Monday, March 13, 2017

Mythical Monday #69 - The Myth of Samurai

Art work by: @Burntlaughter on Twitter

It seems there are many books influenced by or based on Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are many different Mythology's and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

The Myth of Samurai

When Melissa came to me and asked me to contribute to mythical Mondays, I was excited. You see, I believe that the stories and myths that we read and tell ourselves have a deep impact on the way we view the world.

Today I decided to write about the samurai, the warrior class that dominated Japan’s culture and politics for hundreds of years. It may seem a strange topic for mythical Monday, being as the samurai definitely existed, but bear with me for a moment.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with samurai. Not ninjas, not knights, not any other type of warrior society throughout history. Just samurai.

I grew up on a steady diet of samurai pop culture, from books to anime to movies. I loved the idea of a warrior class, bound by honor and duty. I loved the weapons, particularly the katana. I loved the idea of two warriors fighting each other while others watched on, bound to accept the fate of the fight. You see, what I loved was the idea of the samurai.

I’m older now, and what I’ve realized is that the samurai have obtained a pseudo-mythical status, particularly in Western culture. What many of us think and believe when we think of samurai is no more real than vampires and werewolves battling for the hearts of teenagers.

In reality, samurai were human, and as such, were deeply flawed. They were corrupt, violent, and used their power to evil ends. They were also skilled warriors, capable of great deeds and great art. In short, they were as good or evil as anyone else. The reality of the samurai is nowhere near as inspiring as the tales we tell about them.

But I’ve also found peace with that idea, because even if the samurai, as we think of them, are a myth, they are also an ideal for us to strive for. If we can grow up to be strong, honorable people capable of great sacrifice and great art, our lives will be much the better.

It was this idea that was the seed that led to Nightblade, my debut fantasy novel. I didn’t want to write about the samurai or Japan, because I’m not an expert, and it would be an injustice for me to try. But I wanted to write about the ideals the samurai myth gives us. I wanted to create a world where there was a class of people gifted with skills beyond the average citizen, and wanted to see what such a world would look like.

I think that the power of myth is that it gives us a new way to view the world. Even if the samurai (as I thought of them) weren’t real, they shaped the way I wanted to grow up, and for that, I shall always be grateful.

About the Author:
Ryan Kirk is an author and entrepreneur based out of Minnesota. He is the author of the Nightblade series of fantasy novels and the founder of Waterstone Media.

He has been writing for longer than he can remember. His first attempts at stories were written in the third and fourth grade, but he is pretty sure he doesn’t remember anything before high school.
Ryan has always been a fan of science fiction and fantasy stories, and adventures in particular. He loves writing, traveling, and being outside as much as possible.

He also finds it incredibly challenging to write about himself in the third person.

Find the Author:
Twitter:  @Waterstonebooks
Author Site

Purchase the Books:


  1. There is just something about samurais

  2. Interesting viewpoint. I can see what you mean about the Samurais becoming mythological in stories.

  3. I love samurais. :) Great article/post!

  4. I agree that myths help us to view the world in different ways. Excellent post!


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