The age of the samurai has long since ended, but does its spirit live on? You might well feel that, despite everything, the flame of the samurai still burns in Japan today after watching the swordsmanship skills on display in the clip above. Or perhaps we should call it swordswomanship: the modern-day warrior executing those perfect cuts is the daughter of grandmaster Fumon Tanaka, and her bearing and self-possession bring to mind the onna bugeisha of old Japan. And as we see, gender matters not at all in the stark reality of blade on bone — or in this case, blade on a similarly dense stalk of bamboo.
Tanaka, showing an imperfectly cut piece of bamboo, explains that its curved edge means “your left and right hands are not balanced. If a samurai decapitates a man with this bad technique, it would cause great pain. It has to be one precise cut. That is the way of the samurai.”
His daughter then demonstrates just how handily she can attend to any of your decapitation needs, halving the bamboo with what her father deems “a perfect straight cut.” Though it only takes a single stroke, that single stroke comes as the culmination of years and years of work toward mastery — and work that, in this modern onna bugeisha’s case, no doubt began early indeed.