Tange Sazen

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The one-eyed, one-armed swordsman Tange Sazen (丹下 左膳) is a fictional character in Japanese literature, cinema and TV. The loyal Sōma clan samurai Tange Samanosuke is attacked and mutilated as the result of a betrayal, losing his right eye and right arm. He then begins to lead the life of a nihilistic ronin, using the pseudonym Sazen.


Tange Sazen first appeared in a serial by Fubō Hayashi (林不忘, Hayashi Fubō) which ran from October 1927 to May 1928 in the Mainichi Shimbun. The story concerned the exploits of Ōoka Echizen, and Tange Sazen was a minor character. But his strikingly dramatic appearance, with a scar across his right eye and an empty right sleeve, as embodied in illustrations by Tomiya Oda (小田富弥, Oda Tomiya), so caught the imagination of the public that within a few months three films of Tange's adventures were produced by different companies. The most popular of these movies was that directed by Daisuke Itō at Nikkatsu, starring Denjirō Ōkōchi (大河内傳次郎, Ōkōchi Denjirō). As a result of the success of these films, Hayashi wrote a new serial, Tange Sazen, with Tange as the hero. This initially ran in the Mainichi Shimbun from June to October 1933, but internal strife at the newspaper led to the interruption of publication and the serial eventually resumed in the Yomiuri Shimbun from January 1934. In this story, Tange developed from the nihilistic character he had been in the first novel to a doughty fighter against injustice. The film The Million Ryo Pot featured Ōkōchi playing a comic Tange. Ōkōchi is the actor most identified with Tange in the cinema, but many others have played the role, including Tsumasaburō Bandō, Ryūtarō Ōtomo, Ryūnosuke Tsukigata, Kinnosuke Nakamura, and Tetsurō Tanba.[1] Komako Hara also played a female Sazen in a couple of films in 1937.[2]

In literature[edit]

  • The Mysterious Sword aka lit. The Magic Sword (丹下左膳 妖刀濡れ燕) (1960)[3]
  • Mentioned in the manga Deadman Wonderland.

In films[edit]

  • Tange Sazen: Hyakuman ryō no tsubo (2004)[4] played by Toyokawa Etsushi
  • Onna Sazen (One-Eyed, One-Armed Swordswoman) (1968)[5] with Michiyo Okusu as "O-kin", the female "Sazen"
  • Onna Sazen: Nuretsubame Katate Giri (Lady Sazen and the Drenched Swallow Sword) (1969) with Michiyo Okusu
  • Tange Sazen: Hien iaigiri (The Secret of the Urn) (1966)[6] played by Nakamura Kinnosuke
  • Tange Sazen Nuretsubame Ittōryū (Tange Sazen and the Princess) (1961) played by Ōtomo Ryūtarō
  • Tange Sazen Yōtō Nuretsubame (The Mysterious Sword) (1960)[7] played by Ōtomo Ryūtarō
  • Tange Sazen doto-hen (The Mystery of the Twin Dragons) (1959)[8] played by Ōtomo Ryūtarō
  • Tange Sazen (1958)[9] played by Ōtomo Ryūtarō
  • Onna Sazen (女左膳) (Lady Sazen) (1937), played by Hara Komako as "Lady Sazen"
  • Tange Sazen Yowa - Hyakumanryō No Tsubo (The Million Ryo Pot) (1935)[10] played by Ôkôchi Denjirô

See also[edit]


External links[edit]