Hattori Hanzou: Kage no Gundan
Hattori Hanzou: Kage no Gundan
(Hattori, Hanzou: Shadow Warriors)

Hattori Hanzou: Kage no Gundan (Hattori, Hanzou: Shadow Warriors) ran April 1, 1980 - September 30, 1980 (27 episodes)

Producers: Iwasaki, Tadashi (KTV); Matsudaira, Norimichi; Makiguchi, Yuji & Kyou, Namura (Toei)
Music: Watanabe, Shigeki

Character Actor
Hattori, Hanzou III Chiba, Shinichi (Sonny Chiba)
Hyoroku Takaoka, Kenji
Okiri Naomi Hase
Daihachi Hino, Shouhei
Kisanta, Mizuguchi Suga, Kantaro
Kiheiji Haruta, Junichi
Oume Kurita, Yoko
Oen Asano, Mayumi
Yataro Moritsugu, Kouji
Yonosuke Moriya, Shunji
Genjirou Hirose, Yoshinbo
Onami Yoshima, Tomko
Haruo, Ikoma Kaneko, Nobuo
Orin Kirin, Kiki
Masayuki, Hoshina Yamamura, Sou
Okou Mitsubayashi, Kyoko
Dr. Kyonosuke Tsutsumi Saigo, Teruhiko
Narrator Koike, Asao

Under the leadership of Hattori, Hanzou III the Iga ninja of Edo try to maintain the peace and order of feudal Japan (1651), as the Shadow Warriors (Kage no Gundan).

After Hattori, Hanzou II displeased the Shogun (and lost his head) the Iga were excilled. As a result Hattori, Hanzou III is forced to hide his true identity behind the persona of a gambling bathhouse owner "Mr. Han". Hattori, Hanzou III's right hand man, Hyoroku, works in the Kijiyuu bathhouse. Hyoroku is a master of disguises and believes that a ninja must not fall in love with any woman. Daihachi works as a "Frog Oil" salesman and tries to be a womanizer. He'a an explosives expert. Kiheiji is a construction worker. Hattori, Hanzou III's Kunoichi (female ninja) Okiri works as a hairdresser. Also working for the Shadow Warriors is Dr. Kyonosuke Tsutsumi, who not only treats their wounds but his own as well.

After the death of Shogun Tokugawa, Iemitsu the government of Japan fell to regents as his his heir, Tokugawa, Ietsuna was only 10 years old (5 years old in this TV series). Hattori, Hanzou III occasionally works for Hoshina, Masayuki, guardian of the young Shogun, though he does not trust politicians, he's acccepted him as the best of lot. Hanzo is often disappointed in Masayuki's playing it safe, and disgusted at the corruption in the goverment.

The bathhouse matrin, Orin (who is not a ninja) is infatuated with her employeer. She has a rival, a younger bathhouse employee, Oume (also not a ninja). Mr. Han does not encourage either of them. For a time Okou, who is actually a spy for the Kogou ninja, worked in the bathhouse as well. Hattori, Hanzou II killed Okou's father and Mitsubayashi, Kyoko, leader of the Kogou, expects her to take revenge by killing Hattori, Hanzou III. Mitsubayashi, Kyoko suspects that Okou is stalling because she's fallen in love with Hattori, Hanzou III (he's right). Hattori, Hanzou III knew all along that she was Kouga agent but believed having her nearby would let him monitor the Kouga clan's actions. However, once she realised that he knew she left the bathhouse. She does however follow him around, sometimes hindering, sometmes helping.

After Mitsubayashi, Kyoko is maimed by Hattori, Hanzaou (who refuses to kill him because that would be too good for him) Kyoko's younger brother, Kishirou, shows up with a plan to kill Hattori, Hanzaou. Actually, its a plan to get rid of his brother so he can become leader of Kouga. Okou has a younger sister, Okiku, who is blind. After Mitsubayashi, Kyoko is killed, Okou leaves Edo with her sister, hoping for a better life for Okiku. Of the two, Mitsubayashi, Kyoko and Mitsubayashi, Kishirou; Kishirou is the worst. While, Kyoko would fight with his men, Kishishour is willing to stand by and watch them be killed, he cares nothing for them.

When men and women are killed in this show they bleed. At the Kijiyuu bathhouse there are many scenes of naked women.

Although the major characters in this series are based on real historical figures, the stories are of course fictionalized. Tokugawa, Ietsuna was the 4th Tokugaw Shogun. The Oniwaban, government employeed ninja, did not actually come into existance until the 8th Tokugawa Shogun and were in fact Iga Ninja not Kouga as portrayed in this series.

Shihomi, Etsuko (Mari in Kikaida 01) guest stars in episode 9 as Hanzo's niece Kirara.

  1.    04-01-1980    Tigers Sharpen Their Claws in a Storm
  2.    04-08-1980    A Female Leopard, Hiding in the Dark
  3.    04-15-1980    A Devil Called Oushu Highway
  4.    04-22-1980    The Spring of Kyoto: The Trick of the Black Teeth
  5.    04-29-1980    Soft Skin Sunk Into a Whirlpool
  6.    05-06-1980    The Woman Disappeared Into the Port on a Foggy Night
  7.    05-13-1980    The Target is a Mystery Woman
  8.    05-20-1980    Infiltration! The Ladies' Chambers Night and Day
  9.    05-27-1980    The Female Ninja's May in Shadows
10.    06-03-1980    The Black Hair Burned With the Grudge
11.    06-10-1980    A Bride and a Murderous Fiend
12.    06-17-1980    Kill Night Spiders Even If They Are Parents
13.    06-24-1980    Midnight Beauty
14.    07-01-1980    The Shogun Disappeared! The Plot of the Female Foxes
15.    07-08-1980    Mysterious Priest, Inviting Hell
16.    07-15-1980    Don't Get Involved With Dangerous Women
17.    07-22-1980    The Living Shadow Shogun
18.    07-29-1980    The Killer in the Eyes
19.    08-05-1980    Palace of the Bloodsucking Woman
20.    08-12-1980    I'm Going To be Killed!
21.    08-19-1980    Hiding! The Hole of Snakes
22.    08-26-1980    The Dreadful Investigator
23.    09-02-1980    The Red Eyes of the Snake Are a Death Sentence
24.    09-09-1980    Sudder! Sacrifice of the Virgin
25.    09-16-1980    The Trick Ceiling of the Tragic Love
26.    09-23-1980    The Ominous Place; The Cursed Flute
27.    09-30-1980    Intrusion! 24 Hours in the Woman's Bath

The opening theme for Hattori Hanzou: Kage no Gundan is instrumental, composed by Watanabe, Shigeki. The ending theme is, "Prayer of G", words, music and vocals by Okabayashi, Nobuyasu; arrangement by Watanabe, Shigeki.

Shadow Warriors: The Complete First Season box set

Hattori Hanzou: Kage no Gundan was followed by Kage no Gundan II (1981/26 episodes), Kage no Gundan III (1982/26 episodes), Kage no Gundan IV (1985/27 episodes), Kage no Gundan: Bakumatsu-Hen (1985/13 episodes) and a direct to video series Shin Kage no Gundan (2003-2005/6 volumes). All starring Sonny Chiba, as different Iga ninja.

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Last modified Thursday, November 26, 2020

Hattori Hanzou: Kage no Gundan © 1980 Kansai Telecasting Corporation (KTV) & Toei Co., Ltd.