Glimpsing an elderly man leading his blind daughter on a pilgrimage, Junoshin Kakiri, a ‘ronin’ or freelance samurai, swiftly kills him with his sword. Asked why he murdered such an innocent, Junoshin shares his concerns about the growing ‘Harahuhi Tou’ (Belly-shaking Party) cult to which the man was devoted, a fear which rapidly spreads through the Kuroae clan. Alarmed by the cult, Shuzen Oura, the warlike leader of half this kingdom, soon hires Junoshin to rescue the Kuroae from the Harahuhi Tou but his studious power rival, Tatewaki Naito, cunningly pays the mercenary samurai to usurp Oura on his behalf. Set in Edo-period Japan, ‘Punk Samurai Slash Down’ follows the power struggles which entangle Junoshin within the Kuroae clan, polarizing the kingdom between an academic leader unable to fight and an unlearned martial arts expert. Machida’s novel adopts a unique and arresting style, combining an often unconcerned approach to violent action with slapstick humour. show more
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