit’s head was severed before it was attached to the sign.

Hikimawashi - not as gruesome as sarashi; here, the criminal is spared from execution, and is tied up and carried around in public, bearing banners stating the nature of his offense.

“It’s a bamboo sword.”

“Takemitsu” swords are made of bamboo. Even though shaped like genuine swords, they cannot cut. As such, they were often used when use of real blades was not possible or desireable, such as when practicing sword techniques. Among swordsmen, “Takemitsu” is also a nickname for dull and unsharpened swords. In the early part of the film, Kyoshiro had to sport a Takemitsu because his swordsmith was doing maintenance work on Kyoshiro’s sword - Muso Masamune.

“Was that Gototei Kunisada?”

Gototei Kunisada (1786-1865), or Kunisada I, was one of the most famous Ukiyoe (“Picture of the Floating World”) painters. Kunisada went by the name “Toyokuni II” in the later years of his career, naming himself after his mentor Toyokuni, and interested readers may wish to read up about the conflict that occurred when Kunisada chose to name himself Toyokuni II, when there was already another Tokyokuni II, who was actually Toyokuni’s son-in-law and an artist in his own right!

Like Hiroshige, Kunisada was a prolific artist, best known for his woodblock prints of sceneries, landscapes and portraits. In the film, Kunisada is seen preparing to produce an ichimai-e, a kind of a woodblock portraiture, of Okita. Somewhat like the WWII-era pin-up girl posters in America, these inexpensive prints were sold in great numbers, and were very popular among the common townspeople.

“I’m Toda Hayato... Uragasumi Iai style.”

“Iai style” is the art of quick-draw swordfighting from a seated position. Many Iai forms exist, but the basic objective is to defeat the enemy at the very moment the sword is drawn. It is said that the first Iai style originated in the late 1500’s. During the late Edo period, Iai was often used by certain traveller-merchants on major roadways as a form of crowd-gatherer. Variants of Iai are widely practiced to this day, especially in kendo.

“...and so I went there disguised as a seller of daifuku.”

For many centuries, sugar was considered more of a medicinal resource than a foodstuff. As such, “wagashi” (confections and other snack foods utilizing sugar) were not a regular part of the diet of the common people until the 16-17th century. Zen tea-ceremonies gave birth to molded, hard confections earlier on, but their descendants, incorporating rice and beans, revolutionized the way wagashi were made in the Edo period, because they could be moulded into a variety of textures and forms.

“Manju” and “Daifuku” are some of the most common wagashi, which have dough-like, rubbery rice shells. They come in many forms, the most popular having cores of sweat-bean paste.

Wagashi, like manju, are also commonly used as offerings to the gods and the deceased at temples, shrines and graveyards.

Sado Island

For many centuries, Sado Island, located off the west coast of Japan, was an officially designated penal island of exile. Many criminals, as well as the disgraced people of high rank, were sent to Sado on a regular basis. (It is interesting to note that Sado is home to the famous world-travelling troup, the “Kodo Drummers”!)

Sado was also one of the major sources of the Shogunate’s gold in the 1600’s, due to the discovery of substantial lodes of ore.

Today, the Sado Island is a popular tourists’ attraction, although the harsh weather conditions in the winter and summer greatly restrict the tourist season there. But then, the tourists can leave when the weather gets bad...

“This is the lane to the Tenjin Shrine.”

This line from an old children’s song contains a reference to an important figure in Japanese culture. Sugawara-no Michizane (d.903 AD) was a famous scholar known for his political theories as well as for his poetry. After his death, he was deified as a god of learning, and was named “Tenjin-sama”. In honor of this, festivals are held annually on March 25th.

Many shrines and temples honoring the Tenjin-sama exist. Although open to people from all walks of life, because Tenjin-sama is associated with learning, it is a well known custom for college-bound students to gather in great numbers, where they give offerings to pray for their success.

Cranes and Turtles

Cranes (“tsuru”) and turtles (“kame”) are two creatures which symbolize longevity. A proverb says that “Crane (live) for 1000 years, Turtle for 10,000.” This saying, which originated many centuries before the Edo period, comes from the fact that cranes and turtles were actually thought to be divine creatures that live almost forever.

Rice Rackets

In the period between the late 1700’s and mid 1800’s, rice brokers, such as Yamazaki Denkichi, Konami’s father, were making an exellent living, many times acting as money- lending agents to the samurai class - mostly the Shogun’s retainers and vassals. Such transactions, which usually carried high interest rates, involved the pledging of the samurai’s rice stipends as collateral. In the late Edo period, as the Shogunate’s financial situation worsened, rice brokers and other money-lenders became among the most successful profiteers in history.

When many of the Shogunate’s retainers, having defaulted on their loans, took to the streets in riots that resulted in considerable damage to the property (not to mention the bodies!) of the brokers and money-lenders, the Shogunate attempted to deal with the problem by regulating the rates of interest that could be charged.

Ryogoku

Ryogoku is an area in what is now the Sumida Ward of Tokyo. In later Edo times, the downtown Ryogoku district was very prosperous, with hundreds of shops and kiosks located at the edges of widened streets.

Some of the most famous woodblock prints of this period, such as Hokusai’s masterpieces, are scenes of Ryogoku’s central areas and the Ryogoku Bridge. Popular woodblock portraitures of women and pop-idols of the day (i.e. theatrical stars) were almost always produced in Ryogoku.

Ryogoku remains among the busiest areas in Tokyo. Numerous historical sites from the Edo era are preserved there, and it also maintains a museum specifically dedicated to the period.

Hanafuda Cards

“Flying Squirrel” Banzo’s weapon of choice are “Hanafuda cards” (literally, “flower cards”) that have been modified into sharp throwing weapons.

The game that we see in Boss Inaso’s gambling parlor is a card game called Hanafuda, which is still played today in variations such as “Go Stop.” Hanafuda (“flower cards”) are Japanese playing cards used to play a number of games, but the name can also refer to the game itself, or at least a variation of it. Private gambling during the Tokugawa Shogunate was illegal, but card game gambling was so common that attempts to restrict gambling and ban games just prompted the creation of new games, and a wide variety of playing cards. Once the government realized that the populace would always play some sort of card game, laws against gambling began to relax, and the eventual result was the modern game of Hanafuda, which was a combination of traditional Japanese games with Western-style cards. In 1889, Fusajiro Yamauchi founded a small company called Nintendo and created Hanafuda cards made of mulberry tree bark, after which the game began to really take off among yakuza gambling parlors. Despite its focus on video games today, Nintendo still produces Hanafuda cards in Japan. The game itself is similar to bridge, but there are many different variations. A deck consists of 12 suits of four cards each, all with images associated with arbitrary point values. The most popular games only concern themselves with certain combinations of taken cards.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 4

Christianity - The Forbidden Religion

In the story of Sword of Seduction, the persecutions of Christians by the Tokugawa Shogunate is a central theme. Christianity was indeed a forbidden religion during almost all of the Tokugawa Era.

Here, we provide a brief historical background: Japan in the late 1500’s was inundated by Christian missionaries arriving from abroad. St. Francis Xavier, who arrived in India in 1542, was the key figure involved in introducing Christianity (and the influence of his Jesuit Order) into Asia.

Seven years later, he landed in Japan’s Satsuma province (what is now a part of Kagoshima), whose Daimyo permitted him to proselytize his religion. Xavier stayed in Japan for two years, traveling extensively, “leaving behind about a thousand Christian converts.” (Hane) Many other missionaries followed, and by 1569 there were fifteen thousand converts in the Nagasaki area. As many prominent Daimyos converted, they in turn encouraged the commoners to do the same.

Oda Nobunaga, a pre-Tokugawa Era reformer, generously aided the Christian missionaries in their efforts. This was partly in order to “weaken and undermine his political foes, the Buddhists.” (Hane) According to Hane, by 1582, there were over 150,000 Christians and 200 chapels in Japan.

The future of Christianity appeared bright. However some high officials recognized dangers inherent in Christianity, since “a devout Christian might make an obedient vassal, but ultimately he was expected to serve and obey a higher authority, God.” (Hane) In 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Oda’s successor, banned Christianity (as well as many Western customs, such as slavery and meat-eating) in Japan. The ban would last for most of the Tokugawa Era.

Although the ban was strict, a select group of missionaries were still allowed to continue their work -- not just Jesuits, but also Franciscans from Spain. However, as the Portuguese Jesuits sought to become the dominant force in spreading the Christian faith, the Jesuits and the Franciscans became bitter enemies. Their rivalry split the Christian population in two: Jesuits, mainly the upper class (samurai, Daimyo, and their retainers, etc.) and Franciscans, the lower class commoners and the ’non-people.’ [The mini-series “Shogun,” which takes place around this period, made reference to this internal conflict in several scenes]

The persecutions of Christians became truly severe in the late 1590’s. The fall of 1596 saw a Spanish galleon foundering off the coast of Shikoku. “This offered Hideyoshi a chance to confiscate its rich cargo, and while he was deciding what to do with the vessel, the Spanish pilot-major, perhaps hoping to intimidate the Japanese officials, boasted that it was usual procedure for Christian missionaries to be followed by Spanish conquerors. This seemed to confirm what Hideyoshi’s anti-Christian advisors had been telling him, so he decided to imprison and execute the Franciscan missionaries who were working in the Osaka-Kyoto area.” (Hane) Furthermore, “Six Franciscan missionaries, fifteen Japanese Franciscan neophytes, and three Japanese Jesuit lay brothers, who were included by mistake, were arrested, paraded through the streets of Kyoto, Osaka, and Sakai, and then marched on to Nagasaki” later that year. Another public execution occurred in February of 1597, when “the twenty-four victims, plus two more neophytes who were apprehended along the way, were crucified, becoming the first Christian martyrs in Japan.” (Hane)

Hideyoshi died before he could order a large-scale persecution of Christians. However, Hideyoshi’s successor, Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa shogun, also concluded that Christianity was a potential political menace. By this time, there were “about 300,000 - some estimates run as high as 700,000” (Hane) Christians in Japan. The commissioner of Nagasaki convinced Ieyasu to adopt an anti-Christian policy. The official edict was issued on January of 1614, and the persecutions began in earnest. Executions occurred regularly. By Iemitsu’s time (the third Tokugawa Shogun), several thousand Christians had been executed.

The persecution continued for many decades. Some groups of Christians were ordered to live within designated districts, where they were taxed severely. Inhabitants of one such colony, on Amakusa Island in Shimabara Peninsula, staged a general uprising in 1637. “The rebels openly proclaimed their adherence to Christianity and shouted the names of Jesus, Maria, and Santiago during their attacks.” (Hane)

With the help of local ronin, they went to Shimabara where they won support from certain insurgents. “About 37,000 people, including women and children, entrenched themselves in a strategically located castle and defied the Bakufu forces that besieged them. They were finally reduced to near starvation and the stronghold was taken. Virtually all of the insurgents in the castle were massacred. The siege lasted for three months, and the Bakufu employed 100,000 warriors against them, suffering a loss of 13,000 men.” (Hane)

The Shimabara Rebellion spelled the end of Japan’s contact with the outside world, and the nation was to remain closed to most of the world until Commodore Perry’s arrival in 1853.

“I don’t know how it happened, but during the time he was in Kamigata on business...”

“Kamigata” is a term that refers to the area which includes what are now Osaka and Kyoto. It is one major center of commerce and entertainment in the Kansai region (the ’western’ Japan).

“They must be the ladies-in-waiting at the Inner Court...”

Sometimes called the Harem or Seraglio, these chambers, physically located near the center of the Shogun’s mansion, were home to numerous concubines and other female servants. During Ienari’s time, the Inner Court “included forty principal ladies (“sobashitsu”) and as many as nine hundred female attendants (“jochu”).” (Sansom) Such extravagance clearly reflects one of the most notorious pleasure-seeking periods in Japanese history; and “the extent to which it exerted a malign influence upon the conduct of public affairs” is certainly not trivial.

Many Shogunate officials had close connections to the Inner Court, often offering their own daughters or other relatives as servants. At times, such connections were exploited by those close to the Shogun; Elder Mizuno Tadanari, for example, often “worked through the Seraglio, being himself a nephew of O-ume no Kata, Ienari’s favorite concubine.” (Sansom)

“Bizen’ya - Wholesale Rice Dealer”

Since Tokuemon is not a samurai and does not have a family name, he has named his business “Bizen’ya,” which is also his nickname.

“In that case, please go to her bedroom at 8 PM.”

Here, Yamato says the phrase “inu no koku,” which means anytime between 8-10 PM.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 5

“Hi no Youjin” - Fire Warnings

Townspeople often march at night carrying lanterns and sounding woodblocks, a reminder for people to check that fires were under control. The fire-prevention walks were very important, as Edo was devastated by several catastrophic fires in the early Tokugawa Era.

“Even the monkeys can fall from trees...” --- Kyoshiro

This classic Japanese proverb means that even an expert can fail at times.

“From a bush pops out a snake” --- Chief Retainer Atobe

Another classic proverb. The english equivalent is “Let sleeping dogs lie.”

“This kind of copper bell-vase, made during the Tang Dynasty...” ---Narumi-ya

The Tang Dynasty (June 18, 618–June 4, 907) was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It is generally regarded as a high point in Chinese civilization. It was largely a period of progress and stability. There were many notable innovations during the Tang Dynasty, including the development of woodblock printing.

“Surely, the bare skin of this Chinese Bell is...” ---Atobe

The Chinese Bell is also called a Bianzhong. It is an ancient Chinese musical instrument consisting of a set of bronze bells, played melodically.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 6

“Is that Noh Mask hiding the shame of selling your body?” - Kyoshiro

Noh Masks: Perfected in the 14th century, Noh dramas, which originally grew out of plays and dances performed at Shinto shrine festivals, are a Zen-influenced form of theater noted for presentations that are highly stylized, abstract and restrained. The Noh stage is very plain, with little or no background scenery. Performers’ express emotions through stylized gestures and movements, and musical accompaniment is provided by the chanting of a chorus. Masks are usually worn by the principal actor(s) in Noh plays, and their production has long been a highly skilled and respected craft.

“Indeed, the fate of Iwashiro’s 120,000-koku fief hangs in the balance.” - Kikumura

During the Edo period in Japan, the koku was the unit of measurement used to measure the wealth of a fief. The koku was originally defined as a quantity of rice; one koku was sufficient to feed one person for one year.

“Orin! Try throwing your shuriken at me!” - Kyoshiro

A shuriken is a traditional Japanese concealed weapon, usually thrown, but sometimes used to stab or slash at an opponent. They are sharpened hand-held blades made from a variety of everyday items such as needles, nails, knives, coins, washers, and other flat plates of metal. Shuriken are commonly known as "Ninja stars," but they come in many shapes and sizes.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 7

“Was he used to test a sword? Where’s her mother?”

The word used here is ‘tsuji-giri,’ which has no English equivalent. The term refers to a samurai who ambushed people at night to test his new blade or hone his skills at killing with the sword.

“My father was an apostate foreign missionary.”

apostate - a person who abandons his/her religion, party, cause. etc.

“It’s 25-mon.”

Mon were a unit of currency Japan used from 1336 through 1870. Coins denominated in mon were cast in copper or iron. Mon coins had holes, allowing them to be strung together on a piece of string.

“There are crossroads under the three zelkova trees...”

Zelkova are trees of the elm family; their range includes southern Europe, as well as southwest and eastern Asia. They vary in size from shrubs to large trees up to 35 meters tall.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 8

Inscription: “Ichimonji” Ido-chawan (teacup)

‘Ido-chawan’ is literally ‘Ido-teacup,’ ‘Ido’ being a proper designation (which also means “well” as in a deep water well), a high-quality ware specifically made for the traditional tea ceremony.

It’s your turn to be the Oni now, “uncle.”

In traditional Japanese hide-and-seek the ‘it’ is a ‘demon’ (oni). An “Oni” is a traditional Japanese demon or devil.

“You have otédama, right?”

Otédama are small cloth bags that are usually filled with small beans, millet, and so on, and are used to play a variety of games (such as of seeing who can toss the most into a goal-basket for example).

“Heavens!”

The expression is ‘namu san,’ which is short for ‘namu sanbo,’ which literally means ‘homage to the three jewels,’ in reference to the Buddhist triad of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

“That being the case, who was it that crushed Sensei Chusai’s ambition?”

Oshio (Chusai) Heihachiro is best remembered for his fierce opposition to the Tokugawa Shogunate.

He lead an uprising in 1837 to protest the actions -- or rather the inaction -- of the corrupt Shogunate government, which did not come to the aid of the citizens who were dying after the 1832 Great Tempo Famine. ATOBE Yoshisuke (ATOBE Yamashiro in the film, from Yamashiro-no-kami, which was his position name) was a main target of the uprising. ATOBE manipulated the price of rice, making it unaffordable to the poor, while at the same time making huge profits for rich merchants.

The uprising was betrayed by informers planted in Oshio's group. This led to the ringleaders committing suicide by using explosives, which rendered their bodies unrecognizable.

ATOBE received no punishment nor demotion for his failure to prevent and control the uprising; in fact, he was later promoted.

Oshio's revolt inspired many similar uprisings throughout Japan, often lead by men who claimed to be his students. The Shogunate was plagued by persistent rumors that Oshio was still alive, and their inability to kill a man who was already dead was one of many factors that weakened its power, eventually culminating in the fall of the Shogunate in 1867.

“That is the day of the Inoko Festival, and we will be able to enter the castle.”

A traditional seasonal festival which is widely celebrated in western part of Japan, in which it is an ancient custom (Inoko) to eat rice cakes at the time of the boar (between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m) on the day of the boar in the 10th month in the lunar calendar.

The children's song and their dancing with an Inoko stone (a large round stone with the Boar character written on top) is depicted in the film. This custom is comparable to “trick-or-treating” in the US.

Children rock the stone up and down using the attached ropes in front of houses they visit. The residents are supposed to give them dumplings, snacks or a small amount of money to thank them. If they do not treat the children, the children punish them by singing a nasty song. At present, observance of this custom in western Japan is a bit spotty; some cities work hard to preserve and encourage it, while in others it has been quietly forgotten.

Names and Locations:

One of the major villains in the film is ATOBE Yamashiro(-no-kami). Yamashiro-no-kami is a position name. The character's real name was ATOBE Yoshisuke. His brother was MIZUNO Esshu(-no-kami), and his real name was MIZUNO Tadakuni.

“-no-kami” a title roughly like “Duke of”. Yamashiro and Esshu are both location names.

The Kuzunoha Fox Poem

“Koishiku ba... tazunekite miyo... izumi naru... shinoda no mori no... urami kuzunoha”

“If you miss me, visit me at the Shinoda forest in Izumi, where the kudzu leaves are flipped.”

Japanese Waka poems often have double-meanings (“Makura-kotoba”) embedded in them to add depth.

“Urami” has a double meaning. Kuzunoha, the leaf of the Kudzu vine, looks like a large clover leaf. Some of them, the ones in the Shinoda forest, grow with 2 of the 3 leaves flipped. “Urami” can mean both “back side” and “grudge” in Japanese.

The Fable of the Kuzunoha Fox

The fable concerns a man named Abeno Yasuna. When he visits the Shinoda forest, he saves a white fox from some hunters, but in the process, is wounded. A woman named Kuzonoha appears and tends to his wound. They fall in love, marry, and have a child named Doshimaru.

When Doshimaru is 5 years old, he discovers that his mother was the fox that Yasuna saved. She decides to return to the forest, leaving the poem for her husband and lover.

Yasuna realizes that Kuzunoha became a human to repay him for his kindness. Later Yasuna and Doshimaru return to the Shinoda forest, find Kuzunoha, and receive a Crystal ball and Gold chest from her.

Doshimasu later changes his name to Abeno Seimei, and becomes one of the most famous Yin-Yang masters (as portrayed in the film Onmyoji). Having a shape-shifting fox for a mother certainly doesn’t hurt, apparently.

Seimei uses the power of the treasures he received from his mother to cure the Emperor, and later became chief Yin Yang master of the Emperor.

The Kuzunoha fox story is very famous, and is often used in Kabuki, Jyoruri puppet shows, novels, and many other forms of entertainment.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 9

“…this secret treasure was shipped to Amakusa Shiro, all the way from Portugal.”

AMAKUSA Shiro (1621-1638) was a charismatic Christian leader known to his followers as “heaven's messenger.” As a teenager, in resistance to heavy taxes and the prohibition of Christianity, he lead the Shimabara Rebellion, an uprising by Christian peasants against the shogunate. After a 5 month conflict, the rebellion failed & Shiro was executed in the aftermath. Even today, many Japanese Christians consider Shiro as a saint, but the Roman Catholic Church has not  officially listed him as one.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 10

“Two members of the Kakubei Lions?”

The Kakubei Lions (named after the headmaster) were an acrobatic-dance troupe of young boys (ages 7 to 15); they performed acrobatic lion-dances wearing a lion-mask on top of their head.

“That’ll be 2-ryo.”

The value of the ryo fluctuated widely over time, but even in the context of this film, 2-ryo would have been equivalent to thousands of dollars.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 11

Kakure-kirishitan

“Hidden Christians” were a covert religious movement during anti-christian persecution in Japanese history.  Though there is no persecution any more, the movement took a life of its own and still is practiced in provincial villages & towns by a small group of believers to this day.  Their liturgies, religious terms, etc, are all based in phoneticized Portuguese.

Sleepy Eyes of Death 12

“Fire watch… Fire watch, making our rounds.”

Back in the days when housing structures in Japan consisted of highly flammable material (wood & paper), a small fire could potentially take out an entire housing area, or even a town.  Hence there would be a “fire watch” that made its rounds at night, cautioning people to be mindful of their fires (hearth, candles, etc.)

“Oh.  A standing tealeaf.”

Literally called ‘tea-pillar,’ the chabashira is a vertically standing tea stem, which, like the four-leaf clover, is an omen of good luck.

“…we can journey to Luzon, and find eternal peace.”

Luzon - the largest & northernmost island of the Philippines (& thus closest to Japan) is today the economic and political center of the Philippines, being home to the country's capital city, Manila.

Research Notes:

A considerable amount of historical research was necessary in translating Samurai Cinema’s films and in compiling the information contained here. Among the many sources we have consulted, the following were especially helpful:

1) “Tokugawa Japan - The Social and Economic Antecedents of Modern Japan” Chie Nakane, Shinzaburoo Ooishi and Conrad Totman, eds. Univ. of Tokyo Press, 1990

2) “Japan - A Historical Survey” Mikiso Hane. Scribner, 1972

3) “A History of Japan: 1615 - 1867” George Sanson. Stanford Univ. Press, 1963

4) “A History of Japan: 1334 - 1615” George Sanson. Stanford Univ. Press, 1963

Production Staff

Japanese Production Staff - SED1
"Nemuri Kyoshiro Sappocho"
(Nemuri Kyoshiro: The Scroll of Swordsmanship)
"The Adventures of Nemuri Kyoshiro -- The Chinese Jade"

Based on the Novel by Shibata Renzaburo
(serialized in Shukan Shincho Weekly)

Planning: Tsuji Hisakazu
Screenplay: Hoshikawa Seiji
Photography: Makiura Jishi
Sound Recording: Okumura Masahiro
Lighting: Nakaoka Genken
Art Design: Naito Akira
Music: Kosugi Taichiroo
Editing: Yamada Hiroshi
Set Design: Gotoo Kooichi
Sound Effects: Kurashima Yoo
Asst. Director: Doi Shigeru
Fight Choreography: Miauchi Shoohei
Production Manager: Oosuga Minoru
Film Developing: Toyo Labs

Directed by Tanaka Tokuzo
Japanese Production Staff - SED2
"Nemuri Kyoshiro - Shoobu"
(Nemuri Kyoshiro - The Duel)
"The Adventures of Nemuri Kyoshiro - Sword of Adventure"

Based on the Novel by Shibata Renzaburo
(serialized in Shukan Shincho Weekly)

Screenplay: Hoshikawa Seiji
Planning: Tsuji Hisakazu
Photography: Makiura Chishi
Sound Recording: Okumura Masahiro
Lighting: Yamashita Reijiro
Art Direction: Naito Akira
Music: Saito Ichiroo
Editing: Suganuma Kanji
Set Design: Takachi Kan
Fight Choreography: Miauchi Shoohei
Period Music: Nakamoto Toshiki
Sound Effects: Kurashima Yoo
Assistant Director: Tomoeda Nengi
Production Manager: Murakami Tadao
Film Development: Toyo Labs

Directed by Misumi Kenji
Japanese Production Staff - SED3
"Nemuri Kyoshiro: Engetsugiri"
(Nemuri Kyoshiro: The Full Moon Cut)

The Adventures of Nemuri Kyoshiro: "Full Circle Killing"

Based on the Novel by Shibata Renzaburo

Screenplay: Hoshikawa Kiyoshi
Planning: Tsuji Hisakazu
Photography: Makiura Chishi
Sound Recording: Ooya Iwao
Lighting: Okamoto Ken'ichi
Art Direction: Katoo Shigeru
Music: Saito Ichiroo
Editing: Suganuma Kanji
Props: Hagami Noru
Fight Choreography: Miauchi Shoohei
Sound Effects: Kurashima Yoo
Period Music: Nakamoto Toshio
Assistant Director: Kuroda Yoshiyuki
Production Manager: Murakami Tadao
Film Development: Toyo Labs

Directed by Yasuda Kimiyoshi
Japanese Production Staff - SED4
"Nemuri Kyoshiro Joyoken"
(Nemuri Kyoshiro: She-Devil Slaying Sword)

The Adventures of Nemuri Kyoshiro: "Sword of Seduction"

Based on the Novel by Shibata Renzaburo

Screenplay: Hoshikawa Kiyoshi
Planning: Daizen Sadao
Photography: Takemura Yasukazu
Sound Recording: Oosumi Masao
Lighting: Katoo Hiroya
Art Direction: Nishioka Yoshinobu
Music: Saitoo Ichiro
Fight Choreography: Miyauchi Shoohei
Editing: Taniguchi Toshio
Props: Koochi Kan
Sound Effects: Kurashima Yoo
Assistant Director: Endoo Rikio
Production Manager: Oosugi Minoru
Film Development: Toyo Laboratories

Directed by Ikehiro Kazuo
Japanese Production Staff - SED5
"Nemuri Kyoshiro Enjoken"
(Nemuri Kyoshiro Fire-Passion Sword)
The Adventures of Nemuri Kyoshiro: "Sword of Fire"

Planning: Zaizen Sadao
Original Story: Shibata Renzaburoo
Screenplay: Hoshikawa Seiji
Photography: Morita Fujiroo
Sound: Oosumi Masao
Lighting: Furuya Kenji
Art Direction: Naitoo Akira
Music: Saitoo Ichiroo
Editing: Suganuma Kanji
Fight Choreography: Miyauchi Shoohei
Sound Effects: Kurashima Yoo
Set Design: Takachi Kan
Assistant Director: Tomoeda Nengi
Production Manager: Oozawa Hiroshi
Film Developing: Toyo Labs

Directed by Misumi Kenji
US Production Staff (Subtitling)
Executive Producer: Robert J. Woodhead
Translator: Shin Kurokawa
Dialogue Checker: Ueki Natsumi
Cultural Consultant: Hisayo Klotz
Subtitling Director: Robert J. Woodhead
Japanese Cast - SED1
Ichikawa Raizo as Nemuri Kyoshiro

Nakamura Tamao, Joo Kenzaburo, Kobayashi Katsuhiko, Takami Kuniichi, Ogimachi Keiko, Maki Chitose, Sawamura Sonosuke, Araki Shinobu, Nambu Shoozo, Tachibana Kimiko, Kimura Gen, Date Saburo, Fujikawa Jun, Shiga Akira, Takikawa Kiyoshi, Oosugi Jun, Nishioka Hiroyoshi, Nunome Shinji, Kuroki Hideo & Miyoshi Kaoru
Japanese Cast - SED2
Ichikawa Raizo as Nemuri Kyoshiro

Fujimura Shiho
Takada Miwa
Kubo Naoko

Katoo Yoshi, Narita Junichiroo, Tamba Matasaburo, Gomi Yutaroo, Suga Fujio, Asano Shinjiroo, Toda Hirohisa, Hamada Yuuya, Mizuhara Kooichi, Nanjo Shintaroo, Asao Okuza, Arashi Sanuemon, Ichikawa Kinya, Tamaoki Kazue, Ooe Teruko, Tachibana Kimiko, Sugiyama Mitsuhiro, Hara Seishiro, Horikita Yukio, Kimura Gen, Iwata Tadashi, Kikuno Masayoshi, Fujikawa Jun, Etsukawa Hajime, Shiga Akira, Aihara Kooichi, John Rush, Sengoku Kyoozoo, Tsuchimoto Masafumi, Kagami Ken'ichi & Koyanagi Keiko
Japanese Cast - SED3
Ichikawa Raizo as Nemuri Kyoshiro

Hamada Yuuko
Azuma Kyooko
Marui Taroo

Narita Jun'ichiroo, Uemura Kenjiroo, Date Saburo, Mizuhara Kooichi, Sasaki Takamaru, Nanjoo Shintaroo, Hara Seishiroo, Hamada Yuushi, Wakasugi Yooko, Moori Ikuko, Tsukimiya Itome, Fujikawa Jun, Horikita Yukio, Etsukawa Hajime, Oki Tokio, Kimura Gen, Sengoku Yasuzo, Azuma Ryoonosuke, Tamaoki Kazue, Hosotani Shingo, Iwata Tadashi, Fukui Takatsugu, Kikuno Masayoshi, Miyoshi Kaoru, Takamori Chizuko, Ishimura Haruki & Iwamura Yuriko
Japanese Cast - SED4
Ichikawa Raizo as Nemuri Kyoshiro

Fujimura Shiho
Kubo Naoko
Joh Kenzaburoo

Kobayashi Katsuhiko, Harukawa Masumi, Negishi Akemi, Moori Ikuko, Ai Michiko, Nakaya Ichiroo, Inaba Yoshio, Mizuhara Kooichi, Asano Shinjiroo, Date Saburoo, Sugiyama Shoosaku, Nanjoo Shintaroo, Hamamura Jun, Terajima Yuusaku, Tamaoki Kazue, Hamada Yuuji, Oki Tokio, Etsukawa Hajime, Fujikawa Jun, Kimura Gen, Tomura Masako, Taniguchi Kazuko, Takamori Chizuko, Maehata Inako, Kuu Baichuu, Varga Rasmussen, Fukui Takaji, Nishioka Hiroyoshi & Amemiya Akira
Japanese Cast - SED5
Ichikawa Raizo as Nemuri Kyoshiro

Nakamura Tamao
Sugata Michiko
Nakahara Sanae

Nishimura Ko, Shimada Ryuuzoo, Mizuhara Kooichi, Kozakura Junko, Yasube Tooru, Date Saburo, Uenoyama Kooichi, Morita Manabu, Kimura Gen, Hamada Masashi, Fujikawa Jun, Takakura Ichiroo, Ooe Teruko, Funaki Yooichi, Iwata Tadashi, Sengoku, Haruo, Kikuno Kimiyo, Aihara Kooichi, Itoo Yoshitaka, Miyama Shimpachi, Fujiwara, Tamotsu, Kuroki Hideo & Rokui Kazuo