So, since I signed up for DCU in late December I have been doing a rewatch of B:TAS. Today I finished “Day of the Samurai” (S2E16) and earlier this week I watched “Night of the Ninja” (S2E7). Both have Batman face a ninja (Kyodai Ken) and have him in Japan (either actually or through flashback). I was pleasantly surprised with the episode and its accuracy. Not to say that it was perfect (e.g. some of the Japanese characters on the buildings were incorrect, but I don’t know if that was intentional or not) but most elements like the Japanese language audio that was used was surprisingly accurate. Kevin Conroy even had good pronunciation and accent. So it shows that they put a lot of effort into making it the best it could be. Just another thing making it a fantastic show.
As a shakuhachi player and an ethnomusicologist with a regional focus on Japan, I was most surprised and excited to hear the use of Japanese instruments such as the shakuhachi and koto used in the soundtrack so idiomatically. Shirley Walker is truly a master at composition.
Anyway, I think it would be an interesting research project to see representations of Japan, Japanese language, Japanese music, etc. in Batman media. I was hoping to enlist the help of the DCU community. Of course things with sound like TV and movies are the best, but I’m looking for anything, even just a panel in a comic book. I know of a few:
- The above-mentioned episodes in B:TAS
- The villain in the 1943 serial is a Japanese guy, Dr. Daka, and there are some Japanese elements (and pretty racist, though reflective of the anti-Japanese sentiment during WWII)
- The Batman and Teen Titans cartoons were inspired by anime
- The Batman Ninja movie
- Batman Ninja manga by Hisa Masato (久正人; in two volumes)
- Chip Kidd’s Bat-Manga and the actual Jiro Kuwata Batman manga
- A few elements in Batman Begins
- Batman: Gotham Knight was animated by various Japanese anime studios
- Batman and the Justice League by Teshirogi Shiori (手代木史織; 4 volumes)
- Batman Death Mask by Natsume Yoshinori (夏目義徳)
- Batman Child of Dreams by Asamiya Kia (麻宮騎亜; in 2 volumes in the original Japanese)
- Short manga story by Ōtomo Katsuhiro (大友克洋) in Vol. 1 of Batman Black and White
- Use of Katana in Beware the Batman TV Series
- Batman the Brave and the Bold S1E24–the Katana section features many Japanese elements including the use of the shakuhachi and shamisen
Hopefully you can help me add to my list. Thanks in advance for all your help!!