10 Excellent Samurai TV Shows

by bigpaulshy | created - 16 Nov 2015 | updated - 27 Nov 2015 | Public

A list of 10 modern Japanese (subtitled) TV series that are well worth a watch

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords

IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »


Release year or range to »

1. The Trusted Confidant (2007– )

Drama, History

2007's Japanese NHK Taiga drama Furin Kazan (meaning 'Wind, Forest, Fire & Mountain' NOT The Trusted Confidant as stated above) contains everything you could want in this type of series- ... See full synopsis »

Stars: Issey Takahashi, Seiyô Uchino, Fusako Urabe, Ennosuke Ichikawa IV

Votes: 171

One of the best ever Samurai TV series, this is properly titled FUURIN KAZAN. Strategist Yamamoto Kansuke brings about the rise of the Takeda clan during the Warring States Period. Utterly brilliant series.

2. Lone Wolf and Cub (1973– )

Action, Adventure, Drama

The adventures of a samurai and his young son.

Stars: Kinnosuke Nakamura, Kazutaka Nishikawa, Takumi Satô, Taketoshi Naitô

Votes: 253

TV version of the amazing Lone Wolf & Cub saga starring Yorotsuya Kinnosuke as Lone Wolf Ogami Itto fighting to survive against his pursuers from the Yagyu clan. An absolute masterpiece.

3. Sanada Taiheiki (1985–1986)

Drama, History

Based on Shôtarô Ikenami's novel by the same title. The drama focuses on the history of the Sanada clan during the late Sengoku period.

Stars: Kurara Haruka, Yûki Kudô, Tetsurô Tanba, Keiko Tsushima

Votes: 24

"Saga of the Sanada Clan". Another TV series that has absolutely everything that you could look for in a Japanese period drama. Tells the story of the Sanada clan (and their ninja) during the Warring States Period.

4. Mute Samurai (1973–1974)

1,170 min | Action

A master swordsman, Kiichi Hogan, wanders Japan in search of the Spanish swordsman who murdered his parents and slashed his throat 18 years before. Renouncing any normal life the samurai ... See full summary »

Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Shintarô Katsu, Judy Ongg, Akira Yamanouchi

Votes: 66

The Mute Samurai stars Tomisaburo Wakayama as bounty hunter Kiichi Hogan who travels Japan in search of his parents' murderer, a Spanish master swordsman called Gonzales. Features some truly staggering fight scenes and a huge body count. Great soundtrack.

5. Hôjô Tokimune (2001)


Set during the Kamakura Shogunate in late-13th century Japan, this 49-episode series details the rise to power firstly of Hojo Tokiyori and then the succession of his young son Hojo ... See full synopsis »

Stars: Motoya Izumi, Atsuro Watabe, Ken Watanabe, Mayuko Fukuda

Votes: 23

The story of the fortunes of the Hojo clan in the 13th century focussing on the relationship between two brothers disputing the clan heirship after the death of Hojo Tokiyori. Features an amazing historical backdrop with the rise of the Mongol empire under Kublai Khan in the 13th century.

6. Tokugawa bugei-chô: Yagyû san-dai no ken (1993– )

712 min | Drama

Yagyu Sekishusai is a consumate swordsman teaching the Yagyu Shinkage style of fencing from his family dojo. His ambition has always been to achieve fame for the Yagyu clan. His son ... See full synopsis »

Stars: Kôshirô Matsumoto, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi, Ineko Arima, Hitomi Kuroki

Votes: 12

Series called "Three Generations of the Yagyu Sword" telling the story of Yagyu sword masters Sekishusai, Munenori & Jubei and their differing approaches to life and the military arts. Excellent Stuff.

7. Heart of a Samurai (2009– )

Drama, History

The story centers on Naoe Kanetsugu, a loyal and devoted samurai in Echigo Province in the 16th century. Kanetsugu was trained in his early childhood by Uesugi Kenshin and after his death, ... See full summary »

Stars: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Anne Watanabe, Kazuki Kitamura

Votes: 106

"Tenchijin". The story of the Uesugi clan during and after the Warring States Period. Brilliant historical backdrop.

8. Gunshi Kanbee (2014)

Drama, History

Gunshi Kanbei (Strategist Kanbei) is a-year long taiga drama by NHK in 2014. This fictional series consists of 50 episodes and follows the journey of Kuroda Kanbei, a historical figure who ... See full summary »

Stars: Jun'ichi Okada, Yôsuke Eguchi, Naoto Takenaka, Gaku Hamada

Votes: 107

Strategist Kanbee tells the story of Kuroda Kanbee and the many battles in which he was involved. Another modern classic.

One of the all-time great Japanese samurai series. "The Yagyu Conspiracy" features Sonny Chiba as master swordsman Yagyu Jubei taking on all sorts of weapons specialists during the struggles of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Classic.

Like a female Lone Wolf, The Fugitive Orin battles across the Japanese landscape pursued by various ninja groups and weapons specialists...but she has a few tricks of her own. Something a bit different but good viewing.

Recently Viewed