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Can Samurai Teach Critical Thinking? Primary Sources in the Classroom

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Many Americans are fascinated by the samurai. Although there are no samurai today—the official status was abolished by the Japanese government in the 1870s—they remain alive and well in the popular imagination. Samurai-themed manga such as Lone Wolf and Cub, Blade of the Immortal, and Vagabond are wildly popular, as are animated television series such as Samurai Champloo and Samurai Jack. Japan’s legendary warriors star in many computer and video games and are regulars on the silver screen, inspiring classic movies such as The Magnificent Seven and Star Wars as well as more recent films including Kill Bill and The Last Samurai.