Four Hitokiri of the Bakumatsu
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The Four Hitokiri of the Bakumatsu (幕末四大人斬り Bakumatsu Yondai Hitokiri) was a term given to four samurai during the Bakumatsu era in Japanese history. The four men were Kawakami Gensai, Kirino Toshiaki (also known as Nakamura Hanjirō), Tanaka Shinbei, and Okada Izō. They opposed the Tokugawa shogunate (and later, supported the Meiji Emperor). These four samurai were warrior elite and widely considered undefeatable by normal people. The word hitokiri literally means "manslayer" or "man cutter," as the kanji 人 means person, while 斬 can alternatively mean slay or cut.
References in fiction
- Hitokiri is a 1969 film directed by Hideo Gosha and starring Shintaro Katsu as Okada Izo and Yukio Mishima as Tanaka Shinbei.
- The manga and anime series Rurouni Kenshin is about a former hitokiri named Himura Kenshin, who is based loosely on Kawakami Gensai. Kenshin is also known as Hitokiri Battousai (人斬り抜刀斎), or "Sword-drawing Manslayer".
- Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #54 features a minor character named Hitokiri.
- The anime and manga series "Gintama" has characters loosely based on two of the samurai, Kawakami Bansai and Okada Nizō.
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