Review—Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 33— The Hidden

The Ronin is assisting Inspector Ishida′s investigations in Usagi Yojimbo: Vol. 33: The Hidden.

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 33

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 33: The Hidden, Writer: Stan Sakai Artist: Stan Sakai
Cover Artist: Stan Sakai

This is my first Yojimbo book and I very much wish it wasn′t.

There is such ability with the pen, such craftsmanship, that I feel I must now read everything that has happened before from here on, (if that makes any sense).

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 33

However, I was lucky, because this volume resulted in an excellent starting point: Usagi and Inspector Ishida join forces to investigate together, tracking down a mysterious object and following a series of tied murders and political upheaval.

It has all to do with a new religion: Christianity, called Kirishitan in Japan.

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 33

Now, there are lots of interesting bits in Japanese history about Kakure Kirishitan or “Hidden Christians.” After Hideyosh′s death in 1598, Tokugawa Ieyasu rose to power to become shogun, the military leader of Japan. In 1614, it was proclaimed that Japan was “the land of the gods” and Christianity was no longer welcome (This information is taken from the book).

He banned Christianity and expelled all missionaries from Japan. He required all subjects to register at their local Buddhist temple and monuments in Christian graveyards in Nagasaki were torn down. These persecutions were met with resistance from Japanese Christians, forced to practice in secrecy. The government used fumi-e images of Christ or the Virgin Mary to identify Christians and sympathizers. Those reluctant to step on the images were taken to Nagasaki. If they refused to renounce their faith, they were tortured. If they still refused, they were executed.

Forced to practice their faith in secret, Kirishitan used believers′ homes as their places of worship. Over time, depictions of saints and the Virgin Mary came to resemble images of Buddha and the bodhisattvas and prayers came to sound like chants. Even crosses on graves became styled after Buddhist imagery.

Because copies of the printed bible were confiscated, “the Book” became an oral tradition and, without the clergy to guide them, Christianity was taught by laymen. As a result, much of their beliefs and traditions changed over the years.

This is a very respectful take on hidden Christians and although there are Katana swords and death, they are drawn in a way that is not gory; fighting scenes are intended to help further the plot. I bet any Samurai loving kid would enjoy this book very much.

Also, there is a bonus story intended for a younger audience.

Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 33

′Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 33: The Hidden′ is on sale since July 10th, 2019.

Genre: Action/Adventure, Kids
Publication Date: July 10, 2019
Format: B&W, 216 pages; TPB; 6″ x 9″
Price: $$59.99
Age range: 8
ISBN-10: 1-50670-851-X
ISBN-13: 978-1-50670-851-5

Featured image by Stan Sakai, all images belong to Dark Horse Comics

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