Monday 26 October 2009


Everyone who lived in Singapore and Malaya in the 1960s seems to remember the tv programme, Samurai. I asked my brother recently if he remembered us making Ninja stars and he remembers that we used to throw them at the old wooden packing crates left by the removal men when we moved into our house in Jalan Wijaya. The stars were quite lethal, though I don't think that any of the local kids every had fights with them.
Here's a clip I've found of the original show. The haunting theme tune should bring back instant memories. It reminds me of being right back at Jalan Wijaya in the garden attacking my brother!

It's funny, there wasn't a kid in Australia, Japan or Singapore who hadn't seen Samurai. Yet, when we got back to England, nobody had heard of it. Samurai starred Koichi Ose, who was a top movie star in Japan at the time. He played the lead character, Shintaro in the programme. His arch enemies were the Koga Ninjas.
Samurai was a huge show and when Koichi Ose visited Australia in the 1960s, he got a bigger welcome than the Beatles. He was greeted by screaming fans in home made kimonos throwing Ninja stars made of cardboard. Apparently, he had no idea just how popular he was outside Japan.
The show ran throughout the 1960s having first been shown in Japan in 1962. It was dubbed into English which could be quite funny some times. For instance, Shintaro would be giving a long speech and his mouth would be moving quite a lot and the dubbed voice would just say something like, 'Yes, I know'.
Incidentally, Koichi Ose is still alive and living in Japan. He retired in 1969 and started up a property company and in 1980, he and his wife opened a chain of noodle restaurants. I hope he has as fond memories as I have of Samurai.

1 comment:

  1. "The Samurai" was huge here in Australia, too. I remember watching it afternoons after school in the 1960s. One of our TV networks (not the one that broadcast "The Samurai") has just tonight run a documentary on its success: