How does Blue Eye Samurai portray the lives of women in Edo-period Japan?

Mizu from Blue Eye Samurai | Image courtesy of Netflix

Blue Eye Samurai is set in Japan’s Edo period, offering a deep dive into the lives of women in a society dominated by patriarchal norms. The series features diverse female characters who reveal the challenges women faced, as well as their resilience and determination to navigate a world that marginalized them. Let us explore these themes in the series in detail without any further delay.

Synopsis

It’s set in Japan’s 17th-century Edo period and follows the journey of Mizu, a mixed-race swordmaster seeking vengeance for her mother’s killers, who had enslaved her for her unique blue eyes. Disguised as a man, she travels the country, honing her samurai skills.

 

Mizu’s backstory unfolds as that of an orphan, finding solace and mentorship under the care of a blind, elderly man renowned for his sword-making skills. He teaches her the art of swordsmanship. Mizu is also shown to have great respect for this person as he never judged her for her blue eyes

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How does Blue Eye Samurai portray the lives of women in Edo-period Japan?

Amidst a society that often relegated women to roles of subservience and domesticity, Blue Eye Samurai introduces a cast of female characters who defy these limitations and forge their paths. Here are a few of the characters that have remarkably portrayed these issues faced by women:

How does Blue Eye Samurai portray the lives of women in Edo-period Japan?
Mizu from Blue Eye Samurai | Image courtesy of Netflix
  • The main character, Mizu, embodies these challenges. As a biracial woman with striking blue eyes, she faces exclusion and is denied opportunities enjoyed by men. To seek revenge, she disguises herself as a man, becoming a skilled samurai, and challenging traditional gender expectations.
  • Princess Akemi, the daughter of a powerful daimyo, refuses to be confined by the expectations of arranged marriage and instead seeks to assert her autonomy and control over her destiny. She challenges the notion of women as mere possessions, demonstrating their potential for political influence and strategic thinking.
Princess Akemi and Tengen
Princess Akemi and Tengen | Image courtesy of Netflix
  • The series also explores the lives of women in different social strata, from the courtesans of Nightjar, a brothel run by Madame Kaji, to the peasant women of the villages. Through these diverse perspectives, Blue Eye Samurai highlights the various ways in which women were marginalized and exploited within Edo-period society.

Conclusion

In summary, the series has provided a nuanced portrayal of women’s lives in Edo-period Japan, challenging stereotypes of passivity. It emphasizes the constraints they faced while highlighting their resilience and agency in a society where their voices were often undervalued.

We may see more of such struggles faced by women in the second season of Blue Eye Samurai. Through its diverse characters, the show has done a remarkable job of exploring the complex interplay of gender and power.

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