The Rabbit Samurai in Portland: Stan Sakai on Usagi Yojimbo
Comic artist Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi Yojimbo, visits the Portland Art Museum to talk about his award-winning series and to share insights on his drawing techniques in a live demonstration. In 1984, Sakai created the beloved saga of the “rabbit samurai” Usagi Yojimbo, a character inspired by the life of the famous 17th-century samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Usagi lives without a master during an age of unrest and political intrigue, wandering the land on a musha shugyo (warrior's pilgrimage), and occasionally selling his services as a bodyguard. Sakai’s stories and drawings include faithful references to Edo period (1603-1867) Japanese history and folklore, architecture, armor, and weapons. Usagi Yojimbo is also heavily influenced by Japanese cinema and includes references to the work of Akira Kurosawa (the title of the series is derived from Kurosawa's 1961 film Yojimbo) and to icons of popular Japanese cinema such as Lone Wolf and Cub, Zatoichi, and Godzilla. Stan is the recipient of a Parents' Choice Award, an Inkpot Award, an American Library Association Award, a Harvey Award, four Spanish Haxtur Awards, and several Eisner Awards. In 2003, he won the prestigious National Cartoonists Society Award in the Comic Book Division, and in 2011 Stan received the Cultural Ambassador Award from the Japanese American National Museum.
The Lure of the Samurai: A conversation with Stan Sakai and Mike Richardson
Two legendary figures in the comic art world, Stan Sakai and Mike Richardson, come together to talk about their passion for all things samurai. Why is the figure of the samurai such an enduring subject in the popular imagination, especially for comic artists and readers? Mike Richardson is the founder and president of Portland-based Dark Horse Comics. He and artist Stan Sakai recently collaborated on the short series 47 Ronin, among the best-known tales in Japanese history. The legend of the 47 Ronin and their epic mission to avenge their disgraced master epitomizes the samurai code of honor and has been endlessly interpreted throughout the ages. Learn more about how Richardson and Sakai brought their creative energies together for this critically acclaimed series.
Stan Sakai will sign copies of his books at 1:00pm and will be joined by Mike Richardson at 2:30pm following their conversation. Bring your own copies or visit the Museum Shop to purchase selected titles.
Download free Usagi Yojimbo video game
In conjunction with Samurai!, the Museum is pleased to present a special free version of Usagi Yojimbo: Way of the Ronin, a new video game based on the comic book. It is the first video game in 25 years featuring characters from the award-winning Usagi Yojimbo comic-book series by Stan Sakai. Players who visit Samurai! Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection gain access to a special passcode that will allow them to unlock a special level of the game. The video game was developed by Happy Giant in association with Dark Horse Comics. Developed exclusively for Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Licensed with permission.
Tickets $20, free for museum members. Ticket includes entry to both the noon and 1:30 talks, as well as admission to Samurai! and other Museum exhibitions. Purchase advance tickets online. This event is a partnership between the Museum and Dark Horse Comics.