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Jidai Geki
aka: Chanbara
Jidai Geki is a genre of Period Piece found in Japanese Media.

These works are set before (or around the beginning of) the Meiji Restoration when the Shogunate was deposed. The time subdivisions most often found in Japanese media include the Sengoku period (the "Warring States" era of civil war, from about 1467-1573), the Edo period (after Japan was united under the Tokugawa shogunate, 1603-1868)note , and the Bakumatsu/early Meiji era.

Jidai Geki, like the American Western, can be idealized or realistic, soapy drama or hardass action, and feature a rich cast of character tropes. Jidai Geki that emphasize swordplay are often referred to as chanbara, especially the live-action movies, and counted on for lots of hot Samurai action (Ninja, Ronin, and Yakuza are also frequent players).

Though it may seem American and European directors have been pilfering borrowing these conventions — sometimes whole plots — for years, Jidai Geki pieces have long borrowed in equal measure from Westerns and Film Noir. Kurosawa himself was known to be a fan of director John Ford. George Lucas took some inspiration from this cross-pollination while writing Star Wars — guess where he got the word "Jedi".

For Western depictions of Japanese history, see Medieval Japan. See also Wutai for Fantasy Counterpart Cultures that are based upon Japan.
Some notable historical names that have been originating from this era includes:

Examples of shows taking place in this era:

    open/close all folders 

    Vague Period 
Anime and Manga
  • Mononoke skips around madly throughout different periods between the Sengoku and post-Meiji, none of which are particularly well-defined.
  • Shura No Toki (mostly) self-contained story arcs is set in multiple periods, except Azuki-Momoyama (yes, none of the Mutsu encountered Oda Nobunaga or his contemporaries). Well, except for one arc set in American frontier.
  • Made explicit in Millennium Actress, which recounts the story of Chiyoko's life largely in the form of scenes inspired by her films. So the setting follows Japanese history from the Heian era all the way through to the modern world and even beyond into science fiction with callbacks to earlier eras embedded in some of the later ones. Lampshaded when a supporting character asks another "Aren't you dressed for the wrong era?" after a particularly abrupt transition.

Live-Action TV
  • In universe example for Kamen Rider Double has Shotaro and Akiko become fans of a Jidai Geki series, including a themed dream sequence.
    • Although set in the modern day, Kamen Rider Gaim seems to be taking influence from the genre: the Transformation Trinkets are called "Sengoku Drivers" in reference to the time period, and the Rider vs. Rider rivalries are directly compared to the time's civil wars, with one of the characters even pointing out how it's developing into a modern day Sengoku War. As the episodes go on, the tone begins to shift and the Sengoku War feel fades away. It doesn't go into obscurity, as the main character retains this feel with his Super Modes giving him a general motif.
  • The backstories for Juzo and Daiyu in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. The series as a whole uses tropes and conventions of the genre despite being set in the modern day.

Video Games
  • Ikki, an early Sunsoft game set during some farmer's rebellion.
  • Kenseiden in which Benkei shows up as a boss and the final boss is an indeterminate individual named "Yonensai".
  • Ōkami: Sure it's an alternate world, but the setting clearly takes inspiration from Heian and Sengoku period stories, events and characters.

    Heian period (late 8th century to 12th century) 
Anime and Manga

Film

Literature

Video Games

    Genpei War ( 1180 to 1185) 
Film

Literature
  • Heike Monogatari (a.k.a. The Tale of the Heike)

Live-Action TV
  • Cosmos: A Personal Voyage recreates the battle of Dan-no-ura to explore artificial selection based on the resemblance of the Heike crabs to the Samurai.

Video Games

    Sengoku Period (15th to 17th centuries) 
Anime and Manga

Film

Literature

Video Games

Western Animation
  • The short Australian CGI spoof Samurice.

Web Original
  • The MSF High Forum has recently had a theme day, that replicates this era.

    Edo Period ( 1603 to 1868) 
Anime and Manga

Film

Literature

Live-Action TV

Web Original
  • Look to the West is an alternate history story that, at one point, features Japan balkanized by the European powers after an apocalyptic civil war.

Video Games

    Bakumatsu/Early Meiji (1853-late 19th century) 
Anime and Manga

Film

Live-Action TV
  • Ryomaden

Theatre

Video Games


Light NovelsJapanese MediaTakarazuka
Japanese ArchitectureAnime SettingsThe Outside World
Medieval JapanHollywood HistoryDarkest Africa
EcchiUsefulNotes/Anime Fan SpeakMagical Girl

alternative title(s): Feudal Japan; Chanbara
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