Crucifixion in Japan – Super Sentai

As someone who’s up to date and avidly watches sentai I’m always a bit shocked when I see them crucifying one of the sentai (usually does not lead to death but the idea is there). And it with it happening in the most recent episode of Lupinranger Vs Patoranger (ep 46) I decided to look into this, as commonly we associate crucifixion with Christ and the Romans but naturally this isn’t common in japan. Although the Christian/catholic religion is gaining traction and they have adapted religious holidays such as Christmas it still leaves me with questions as to what crucifixion means to Japanese civilisation.

The first time I noticed this happen was in Gokaiger, although the first apparent appearance of this being used dates way back to the days before Stan Lee helped create the famous name Super Sentai. Back in 1977 with JAQK, we see the first crucifixion scene happen. The creator of this season and the previous sentai was originally a Kamen rider creator(Sentai only exists as a failed Kamen rider pitch). And due to seeing this I searched if there is any crucifixion in Kamen Rider, and allas, dating all the way back to the very first season where the Kamen riders are perfectly named rider 1 and 2, are both seen crucified and there is even figures of that moment. But also it came up with some Ultraman crucifixion scenes. This dates back to 1969 which is before Kamen Rider was even adapted into a show, this led me to question further and my first hypothesis of this being an impact of Shotaro Ishinomori has been erased.

looking into Japanese History there are a surprising amount of crucifixion than expected. Although not starting until almost 2000 years after the Romans’ started Japan has crucifixion dating back to the 12th century. “Crimes against individuals of higher social status and against family members were punished severely, and killing one’s master could result in beheading prior to crucifixion“. Although it’s clear that most heinous crimes are punished by crucifixion in the same way they were during those eras in western society, a story that stands out to me and being an inspiration for the crucifixion in sentai is Japanese Solider Torii Suneemon. He was respected for betraying his captors and helping his fellow army therefore adding a notoriety to crucifixion and establishing it as a way to kill people who betray those in power in Japan. This was also reflected again in WW2 when the Japanese would crucify Koreans who didn’t accept the Japanese overtaking their country and believing in an independent Korea.

As Super Sentai is commonly associated with a group(sentai) of people fighting again evil who wish to take over their country and implement a system that is detrimental to the civilians and culture it’s clear why they see crucifixion as a way to represent them showing the sentai members as bad and try to frame them as rebels who are fighting against their Ideal system.

This was easy to imply through Christian beliefs as well but as this isn’t a common belief in Japan I was interested in knowing their stories and history behind what makes this significant to them to use.

I feel I want to include this symbolism in my fmp. When you see the first death she isn’t crucified but she is pinned against the wall. I feel that if I have her in more a traditional style it will give hints to the fact that she has done something wrong in the world of the game. This will come to play in the reveal as (SPOILERS) it turns out she was never dead but in fact orchestrates the whole story and is the one behind the ‘rabbit doubt’ game as she used her hypnosis that no one believed she has.

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