Golden Kamuy Is Not a True Story Exactly, But It’s Inspired By Real History and People

By Louie Fecou
Published: May 20, 2024
Is Golden Kamuy on Netflix based on a true story
Golden Kamuy | Image via Netflix

Netflix Asia projects continue to evolve and inspire, and Golden Kamuy is no exception. The exciting story has an intriguing historical backdrop, and the plot incorporates elements of reality, including real history and people, without strictly being a true story.

The Historical Inspiration and Real People Behind The Story

Golden Kamuy is a live-action adaptation of a manga series that uses real historical events as the canvas for the story. The characters in the show are mostly fictional but even there, you can still see some crossover with real life.

The battle that opens the show is firmly grounded in history and is one of the most brutal encounters in Japan’s history. It took place in 1904 on 203 Meter Hill, China, and was the result of growing tensions between China and Russia. It is this political unrest that sets the scene for a lot of the series.

Also featured in the show are the Japanese tribe, the Ainu, from the North of Japan, with its own culture and language impacted by the advent of colonialism. Even today, the tribe still exists, but is at risk of being wiped out, despite efforts from the government to maintain the culture. Many of the ways of the tribe are featured within the show.

The character of Hijikata Toshizo, a samurai, is also based on a real-life historical figure, and eagle-eyed viewers will also know of the Shogunate, explored in the series Shogun, that was instigated by Lord Yoshii Toranaga.

As we watch the story of army veteran Sugimoto (Kento Yamazaki) and his Ainu partner Asirpa (Anna Yamada) in Golden Kamuy, we are seeing some of the true historical realities that were going on at the time.

Characters Based on Real-Life People

The characters in the show have been fictionalized to present a more enjoyable narrative for viewers, but some historical accuracies have bled into the main protagonists. Saichi Sugimoto, who we mentioned above, has his roots in reality but has been created for the show. This trend continues with characters such as Sofia Golden Hand, who may be based on the real-life Russian rebel Sofia Ivanovna Blyuvshtein, and Kiroranke, who seems to be derived from another real person of interest at the time called Chouan Kumagishi.

Takamori Saigou and Shinpachi Nagakura have their place in historical fact, as they were both samurai warriors at the time. Tsurumi also has a real-world counterpart, as he is recorded as being a real-life Russian officer who escaped jail to become a counteragent.

Golden Kamuy Anime

The incredibly popular manga was produced as an anime TV series in 2018. Geno Studio would provide two seasons of the show, and eventually, a third season appeared in 2020. Brain Base would then turn in a fourth season in 2022, which ran until June 2023.

There has been speculation of a fifth season that will conclude the run. The manga is immensely popular with over twenty-four million copies sold. It would win the 9th Manga Taisho in 2016, and the 22nd Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2018.


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