Jidai Geki

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Roughly equivalent to 'Feudal Japan', any series set before (or around the beginning of) the Meiji era when the Shoguns were deposed. The time subdivisions most often found in Japanese media include the Sengoku period (the "Warring States" era of civil war, from about 1467-1573), the Edo period (after Japan was united under the Tokugawa shogunate, 1603-1868),[1] and the Bakumatsu/early Meiji era (see above). Think Akira Kurosawa.

Jidai Geki, like the American Western, can be idealized or realistic, soapy drama or hardass action, and feature a rich cast of character tropes. Jidai Geki that emphasize swordplay are often referred to as chanbara, especially the live-action movies, and counted on for lots of hot Samurai action (Ninja, Ronin, and Yakuza are also frequent players).

Though it may seem American and European directors have been pilfering borrowing these conventions—sometimes whole plots—for years, Jidai Geki pieces have long borrowed in equal measure from westerns and noir; Kurosawa himself was known to be a fan of director John Ford. George Lucas took some inspiration from this cross-pollination while writing Star Wars—guess where he got the word "Jedi".

A subtrope of Period Piece.

Some notable historical names that have been originating from this era includes:

Examples of shows taking place in this era:

Vague Period

Video Games

  • Kenseiden in which Benkei shows up as a boss and the final boss is an indeterminate individual named "Yonensai"
  • Okami: Sure it's an alternate world, but the setting clearly takes inspiration from Heian and Sengoku period stories, events and characters.
  • Kid Niki, despite the Totally Radical American marketing, clearly takes place in some sort of medieval Japanese setting.

Genpei War


  • Heike Monogatari (a.k.a. The Tale of the Heike)

Sengoku Period


Video Games

Western Animation

  • The short Australian CGI spoof Samurice.

Web Original

  • The MSF High Forum has recently had a theme day, that replicates this era.

Edo Period

Anime and Manga


Live-Action TV

Web Original

  • Look to the West is an alternate history story that, at one point, features Japan balkanized by the European powers after an apocalyptic civil war.

Video Games

Bakumatsu/Early Meiji


Video Games

  • Hakuouki
  • Last Blade, as told in its Japanese title of Bakumatsu Roman: Gekka no Kenshi ("A Bakumatsu Romance: Swordsmen in the Moonlight"), and evidenced in many visual elements in the game.
  • The ninja chapter of Live a Live
  • Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai DLC
  • Way of the Samurai
  1. For the curious, the 30 years in between those two is called the Azuchi-Momoyama period; important in history, not so much in media.