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Western Samurai

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It's not-Mitsurugi. Not "not Mitsurugi", but not-Mitsurugi... oh, forget it.
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The Samurai are like the Japanese counterpart of Knights, proud, heavily trained warriors that dedicated themselves to a master (unless they're Ronin), wield fancy steel swords, and generally keep the peace. The Western Samurai are samurai of non-Japanese heritage, black or white, Irish or Welsh, even those of other Asian countries like Chinese and Korean, if they wield a katana or wear the armor (and are not Japanese), then they are worthy of the prestige and title of the Samurai.

Good examples of the Western Samurai follow the Bushido Code of Honour, focusing more on the philosophy that the Samurai follow while on occasion picking up the martial art skills and weapons. Bad examples usually focus more on the aesthetics of Japanese culture because they think it is cool, ignoring the code of ethics out of a form of vanity, greed or just plain ignorance, since for them Everything's Better with Samurai.

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Compare and contrast McNinja, another Japanese warrior class (and rivals of samurais) that also are made by non-Japanese people. Super Trope to Samurai Cowboy (a cowboy that is mixed with samurai traits, being in weapons as well ideology) and Street Samurai (a samurai in a Cyberpunk/futuristic setting). Sub-Trope of Black Vikings. See also Everything's Better with Samurai, where the samurai thing it's only for the Rule of Cool than just being a real samurai.

For further info, The Other Wiki offers a section in the Samurai article and even a list of historical Western Samurai.


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Examples

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Mifune from Soul Eater is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed samurai of non-Japanese descent.
  • The eponymous protagonist from Afro Samurai is a black samurai with considerable skills in a Schizo Tech version of feudal Japan.
  • Played for Laughs in the Golden Sun 4Koma: Isaac (a blond teenager from the game world's equivalent of the Alps) changes to the Samurai character class and gains a black Samurai Topknot and Antiquated Linguistics.note 
    Isaac: This one shall summon Venus!

    Comic Books 

     Fanfic 
  • Hiccup in Hiccup's Journey to Japan and The Viking Samurai leaves the Barbaric Archipelago after slaying the Red Death and ends up in Japan. He helps a shogun and his province deal with with their dragon infestation even taking down an Orochi in the process and is promoted to the title of Samurai.

     Film - Live-Action 
  • Jef Costello from Le Samouraï is a French native hitman that follows the Bushido Code of Honour.
  • The titular Ghost Dog from Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is an African American slumming it in the streets of Harlem who follows the Bushido code, granting his servitude to mobster Louie for saving his life as the code dictates.
  • As the title implies, American Samurai is a martial-arts action film about a samurai who finds a baby in a plane crash. This baby - named Andrew "Drew" Collins - grows up and surpasses his step-brother in Bushido, becoming a samurai while his brother quits and joins the Yakuza.
  • Captain Nathan Algren in The Last Samurai, an American army veteran who is hired by the Japanese Emperor to train conscripts during a rebellion by the Samurai, but is captured by the Samurai and goes native. He studies the Japanese language and sword-fighting techniques, is given his own katana and suit of armor, and joins the Samurai in their Last Stand against the soldiers he was supposed to train.
  • O-Ren Ishii from Kill Bill is a half-Japanese, half-Chinese-American woman that is also one of Bill's assassins and eventually became the leader of the Yakuza in Japan despises her origin (recall it as unworthy to be a leader or even a Japanese is her Berserk Button... and you should be killed for that). She usually dress as a geisha and uses Iaijutsu as her main technique.
  • 47 Ronin, a 2013 film very loosely based on the story of The 47 Ronin has Kai, a half-Japanese, half-British man raised to be a samurai that eventually becomes the leader of the 47 Ronin searching to revenge their master.

     Literature 
  • In the Honor Harrington series Grayson is a Cult Colony whose founders came from North America who attempted to abandon technology and learned sword fighting from Seven Samurai.
  • The James Clavell's novel Shogun (and also the 1980 miniseries) from Asian Saga is about John Blackthorne, an English pilot that survived the shipwreck of his ship on Japanese coasts and eventually captured, but eventually he became close to the Shogun Toranaga, gaining the title of samurai.
  • In Nantucket Trilogy, Marian Alston is an African-American woman who has received samurai training.
  • The '80s Western novel series Six-Gun Samurai by Patrick Lee (not to be confused with another novelist of the same name) is about Tom Fletcher, born in Georgia but raised as a son by a Samurai in Japan. He returns to America to obtain revenge upon the killers of his family.
  • Overlord: Brain Unglaus is an Arrogant Swordplay Guy whose Speed Blitz fighting style lead him to adopt an expensive imported katana as his Weapon of Choice. He takes up a Ronin-esque lifestyle after losing to Gazef Stronoff in a tournament to determine the kingdom's Warrior-Captain.

    Live Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warriors of the Draconis Combine in BattleTech follow samurai tradition and attempt to live by the codes of bushido. However, only a small fraction of the Combine's population is actually Japanese, so it has many samurai who are African, Arabian, Indian (in this case referring to India), or European in ethnicity.

    Video Games 
  • Based off of the real historical figure, William Adams in Nioh is an Irish-born Englishman who soon adopts samurai armor and samurai weapons in the game. Late in the game, you meet the first actual non-Japanese samurai ever, a Mozambican man known as Yasuke who was a retainer to Oda Nobunaga.
  • Simon Blackquill from Ace Attorney, a samurai-themed prosecutor, becomes this as a result of the series' Thinly Veiled Dub Country Change shifting the characters from Japan to America. As a result, in the localization he's an American/British man who dresses and acts like an old-fashioned samurai, complete with iajutsu, a loyal pet hawk, and Undying Loyalty to the woman he considered his master. note 
  • In countries like South Korea, when the Soul series came knocking, Namco feared backlash for the character Mitsurugi, since samurai are rather taboo in Asian countries that aren't Japan. For the first Soulcalibur, they gave him a makeover and called the result Arthur (pictured), a blond British gentleman with an Eyepatch of Power. Eventually, Arthur received a larger role as a minor character appearing alongside rather than in place of Mitsurugi. Arthur is loosely based on the real life William Adams.
  • Claude from Samurai Shodown Sen is a European blond guy that is a samurai, in this case from France. An amnesiac guy that adopted Japan's culture and became a samurai trained by monks and eventually he became one, defending his temple from various menaces. And from the same game, there's "J", an obvious expy of Afro Samurai.
  • Samuel "Jetstream" Rodrigues from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a Japanese-Brazilian cyborg (in reality a human with a nanotechnology armor) with part-Japanese ancestry who has an iaijutsu-based fighting style. He inherited from his father a katana named "Murasama", modified by him to be a High-Frequency Blade just like Raiden's own sword. Raiden himself is the Foil of "Jetstream" for being a ninja with non-Japanese origins.
  • Fire Emblem: The Myrmidon, a Fragile Speedster warrior class that specializes in critical hits, wields mostly saber-style weapons and often comes from some country in "the East". Exactly how eastern varies between games - some myrmidons appear vaguely Turkish, while others are outright samurai - but Ronin aesthetics are common. Fates, which has a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan in a central role, simply renames the Myrmidon class to Samurai.

    Western Animation 
  • Invoked in Samurai Jack with the eponymous protagonist. A Japanese born boy that escaped from Aku's destruction of his homeland thanks to the help of his mother, that trained under the Bushido Code around the world and came back as an adult to fight Aku, but renamed himself with the foreign name of "Jack."
    • There's also Da Samurai, a black dude who dresses the part just to look cool, but behaves obnoxiously. Jack, finding his act disgraceful, engages him in battle and takes him down a peg or two, while at the same time teaching him about true samurai values.

    Real Life 
  • William Adams, known in Japanese as Miura Anjin (name adopted as a Japanese citizen and as samurai) was an English navigator who, in 1600, was the first of his nation to reach Japan during a five-ship expedition for the Dutch East India Company. Of the few survivors of the only ship that reached Japan, Adams was the first ever (of a very few) Western Samurai. Soon after Adams's arrival in Japan, he became a key advisor to the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and making big advances for Japan. Tokugawa presented him with two swords representing the authority of a samurai, and decreed that William Adams the sailor was dead and that Anjin Miura, a samurai, was born. He has been recognised as one of the most influential foreigners in Japan during this period. He influenced the design of Soulcalibur character Arthur, who replaced Mitsurugi in certain builds of the game.
  • Jules Brunet was a French officer who was sent by Emperor Napoleon III to help modernize the samurai during the Boshin War. When the samurai rebellion was quelled by the Meiji Restoration, he returned to France and fought during the Franco-Prussian War. Upon returning to Japan, he was pardoned and was given awards by the government. Brunet was the inspiration for Captain Nathan Aldren in The Last Samurai.
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