Somethings Up with Samurai Girl

 

Samurai Girl

Samurai Girl

 

 

Samurai Girl is an ABC family Miniseries based on a series of young adult novels.  The Samurai is a girl named Heaven who was adopted after a plane crash as a child.  The action starts at Heavens wedding where ninjas attack and everything starts to fall apart.  Heavens brother is murdered, her adopted father is wounded and Heaven finds out that the Japanese mafia has infiltrated her family.  Now heaven decides to become a samurai to take down the mafia.  Way to go girl.  But though this miniseries seems to be all for female power somehow Heaven the samurai girl keeps needing to be saved by her attractive male trainer…….very interesting.  

 

“she is discovered by the maid and takes off running with the laptop and is rescued by Jake……later…..Jake rescues her and takes her back to the hotel to retrieve the sword….then….Jake, who it turns out, survives the fall off the mountain returns bringing the mirror and captured Sato.”  

Hum…. don’t you think that if the lead lady is a Samurai she wouldn’t need a man to constantly cover her ass?  There is an obvious good side to the show, the lead character is an asian female, the media is at least trying to change it’s male dominated ways.  

 

How does the show Samurai Girl challenge traditional ways that females are portrayed in the media?

Are there ways you feel Samurai Girl keeps woman in a submissive place to men?

 

MISSION:

Find examples of how women had power in ancient Samurai life.

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6 Responses to “Somethings Up with Samurai Girl”

  1. very interesting… people still buy into the american fantasy about japanese culture. (ninja, yakuza, samurai, violent but submissive girl and all that crap.) AND, making up a girl as a “samurai,” and it’s not even casting a japanese-american actor!? disturbing…

    AND, about the mission:
    what do you mean by “ancient Samurai life”?
    what is “samurai” in your term?

  2. yeah I am a little offended by these American companies constanly casting Korean and Chinese actors to play Japanese rolls. Do we all look the same or something? I hope they don’t try to speak Japanese in this show.

    I tried to watch Heroes once and was offend by the way the Japanese character was portrayed. I thought the show was a joke after. Especially how the two main Japanese characters that only speaks Japanese can’t even pronounce any thing correct.

    yup samurai, ninjas, geeks. perfect

  3. meitanteibilly Says:

    ((Sorry for the long post, but I have a lot to say))

    From what you say, this show seems like so many other attempts to diversify T.V. lineups: the typical kid show that has the stereotypical Asian theme of “honor” and a healthy dose of ninjas and swords.

    I am a little disturbed about the fact that the main actress is not Japanese, but that could have been due to any number of possible reasons. I mean maybe ABC Family decided that she was the most qualified, or perhaps they just didn’t care as long as she was Asian. Seen optimistically, shows like this are supposed to expand the barriers that exist for Asian women and that being accurate in the race of the actress is not as important as the delivery of the performance. Looking at it pessimistically (which is my view,) ABC just wanted to reach a different demographic in order to look progressive and improve ratings and didn’t care about the race of the actress as long as the lead actress was a female Asian.

    Looking at the effect this has on the portrayal of Asian women by the media, I think that it is neutral on being good and bad. On one hand some people will see this and think it’s a great positive thing and perhaps be influenced in a positive way to perhaps see Asian women as a little more than passive. On the other hand these people who are influenced will probably also see, see at an unconscious level, and how she has to be saved deduce Asian women as being helpless without men. In this way I don’t think this has much effect on the stereotype of Asian submissiveness and has its good and bad points much like many modern attempts at doing multi-cultural productions

    As to the status of Samurai wives in feudal Japanese society, this was a topic that I had some prior knowledge in. Many people think of Japanese society and women and think that women had absolutely no power and were completely submissive to their husbands. This is fairly true for much of Japanese society after Confucianism began to influence Japanese philosophy and thought. Prior to the introduction of the ideas of Confucianism, women had a much more active role in society and had some of the rights that men had. There were even a few women empresses. With the introduction of Confucian ideas two changes happened: The creation of the Bushido code and the emergence of the Samurai and the increasingly subservient role of women in Japanese society. With these changes women lost much of the power they had prior. They lost the right to own property and in fact had almost no power in politics and were supposed to be submissive to their husbands. As in most cases there were a few exceptions (Lady Murasaki was given a male education and wrote what is considered the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji,) but in general women had almost no authority and reached no prominence.

    Within Samurai families the role of women was slightly different from that of other classes. Because the husbands of samurai were away so often because of their role as warriors in a feudal society, women were in charge of many aspects of the household that non-samurai women did not possess. The wives of Samurai were in charge of protecting the household while the husband was away. She was put in charge of the finances of the household, the property of the husband, care for the extended family, and was prepared to defend the home with force having been trained to fight with a Naginata, a type of Japanese pole arm, or a knife (which is more than can be said about Japanese peasant men.) In fact, among the Samurai the ideal wife became one who was intelligent. Sometimes in the rare instances that a Japanese male ruler would become bored with politics, their wife would sometimes take their place in making decisions which practically gave her power over the entire country! So while it is true that in the vast majority of instances women in Japanese society had no power, in rare instances Japanese Women had a great deal of power sometimes in protecting the interest of the household and sometimes even over the entire country.

  4. thekingofeurope Says:

    does every girl that picks up a samurai sword have to be japanese? this show isn’t set in feudal japan. what about kill bill, uma thurman is about as white as you can get and lucy lui is chinese (although her character was chinese/japanese/american). maybe, people should stop stereotyping samurai swords w/ japanese people. it’s like saying every spear chucker should be an african tribesman.

  5. meitanteibilly Says:

    I don’t agree with the notion that Katana can only be wielded by the Japanese and I think movies like Kill Bill show that people dont care as much who is using the Samurai sword as long as they kick ass. The current trend where japanese people almost exclusively use katana is something that I think will become less and less correct as time goes by.

    I think people take offense when the character is supposed to be one ethnicity and the actress is another. After all, why don’t they just change the ethnicity of the character instead of being incorrect about the ethnicity?

    Personally, I dont think that only japanese can use a samurai sword. And I also don’t believe that to be a Samurai you have to be japanese. Even within Samurai in Japan there were many differences in their statuses and sub-cultures. To me what makes a person a samurai is not race or gender, but the ideology that the person holds. After all in Japan it was not the sword, but what it was wielded for and how it was used that made the difference between a Samurai and a bandit. It is not the tool that is used, but how and why that tool is wielded that makes a person who they. For example, I personally had no issue with Tom Cruise in the Last Samurai though I know people who found it wierd that the “Last Samurai” was a white guy.

  6. The fact the she needs backup EVERYTIME she fights, ruins the whole concept of trying to make her seem like a super hero. This definitely takes women back a step. It’s a fake set up in trying to perpetuate the image of a female. This somewhat breaks traditional values, as she is able to get the lead role in the series but that glory is short lived.

    To answer the questions, Samurai Girl changes traditional ways by breaking the race and gender barrier. We are so used to having a lead role played by a white person (especially in film). It is great to see movies like Harold and Kumar to break those trends.

    I feel that there are ways that Samurai Girl keeps women in a submissive place to men because of Jake. It gives off the message that women need men no matter what.

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