Black Samurai fights evil

Martial arts and blaxploitation

By William Wetherall

First posted 5 January 2006
Last updated 15 August 2006

Black Samurai series

Black Samurai is an eight-volume series, written by Marc Olden, and published by Signet Books between May 1974 and June 1975.

1 1974 Black Samurai
2 1974 The Golden Kill
3 1974 Killer Warrior
4 1974 The Deadly Pearl
5 1974 The Inquisition
6 1975 The Warlock
7 1975 Sword of Allah
8 1975 The Katana

Marc Olden
Black Samurai
New York: Signet, May 1974
167 pages, paperback

Black Samurai 1


Rescued by a Japanese samurai master, trained for seven years, Robert Sand became the Black Samurai, a man to be reckoned with. And having suffered at the hands of military racists and seeing his teacher and brother samurai killed before his eyes by the military terrorists, Robert Sand became a man with a mission -- a killing machine, out to destroy the corrupt powers who had taken the lives of his friends.
bent on revenge, fighting against evil schemers who threatened the future of the world.

Marc Olden
The Golden Kill
New York: Signet, May 1974
176 pages, paperback

Black Samurai 2


No one seemed able to combat the vast secret global network of money, power, and violence that was step by step enslaving mankind. Its mysterious masters commanded armies of men, gigantic corporations, entire governments, every means of destruction in science's infernal arsenal. All Robert Sand had were his supreme mastery of the martial arts, a burning knowledge of the danger threatening mankind, an dorders to stop this vast juggernaut of evil at any cost. With his bare hands at the ready, and no holds barred, the Black Samurai set out to destroy the destroyers.

Marc Olden
Killer Warrior
New York: Signet, July 1974
159 pages, paperback

Black Samurai 3


Robert Sand, Black Samurai, knew that saving New York from atomic destruction was close to mission impossible, even for him. Ranged against him were a monstrously rich Japanese murder-master, a fiendish French Connection who could deliver a diabolical doomsday device, and a vast army of trained killers led by an ax-wielding savage warrior who lusted for revenge. It was Robert Sand's bare hands against the most sophisticated weapons of modern science and the naked blade of primitive savagery as the Black Samurai plunged into his most dangerous adventure ever.

Marc Olden
The Deadly Pearl
New York: Signet, September 1974
153 pages, paperback

Black Samurai 4


Pearl was the King of Pimps, a beautiful black stud who specialized in turning out teen-aged girls for an international clientele. Pay Pearl his price, and you could get whatever perverted kick you wanted from any kind or color of budding young chick. Cross Pearl, and his army of expert assassins would do a number on you, if Pearl didn't decide to use his own legendary sword-cane to slice you up. But now Pearl had snatched the wrong little runaway, and Robert Sand, master of the martial arts, vowed to tear apart this worldwide empire of flesh with his bare hands. The Black Samurai's orgy of vengeance was about to begin.

Marc Olden
The Inquisition
New York: Signet, November 1974
170 pages, paperback

Black Samurai 5


Dessalines was black, bloodthirsty, and insane. And he was the head of THE INQUISTION, a terrorist organization sworn to wipe out the rich, the law enforcers, the Establishment -- anyone who got in their way. Swift and deadly, they seemed to be unstoppable.

But Dessalines and THE INQUISITION made one mistake. They kidnaped the daughter of the most powerful man in American. And suddenly they had Robert Sand, Black Samurai, to deal with. Robert sand, who with only his brain and bare hands had three days to find Dessalines and stop an execution that could unleash destruction and evil across the nation.

Marc Olden
The Warlock
New York: Signet, January 1975
153 pages, paperback

Black Samurai 6


The Warlock ruled an occult empire that stretched around the world. This evil genius giant of a man with his slavelike army of hideous killer dwarfs, gorgeous women, sadistic perverts, and all the other devotees of his devil-worshiping religion now reached out to grasp ultimate power over all the nations of the earth. Satan was in the saddle and was riding mankind to doom -- and only Robert Sand, Black Samurai, could hope to exorcise this monstrous threat, or else himself be thrown screaming into the bottomless pit of soul-destroying pain and body-mangling death.

Marc Olden
Sword of Allah
New York: Signet, April 1975
152 pages, paperback

Black Samurai 7


Politics can make sinister allies, but never was there a more deadly combination than an Arab terrorist groub backed by billions in oil money, and a right-wing organizatin masterminded by a U.S. Senator and run by the diabolically cunning and vicious Neal Heath, otherwise known as "Lieutenant Foxy." They were out to deliever a savage one-two punch against America by murdering the entire crew of a Soviet-American space shot, and their weapons included everything from irresistible sex to the most sophisticated technology. Corpse by corpse they moved closer to their goal of pushing America over the brink, and Robert Sand, Black Samurai, hade only his bare hands and mastery of the martial arts to hold back this streamroller of endless wealth and infinitely evil power.

Marc Olden
The Katana
New York: Signet, June 1975
168 pages, paperback

Black Samurai 8

was created centuries ago by the greatest of craftsmen for the Emperor of Japan -- a fabulous sword with a blade of gold and a hilt blood-red with rubies. Robert Sand, the Black Samurai, learned to revere this wonderous weapon from the Oriental master who taught him the martial arts -- and now Sands was stirred to a savage pitch of rage he had never known before at the idea of the Katana in the diabolically evil hands that had stolen it. Between Sand and this sacred symbol stood a lethal legion commanded by Mafia blood money and Arab oil wealth -- but the Black Samurai was ready to take that army apart killer by killer with his bare hands to get those hands on the monstrous man at the top.

The movie

The series inspired the movie Black Samurai, released in 1976 and 1977, and known by several titles

Black Samurai: Agent For Dragon
Black Samurai: Agent For D.R.A.G.O.N.
Black Terminator
The Freeze Bomb (European release)

The movie is only very loosely based on Olden's stories. Mostly it just uses the title of the series and borrows a few plot elements that are common to many action-adventure thrillers. This would be fine if the movie told its own story well, but it is a travesty of bad film-making that belies the high quality of Olden's series within the pulp action genre.

The story is set in Hong Kong. Janicott, an evil cultists who runs a prostitution and drug ring, kidnaps Tokai, the daughter of Kanuma, an ambassador who has been trying to stop his drug smuggling. Robert Sand comes to her rescue when it turns out that Kanuma is his sensei and Tokai is his girlfriend.

Black Samurai was directed by Al Adamson and stars Jim Kelly (Robert Sand aka Black Samurai), Essie Lin Chia (Tokai / Toki Kanuma, the ambassador's daughter), Bill Roy (Janicott, an evil white Haitian warlock voodoo high-priest), Marilyn Joi (Synne, voodoo high-priestess), Biff Yeager (Pines, Head of D.R.A.G.O.N.), and a host of other genre actors. Filming Locations include Haiti, Hong Kong, and Riverside in California.

The movie has been released in various VHS and DVD versions. It is often included on multi-feature martial arts DVDs like Kung Fu Theater: Shaolin Dolemite and Black Samurai, released in 2000. Shaolin Dolemite (1999) stars Rudy Ray Moore as Monk Ru-Dee. Moore played Dolemite in Dolemite (1975), directed by D'Urville Martin. Martin, better known as an actor, appears in Black Samurai.

Brentwood Home Video released an 84-minute DVD version in 2001. An earlier video version is 88 minutes. Some reviewers have lamented that recent VHS and DVD versions are missing original footage containing profanity and nudity.

Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly won national championships in karate and tennis before he appeared as Williams in Bruce Lee's classic Enter the Dragon (1973). After this came Black Belt Jones (1974) and other martial arts action films. In Tattoo Connection (1978) -- aka E yu tou hei sha xing (Hong Kong) and Black Belt Jones 2 (United Kingdom) -- he played Lucas, a good guy, an unusual role for a non-Chinese character in a Hong Kong action film at the time to some extent still.

Kelly played Detective Ash in another Adamson film, Death Dimension (1978), which is known by six other titles, including Black Eliminator and Freeze Bomb. Some critics think the titles of Black Samurai and Death Dimension were changed to fool the drive-in movie crowd, who had heard bad things about the films, or would think they were going to see something new. "plot keywords" for Black Samurai include Martial Arts, Independent Film, Blaxploitation, Cult, Drugs, Kidnapping, Midget, Voodoo, Vulture, Warlock, White Slavery, Exploding Car, Fall Into Water, Flashback Sequence, Jet Pack, Knife, Mariachi Band, Mexico, Murder, Nunchauks, Rattlesnake, Spiral Staircase, Stabbing, Sunbathing, Sword, Tennis, Thrown Through Window, Whip.

Missing from this list is Afro -- as in Big Round Afro No Kick Ass Action Can Muss.

The Black Samurai: A Novel of Feudal Japan

Robert Sand is even less a samurai in the movie than he is in Olden's novels. At least one other novel seems to feature a "Black Samurai" in Japan at time when samurai were real.

Earnest N. Bracey
The Black Samurai: A Novel of Feudal Japan
New York: Vantage Press, October 1996

Bracey, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and History at Hampton University in Virginia. He is author of numerous non-fiction works, including Daniel "Chappie" James: The First African American Four Star General (2003), Prophetic Insight: The Higher Education and Pedagogy of African Americans (1999), American Politics and Culture Wars: An Interactive Look at the Future (with Larry Tomlinson and Albert Cameron Johns, 2001, 1998), On Racism: Essays on Black Popular Culture, African American Politics, and the New Black Aesthetics (2003), and Requiems for Black Folks (2002). And he has published one other work of fiction, an historical novel set in Korea.

Earnest N. Bracey
Chosen: A Novel of Medieval Korea
Janus Publishing Co Ltd, October 1994

We live: The Black Samurai

C-Rayz Walz, a hip-hop/rap singer, has an audio CD out called We live: The Black Samurai (Definitive Jux, September 2004). On it are the following tracks.

 1. Opening Ceremony
 2. We Live [Belief Mix]
 3. Trudeau - Beba, C-Rayz Walz, LJ, Luminisah, Rashida
 4. Showgun
 5. Crayzeebeat - C-Rayz Walz, Lyrikill da Observer
 6. Crayzeerock - Bleedin Gumz, C-Rayz Walz, Lyrikill da Observer
 7. Single Mothers - Beba, C-Rayz Walz, , Imani, Krystal, Rachelle, Shani
 8. Amore
 9. Metal Petals
10. Rainforever - Bleedin Gumz, C-Rayz Walz, Lyrikill da Observer
11. 3 Card Molly
12. Closing Ritual

Black samurai publisher

Black Samurai has put on a coat and tie, traded his blades for a word processor, and written this non-fiction book.

Wayne Erwin Brown
Black Samurai
(Work, Travel, Culture, Religion, Struggle,
and Perspective of a Black American Man)
WEB International Publishing, December 2005
276 pages, paperback

Brown has been to "the USA, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, France, Spain, China (including Hong Kong and Macao), Taiwan, Philippines, and Singapore" according to his webssite at

Swords and pet carriers offers a number of Black Samurai products. It's "Sports & Outdoors" department includes the following non-lethal weapons.

Black Samurai Warrior Sword Katata
Black Samurai Tanto with Leather Wrap
Traditional Black Samurai Style Sword Set with dragon design
Traditonal Black Samurai Tachi Sword

Amazon's "Home & Garden" department features a "Bali Black Samurai Pet Carrier" and a "Bali Black Samurai Dog Carrier" -- which look pretty much the same -- besides which they are not available. Shoot. I mean, Shucks.

Black samurai and geisha halloween costumes

Amazon's "Apparel" department offers a "Black Samurai Costume" by Costume Zone -- which has a costume for every season and fantasy -- even a "Wannabe" search engine. "Black Samurai Costume" comes only in adult sizes, but "Geisha Girl Costume" comes in both child and adult sizes. Gotta start 'em young, I guess.

The website of HalloweenMart, another costume vendor, has a section called "Geisha & Samauris" which features three costumes -- Dragon Samurai, Oriental Geisha Princess, and Samurai Deluxe. "Samurai Deluxe" is identical to Costume Zone's "Black Samurai Costume" -- right down to the white dude who is modelling it.

The blurb for "Dragon Samurai" says that "The Samurai Dragon Warrior fits to defend the honor of his family." The costume includes a headpiece, tunic, robe, and belt, and fits anyone up to 200 pounds. The mustached macho model resembles a hybrid of Ghengis Khan, a professional wrestler, and something out of Star Wars. An optional "Samurai Sword" looks suspiciously like a pirate's cutlass, but who would know.

The highlight of HalloweenMart's Steamy East costumes, though, is Oriental Geisha Princess -- "always beautiful and mysterious" in a red satin brocade dress that fits ladies 6-12. This appears to be dress size, not age. In case your hair is red or blonde, you can opt for a Sassy Black Wig.

Only 298 days until Halloween. Better hurry.