Hattori Hanzō - in Popular Culture

In Popular Culture

As a famous historical figure in one of Japan's greatest periods of samurai culture, Hattori Hanzō has significant cultural resonance among admirers of that culture, both within Japan and abroad. In the modern popular culture he is most often portrayed as involved with the Iga ninja clansmen.

Many films, specials and series on the life and times of Tokugawa Ieyasu depict the events mentioned above. The actor Sonny Chiba played his role in the series Hattori Hanzô: Kage no Gundan (Shadow Warriors), where he and his descendants are the main characters. His life and his service to Tokugawa Ieyasu is fictionalised in the manga series Path of the Assassin and the young Hanzō is the main character in the manga Tenka Musō. The novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls and its adaptations (the manga and anime series Basilisk and the live-action film Shinobi: Heart Under Blade) feature the four Hattori Hanzos serving as ninja leaders under the rule of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Hanzō also appears in the novel Fukurō no Shiro (Owl's Castle), later made into two feature films (including Owls' Castle), in the manga and anime series Gin Tama (a parody character named Hattori Zenzo), Naruto, Samurai Deeper Kyo and Tail of the Moon, and in the live-action film Goemon, and was featured in an episode "Spartan vs. Ninja" of the TV show Deadliest Warrior. In the case of Samurai Deeper Kyo, an unusual plot turn reveals that Hattori Hanzō is actually the real Ieyasu Tokugawa in disguise, and the one history is familiar with was his fake figurehead.

Hattori Hanzō appears as a recurring character in the Samurai Shodown video game series, appearing in every game in the series, in the anime film and in some guest apparances in the KOF series. In World Heroes, another SNK video game series, Hanzō is one of the main characters along with his rival Fūma Kotarō. In video game series Samurai Warriors, he is portrayed as a highly skilled ninja, highly loyal to Tokugawa Ieyasu and attributed to the death of many of Ieyasu's rivals and having an extremely fierce rivalry with Fūma Kotarō. Hanzō is also featured in several other video games such as Taikou Risshiden V (as one of the main characters), Kessen III, Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword (being one of the Great Spies), Shall We Date?: Ninja Love, Pokémon Conquest, Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes and the Suikoden series; in the limited edition of Total War: Shogun 2, he is daimyo of the Hattori Clan, one of the factions fighting for supremacy over Japan.

The light novel and anime series Hyakka Ryōran Samurai Girls and the anime series Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox both feature Hattori Hanzō as a female ninja character. There are also many characters named after him, such as Kanzo Hattori, the main character in the franchise Ninja Hattori-kun. Sonny Chiba returned to play a character of Hattori Hanzō in the film Kill Bill, a master swordsmith who is called upon to create a special katana sword for the film's protagonist (in the Thundercats episode "The Duelist and the Drifter", the Sword of Hittanzo is a tribute to Kill Bill character). Hanzō clan's descendants, include villains in the film The Machine Girl, Hanpei "Hanpen" Hattori in the TV series Android Kikaider, and Okatsu in the video games Kessen and Kessen III.

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