Rare hand-colored photos of Japanese samurai in the late 1800s

Mashable (by Alex Q. Arbuckle):

The military-nobility caste known as samurai — roughly meaning “those who serve” — emerged in medieval Japan as provincial warriors, and rose to control the country in the 12th century.

As the enforcement arm of the ruling shogunate, the samurai were elevated to a position of privilege. They followed a code of honor called bushido, informed by Confucianism and Zen Buddhism. Bushido emphasized martial fearlessness, discipline and loyalty, as well as general kindness.

These photos, made in the years after Japan finally opened its ports to international trade, capture samurai in their final days. With the 1868 Meiji Restoration and the end of feudalism, carrying swords was prohibited to all but the new national armed forces.

The samurai class was dissolved, but bushido survived as the national moral code of the new Japan.


c. 1865

c. 1865

Two samurai in firefighter dress.

c. 1864


c. 1867



c. 1880

c. 1880





c. 1865



c. 1865

c. 1860

A robot and Japanese sword master square off in the Yaskawa Bushido Project

In a matchup you do not come across everyday, a programmed Motoman-MH24 industrial robot and five time world record holder, samurai master Machii Isao face off to determine the better sword wielder. Commissioned by Yaskawa Electric Corporation, the robot’s manufacturer, the video depicts the advancement of technical engineering, coupled with the incredible skill of Isao.

Check out the amazing footage by hitting play on the video above.

Beautiful old footage shows “God of Judo” Kyuzo Mifune gracefully defeat young challengers

RocketNews 24:


At 159cm (5’2″) tall, Kyuzo Mifune was not a big man. But as this amazing video of the judo master shows, strength doesn’t come from size alone. Mifune is considered to be one of the finest judo technicians ever, and this video of him accepting challenges from high-level younger students shows his incredible power and skill.

Join us after the jump for a sprightly energy burst, as the man they call the “God of Judo” skips, jumps and runs rings around his young challengers.

Mifune was born in 1883 in Iwate Prefecture and took up judo at 13. His energy and diligence saw him progress rapidly, and in 1945, at the age of 61, he was promoted to tenth dan, the highest rank. He was only the fourth judoka to achieve this honour. After Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, Mifune is often considered to be the greatest judo practitioner ever.

And here he is in action! Mifune was 73 when this was filmed, apparently, which means the footage is from over 50 years ago:




Some YouTube commenters have cried fake on the footage, suggesting that the younger practioners are going easy on their elderly sensei out of respect for him. There’s no denying Mifune’s skill and poise, though. And he’s not claiming to knock them down without touching them, like that guy with the magical “chi” blasting out of his eyes…


▼ Kyuzo Mifune (left) with Jigoro Kano.