Tom Cruise is a lot of things – actor, accomplished sprinter, borderline cannibal, underwear model. But no one could have possibly watched his starring turn as Nathan Algren in The Last Samurai and actually thought he represented an actual, historical white guy samurai running around feudal Japan in sweet old-timey armor.
But, a Kamakura Era (1185 – 1333) art scroll released by the Tokyo National Museum purportedly depicts the presence of a real white “samurai” participating in a good old fashioned feudal war on Japanese soil. Thankfully, the battle is being fought with regular swords and spears rather than violent farts, as is the case with this scroll.
The scroll appears to depict a battle between the more advanced and heavily-armed henchman of some warlord, and a group of ragtag bandits that include an armor-clad “white guy” rushing headlong into the fray, while people on the outskirts of the scroll seem totally oblivious to all the carnage. While the resemblance to Tom Cruise is minimal, the guy certainly looks a lot like the titular “Last Samurai” in a situation eerily reminiscent of the film.
Theories abound as to why the white dude is there in the midst of battle during an era long before Japan officially opened its doors to foreigners. No doubt bitter expats will spotlight the scroll as proof that Japan has always depicted white people as insensitively as possible – seeing as the guy sports a big foreign guy schnoz and stereotypical blond hair, but (and sorry to burst your bubble here) it seems the theory with the most traction is that the “white guy” is actually a fantastical depiction of a Japanese war spirit of some kind. Note the claws on the guy’s extended hand and the fact that he’s wearing sophisticated armor while the rest of the bandits appear to be fighting in their pajamas.
Or could it be that Tom Cruise is actually an alien doppelganger who has inhabited earth for centuries to sing the gospel of Scientology?