SHO KOSUGI: WEAPONS MASTER, WEAPONS DESIGNER


WEAPONS COLLECTIONS

 

One of the absolute coolest things about Sho's films and TV shows were the numerous instances where we got to see some amazing collections of weapons.  In this short follow-up section, we will complete our photographic look at all of the ninja, samurai, and kobudo weapons from each of Sho's projects by looking at all of these great weapons collections seen in pre-battle ceremonies, on dojo walls, in hidden boxes, in carrying cases, in secret caves, and in other cool and unexpected hiding places.


Enter the Ninja (1981)

Whereas ENTER THE NINJA began with an awesome credits sequence featuring Sho expertly wielding a number of exotic ninja, samurai, and kobudo weapons one by one, the film's finale began with another cool scene that would become a staple of 1980's ninja films, the pre-battle weapons montage.  This first pre-battle ceremony featured the White Ninja Cole (Franco Nero) surrounded by his collection of weapons as he meditated and prepared to battle his old rival, the Black Ninja Hasegawa (Sho).

 

 

 

 

 


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)

We were treated to even more amazing collections of weapons in Sho's second ninja film REVENGE OF THE NINJA, starting with the ones that were prominently on display in his character Cho Osaki's dojo and visible in a number of great scenes in the film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to be outdone, the film's evil ninja Braden (Arthur Roberts) also had his own collection of weapons, stored inside a secret compartment in a small cabinet in his office, and which he would periodically transfer to a leather carrying case in order to go out and assassinate his enemies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with the weapons on his dojo walls, our reluctant hero ninja Cho Osaki (Sho) also had his own awesome secret stash of ninja weapons stored in a box hidden behind a shoji screen.

 

 

 

 

And as had been previously introduced in Cannon's first ninja film, REVENGE OF THE NINJA also featured an awesome pre-battle weapons montage featuring Cho Osaki meditating and preparing to avenge the deaths of his wife, his first son, and his mother, before his epic battle to the death against Braden in the film's unforgettable epic finale.

 

 

 


Ninja III: The Domination (1984)

Another very cool ninja weapons collection was seen in a rather unexpected location in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION, namely a cave in Phoenix, Arizona.  Much like the Batman cave, this secret coffin-like box made from a hollowed-out rock is where the Black Ninja Hanjuro (David Chung) and later his spirit's host Christie (Lucinda Dickey) get their weapons and suit up for a mission.

 

 


The Master - "Max" (1984)

A disguised Okasa (Sho) unveiled a collection of some of his ninja weapons wrapped in a black sheet in the first episode of THE MASTER.

 

 


The Master - "State of the Union" (1984)

A staple of THE MASTER was the case of ninja weapons carried by John Peter McAllister (Lee Van Cleef).  This long rectangular briefcase was seen in virtually every episode of the series, and featured a wide variety of ever changing ninja weapons and tools.

 


The Master - "Hostages" (1984)

 

 

 


The Master - "Juggernaut" (1984)

 


The Master - ''The Good, the Bad and the Priceless'' (1984)

Interestingly, not all ninja, samurai, and kobudo weapons collections were owned by ninja characters on THE MASTER.  Such was the case in the 8th episode of the series, where fashion designer and bad guy of the week Simon Garrett (George Maharis) was shown to have a nice collection of weapons in a glass cabinet in his home.

 

 

 


The Master - "Kunoichi" (1984)

 

 

 


The Master - "The Java Tiger" (1984)

 

 

 

 

 


The Master - "Rogues" (1984)

 


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The Fighting King (1994)


Considering Sho's great affinity for ninja, samurai, and kobudo weapons it's not surprising that weapons would play an important part in his directorial debut in THE FIGHTING KING.  As seen in the practice session between the film's lead Ken Ōshiro (Kane Kosugi) and his father Kiyotake Ōshiro (Hiroshi Miyauchi), numerous collections of weapons decorated the walls of their family dojo.

 

 

What is surprising and a bit puzzling, is that the opening shot is a wooden plaque with the infamous (Nin) kanji on it, which has come to signify Ninja and Ninjutsu.  I initially thought that this plaque might simply be Sho's nod to the audience by acknowledging his ninja legacy, but the smaller kanji on the left of the large symbol is 大城清武 (ŌSHIRO Kiyotake), the name of Hiroshi Miyauchi's character.  Moreover, the "Nin" symbol is also featured prominently in between the American flag and the large "U.S.A. SHŌEN-RYŪ OSHIRO DOJO U.S.A. HEADQUARTERS" panel on one of the dojo walls, and on the opposite side to the left of the Japanese flag is the (Dō) kanji.  Joined together they form 忍道 (Shinobidō), which means "Way of the Shinobi" or "Way of the Ninja".  It's unclear as to what the significance of this is, particularly as everything else in the film suggests that the fictional 尚円流拳法 (Shōen-ryū Kenpō), presumably named after King Shōen of Ryūkyū (1469-1476), is a form of Okinawan Karate and has nothing to do with Ninjutsu.

 

 

 

 

 


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The Fighting King 2 (1994)


In the sequel, THE FIGHTING KING 2, also directed by Sho, we get what appears to be another nod to Sho's past when Miki (Kojiro Shimizu) opens a desk drawer containing a pair of SAI sealed with a cord, reminiscent of how Cho Osaki (Sho) had sealed his sword forever in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.  And just as in that previous film, this seal is also reluctantly broken at a critical moment in the story.

 

 


Ninja Assassin (2009)

Appropriately enough this final secret weapons collection was seen in Sho's last ninja film, NINJA ASSASSIN.  In what was undoubtedly inspired by many of the 1980s ninja films that preceded it, Raizo (Rain) is shown to have some very cool and unusual hiding places for his ninja weapons.