[Anime News Network Article] “The True History Behind Golden Kamuy”

Non-management: The history buff/nut that I am, I was excited about the Golden Kamuy anime adaptation. The story of Golden Kamuy takes place during a time period that I studied about fairly intensively in my history classes. It’s a period of time that’s quite important in Japanese history. At the same time though, it’s a period that’s rarely referenced in anime that use Japanese history in their narratives. Anime in the Meiji Era might not be entirely unprecedented, but when was the last time an anime talked about the Russo-Japanese War? About the colonization of Hokkaido? About the Ainu? I thought that it would be an interesting project of mine to write about the era while Golden Kamuy was airing. It might enhance the reader’s appreciation for the anime, and it would teach the reader about a more obscure part of Japanese history. To that end, I pitched the article idea on a widely-read platform in the anime community, and it fortunately got accepted as a Featured Article on Anime News Network.

I’d like to give a big thanks to ANN’s Zac Bertschy for commissioning my article, and Jacob Chapman for editing it. Below is the (summary) short to the article. If you’re interested in reading it, click the link embedded in the title or at the end of the article sample:

Golden Kamuy is a story more heavily informed by its historical context than most. Sure, it has its gratuitous violence and gore, peculiarly dumb reaction faces, lengthy hunting and cooking sequences, and body shapes inspired by JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. However, the glue that binds everything together into a compelling tale is Golden Kamuy‘s well-written characters, whose drama is informed by their pasts. These characters are products of the eras that they lived in and fought through.

While the audience isn’t required to have an advanced knowledge of modern history to appreciate Golden Kamuy, acquiring some understanding of Japan just around the turn of the 20th century may illuminates these characters’ motivations further. Here’s my breakdown of some relevant aspects of Japanese history that may help you understand Sugimoto and Asirpa’s world… READ MORE HERE

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