Quite possibly the longest running (at least a few decades) televised jidai geki
in Japan. It's definitely the most famous (or infamous) and one of the most popular. This show is based on the travels of Tokugawa Mitsukuni
of the Mito
province, who was a Vice-Shogun
in the Tokugawa Shogunate
era. When he retire
d, he and a small party travelled from town to town and help the peasant
s and artisan
s from corrupt governor
s and greedy merchant
Originally Mitsukuni travelled with just two guards - the strong, stoic Kaku-san and the slick, womanizing Suke-san. Later years added Hachi (for comic relief) and a female Ninja love interest for Suke-san.
The episodes are very formulaic. The signature scene in this series is where Mitsukuni reveals his true identity before kicking the bad guy's ass. Either Kaku-san or Suke-san holds up a small lacquered case bearing the seal of the Shogunate (the inrou) and delivers the routine speech (so well known it's passed into popular vernacular):
Quiet! Quiet! Can you not see the seal of the Shogun? Who do you think this person is? Why, he's the Vice Shogun, Mito Mitsukuni! You are in front of the Goroukou! Show some respect! On your knees, on your knees now!
(Loosely translated. Of course, the honorifics
don't translate well.)
Mitsukuni then proceeds to rebuke the bad guy(s) for their crimes. The bad guy(s) don't take this quietly, and fight back with dozens of men. In the resulting sword fight, Mitsukuni's party easily defeats them (even though they are vastly outnumbered). Even Mitsukuni (who is an old man - they don't call him "Goroukou" for nothing) himself fights with his cane!