SAMURAI WARRIOR QUEENS 1x50 HD

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The legends of the Samurai seem to be an all-male affair; but contrary to popular belief, Samurai women stood their ground in countless battles and castle sieges. The drama documentary tells the true story of Samurai woman Takeko Nakano who fights for her clans’ independence in a final battle that marks the end of the Samurai era.

In 1853, 6 year old Takeko starts her formal Samurai education and relentless martial arts training in Edo, when the arrival of American gunboats changes the isolated country forever. Ten years later, Takeko becomes one of the youngest martial arts masters. She receives a personal dagger as a rite of passage from her mother and refuses her masters marriage proposal. Instead she prepares her students for war.

The growing Western influence splits the powerful Samurai clans into two warring factions. In 1868, Takeko, her sister and mother write their death poems and cut their hair in the tradition of the male Samurai. The next day, Takeko leads a group of young Aizu Samurai women against the modern rifle regiments of the Emperor’s army.

Recent archaeological investigations show that women played a crucial role in Samurai warfare, proving the existence of the Samurai warrior woman whose complete dedication and extensive suffering remains one of the world’s great untold stories. In today’s martial arts schools, the spirit of Japan’s female warriors continues to thrive. Interviews with a headmistress, a female Grandmaster, British and US historians and a Japanese archaeologist, as well as dramatic re-enactments, CG animation, original costumes and historic locations bring Takeko’s amazing story back to life.

Produced for Smithsonian Channel, ZDF and UKTV with support of European MEDIA programme.

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