Edo period in popular culture

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The Edo period of the history of Japan is the setting of many works of popular culture. These include novels, stage plays, films, television shows, animated works, manga, and video games. Major events of the period, such as the Siege of Osaka, Shimabara Rebellion, and the decline and fall of the Tokugawa shogunate figure prominently in many works. Historical and fictional people and groups of the period, including Miyamoto Musashi, Izumo no Okuni, Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi, the fictional Isshin Tasuke, Yui Shōsetsu, Matsuo Bashō, Tokugawa Mitsukuni (Mito Kōmon), Ōoka Tadasuke, Tōyama Kagemoto (Tōyama no Kin-san), the Forty-seven Ronin, Sakamoto Ryōma, Katsu Kaishū, and the Shinsengumi, as well as the fifteen Tokugawa shoguns were active for much or all of their public lives and are dramatized in works of popular culture. The cultural developments of the times, including kabuki, bunraku, and ukiyo-e, and practices like sankin kōtai and pilgrimages to the Ise Shrine, feature in many works set in Edo Japan.

Many popular works written during or following the Edo period were also set during the same period. Kabuki plays in contemporary settings were known as sewamono.

Some works span multiple media. The Mito Kōmon Man'yūki (水戸黄門漫遊記?) has become popular in genres as diverse as kōdan, kabuki, stage plays, novels, films, television, manga, and anime.


Stage plays[edit]


Television shows[edit]

Kita Machi Bugyō-sho, Toei Uzumasa Studios
Sento, Toei Uzumasa Studios



  • Lone Wolf and Cub - a manga and television series
  • Amatsuki - a manga and anime in which the main character gets stuck in a virtual Edo
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers - a manga set in the Edo period in which a strange disease that only affects men has caused a massive reduction of male population
  • The upcoming Code Geass: Jet Black Reyna is to be set in the Edo Period
  • Nurarihyon no Mago - a manga and anime in which the main character's father had ruled during the Edo period as the second supreme commander
  • Rurouni Kenshin - A manga about a lone rounin

Video games[edit]

  • Ganbare Goemon - a Konami video game series that takes place in the Edo period.
  • Odama - a Nintendo game that is a historical fiction in a Strategy-pinball genre.
  • Hakuoki - a reverse harem otome video game the occurs towards the end of the Edo period, which also includes characters based on the Shinsengumi.
  • Way of the Samurai series - a video game series that takes place in Edo as the player takes the role of a samurai
  • Samurai Warriors - a video game series from Koei, using Dynasty Warriors mechanics to illustrate the beginning of the Japanese Edo period.
  • Total War: Shogun 2 - a strategy video game.

See also[edit]