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The Samurai Way



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Samurai for a Day
Photograph by Michael Yamashita

Flashy armor, two swords hanging from his sash, and a lance in the hand transforms a Japanese male into a medieval warrior, a fantasy played out at festivals across Japan every year as towns pay homage to the dramatic history of the samurai. Rulers of Japan for nearly 700 years, from 1185 to 1867, the warrior class left behind an action-packed legacy of castle sieges, sea battles, and open-field clashes between samurai armies numbering in the tens of thousands. After the parade in the town of Yonezawa, above, the costumed samurai gathered in a park to re-enact a bloody battle from 1561 in which at least 17,000 warriors were killed or wounded.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon EOS-1V
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8 IS zoom 
Speed and F-Stop: 1/250 @ f/8
Weather Conditions: Sunny
Time of Day: Late afternoon
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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