60's Anime

What an excellent show this was. I don’t know anyone who grew up in the 60’s who hasn’t heard of it. The Samurai was first shown in Japan in 1962. It screened in Sydney (December 1964 at 3.30pm on channel 9), Melbourne (June 1965 at 4pm on channel 9), Brisbane and Adelaide.  In Perth a fan "Craig Steddy" and several others have fond memories of it being screened on channel 9 in the afternoon.  It was not shown in Tasmania or the U.S. or U.K. It was the first Japanese produced series shown on Australian television. When it first aired, TV Week described it as "A new adventure series set in mediaeval Japan telling the story of Shintaro, the master swordsman and of his relentless search for his enemies, the black robed society of the Kooga Ninja who have many weapons at its disposal, including the art of hypnotic illusion."
Ten series' of the original were shown with 12- 13 episodes in each. When The Samurai debuted, it started with the second series, not the first and it was only when Channel 9 ran out of episodes, and a mail campaign mounted by fans, that they bought and showed the first series. It never made it to the US (except Hawaii) or England. The Samurai had a huge following in the 60’s and was screened on TV up to the late 70’s. However, in the late 80’s, 2 episodes were shown on channel 9’s ‘Golden Years of Television’ presented by David Lyle.

Occasionally, The Samurai is shown in local cinemas. In October 1993, 4 original episodes were screened at the Electric Shadow’s cinema in Canberra. Some of the following information came from a souvenir program written by Greg Newman who organised the event, which a friend of mine, Mark Cannon went to, and passed a copy on to me. At the screening was a display of memorabilia including the wig that Shintaro wore, photos and 1960’s press clipping’s.

The Samurai was produced by the Senkoska Film Company. It was a black and white show about Shintaro, an heroic Samurai warrior and his never-ending battles with black pyjama-wearing Ninja assassins, who would throw stars at him and yell out ‘Shintaro - you die", but Shintaro always defeated his enemies with his sword. The Ninjas' were martial arts experts; could move in the blink of an eye, leap 10 metres into the air into trees backwards to escape attack and could stick to ceilings like flies, where they would hide when Shintaro entered his house.

Shintaro was assisted by ‘Tombei The Mist’ and together they fought against the bad Black Ninjas and their arch enemies including ‘Kongo of Koga’ and ‘Garidoshi’ with his assistant ‘Onime the Bat’. Shintaro also had a boy companion named ‘Shusaku’.

The series was set in the 17th century Japan and was a combination of pantomime, violent action, brilliant sword play and magicianship. Part of its popularity was due to the poor dubbing of English voices over the Japanese soundtrack. Shintaro often moved his mouth for long speeches and the English audio would deliver one or two words. Similarly, fearsome Ninja would often move their lips for short words and the English audio would gush out complete sentences.

Shintaro’s name in real life was Kazunari Ose. His stage name was Koichi Ose. He was a top movie star in Japan, standing 5’ 7" tall and was regarded as a very handsome man.

He toured Australia in December 1965 and performed 12 live shows in 15 days at the Sydney Stadium and at Festival hall in Melbourne before returning to Japan. Originally he was only planned to do the Sydney shows, but pressure from Melbourne promoters were able to change his program. Each show drew more than 6000 people watching him slay dragons and fight Ninjas in an unforgettable performance.

As Shintaro jumped off the plane in Sydney and Melbourne, he was mobbed by screaming fans in Kimonos made from mum’s old bed sheets, with star knives made of cardboard and jam tin lids, waving Samurai bubble gum wrappers with his picture on them. Koichi Ose was overwhelmed and had no idea of his popularity until that moment.

Koichi Ose’s career began in 1958 when he starred as the hero in the Japanese version of Superman; then starred in Gekko Kamen (The Moonlight Mask) which was the first television series produced for television, before landing the role as Shintaro in ‘The Samurai’. At the height of his TV career he left The Samurai for a film contract. He was replaced by a new star Shin-Ichiro Hayashi  and the new series was titled "The New Samurai."  This series was filmed in colour, but the dubbed prints were black and white. After The Samurai, Koichi Ose acted in about 20 feature films and retired suddenly in 1969. In 1971 he set up a company dealing in entertainment promotion and property development, including a golf course in Tokyo. In 1980, he and his wife launched a chain of noodle restaurants called Goninbayashi (five musical). I have been told by Garry Renshaw that Koichi Ose is still alive as of April 1999 and is not dead as I and others were led to believe.  His side kick Tombei The Mist was last heard of running his own carpentry business, until his death in 1998. Ben Amatsu who played Kongo of Koga is deceased.

Koichi Ose was also a recording artist. One of the singles released in English was called ‘Lonely Night". The wig he wore in The Samurai, as of 1993 is owned by Gary Renshaw who lives in Brisbane. During the 60’s, Scanlen’s bubble gum company produced 72 cards on the series, plus an additional colour card. Each card pack contained 4 cards and two sticks of gum for 5 cents, similar to the football cards sold during that time. I use to buy these with all of my lunch money and starved for the rest of the day, eating only chewing gum, but could I blow bubbles!

EPISODE GUIDE ( supplied by Mark Cannon (from a souvenir program by Greg Newman) and amended by Kelly Lannan)

1. The Man From Edo
2. Duel At Keritap
3. The Sword Storm
4. Revenge Of The Ainus
5. The Imitation Prince
6. Sudden Death
7. Ambush At Hell Valley
8. Outlaw Brothers
9. A Blind Swordsman
10. Pirate Treasure
11. Master Of The Sword
12. Return Of The Outlaw
13. Code Of The Samurai           

1. The Secret Treasure
2. The Stolen Face
3. Track Of The Ninja
4. The Deathless One
5. The Unseen Enemy
6. Danger In The Temple
7. The Spider
8. Die Like A Ninja
9. The Double Agent
10. The Hunter
11. The Mystic Bridge
12. The Star Jumper
13. The Magic Kite

1. Secret Mission To Kyota
2. The Rocket Attack
3. The Bribe
4. Betrayed By A Ninja
5. A Spy's Revenge
6. Poison Blade
7. The Face Stealer
8. The Mysterious Pilgrims
9. Hide And Seek Death
10. Dogan The Master Ninja
11. The Stolen Case
12. The Wolf Ninja
13. The Last Duel

1. The Lure Of Edo
2. The Plot
3. The Disappearing Trick
4. The Secret Of The Chest
5. The Hidden Leaf Ninja
6. The Flying Robe Ninja
7. The Puppet Ninja
8. The Hawk Ninja
9. The Flying Eagle
10. The Ring Of Fire
11. The Ghost Ninja
12. Tendo The Dragon
13. The Thirteenth Ninja

1. Mark Of The Fuma
2. A Search For Marishoten
3. Clue To Wind Thunder
4. The Dragon Ship
5. Jinnai's Secret
6. The Fuma Spider Attack
7. Musai's Curse
8. A Brave Death
9. Trapped By Spider Dojin
10. Fate Of A Ninja
11. Danger Is The Same Face
12. Fuma's Treachery
13. The Secret Cave

1. Touch Of Death
2. A Trap For Tombei
3. Taroza The Toad
4. The Secret Of The Wind Fort
5. The Barrier Gate
6. The Deserter
7. The Stolen Map
8. The Water Castle
9. A Narrow Escape
10. Return Of Kitobo
11. Saved By A Ninja
12. Yaheiji The Typhoon
13.The Fire Tower

1. The Conspiracy
2. The Oath Of Revenge
3.Brotherly Hate
4. The Black Shadow
5. The Trap
6. The Ninja Decoy
7. Ninja Of Death
8. Living Death
9. The Devil Mask
10. The Blood Thirsty Swords
11. The Turn-Coat
12. The Three Monks
13. Follow The Leader

1. The Master Ninja
2. The Book Of Death
3. The Face Stealer
4. A Promise Of Death
5. The Butterfly Spy
6. The House Of Night
7. The Clue
8. Explosive Gold
9. Reign Of terror
10. The Spider
11. The Spider's Daughter
12. Phantom Captive
13. Lord Of Night
14. Ninja training (This episode was made as an end of series filler in 1964, and contains lots of flashback scenes of Tombei as a young Ninja in training, as was essentially a sweetener for the Japanese audience, who were about to be assaulted by the 64' Olympics).

1. The Puppet Master
2. The Chienese Poison
3. The Magic Stick
4. The Impersonator
5. Kongo's Revenge
6. The Strings Of A Puppet
7. The Spy's Execution
8. Bring Me His Head
9. Deadly Hostages
10. Cut The Puppet Strings

1. The Flames Of Hate
2. The Challenge
3. Hidden Assassin
4. Return Of The Dead
5. The Pickpockets
6. The Convert
7. The Poison Dart
8. Revenge
9. The Devil Mask House
10. The Secret Passage
11. A Friendly Enemy
12. Kongo's Warning
13. The Duel

1. The Search For Kage
2. The Devil Ninja's
3. The Bribe / the Secret Of Kyushu
4. Tombei's Defeat
5. The Traitor's Daughter
6. Message From Satsuma
7. Escape From The Sea
8. Jirobo's Many Lives
9. Thief In The Castle
10. Ninja Revenge
11. Tamba's Hideout
12. House Of Death
13. Duel Of The Peaks

1. The Secret Plan
2. The Stolen Face
3. An Enemy Returns
4. The Black Runner
5. Ninja Sister's
6. The Invisible Door
7. Border Escape
8. Duel In The Temple
9. The Master Swordsman
10. The Poison Dart
11. Comrades Of Tombei
12. Mission To Edo
13. Death Of An Enemy

1. Amulet Bag
2. Black Tide Ninja
3. Treasure Sword
4. The magic Bell
5. The Imposter
6. The Trap
7. Imperial Shine
8. The Turn-Coat
9. The Blind Ninja
10. Moon Ring
11. The No-Face Ninja
12. Secret Map
13. Star Sword

This series was not translated in English or sold abroad. It was produced in Japan from 7th October 1973 - 31st of March 1974. Two stories were made, each containing 13 episodes

Samurai Theme Music

Nikki Whites Samurai Page - heaps of info - www.home.netspeed.com.au/reguli/default.htm
Rods Samurai Page - pics and info -http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Taping/8248/index.html

Back To Anime Tv Series / Back to main page