Shintaro in color

The Samurai was Japan’s first major ninja export to the English-speaking world, bringing the adventures of invincible sword-slinging detective Shintaro and his shinobi-sidekick Tonbei the Mist to millions of fervent fans in Australia in the mid-1960s and generations of followers ever since.

As its ten seasons of ambitious storylines and memorable ninja villains were strictly black-and-white, occasional promotional photos, a single trading card and a rare magazine article here and there were the only glimpses of color in the world of Shintaro. These menko cards, tied into the show’s original run in Japan as Onmitsu Kenshin, used publicity photos colorized (sometimes awkwardly) after the fact and printed as fast and cheap as possible, so the registration of said color is often a disaster. It all adds to a wonderful aesthetic and makes these antiques a real treasure.

Read more about:
Tonbei the Mist
Menko Cards
The Samurai phenomenon in Australia