For the Japanese chicken, see: Shamo (chicken)

Shamo (軍鶏?, or gamecock) is a Japanese action manga with a dark theme. It was discontinued because Weekly Manga Action went out of business but it is now being serialized in Evening. It tells a story of a boy who killed his parents and turned himself into a cold-blooded martial artist. The manga inspired a Hong Kong film adaptation that was released in 2007. The manga is currently not being produced and the artist and writer are both working on separate projects.


Shamo differs significantly from other seinen manga in that the story's protagonist is actually a machiavellian criminal. Throughout the manga Ryo Narushima is depicted as being unrepentant for the murder of his parents and is shown committing crimes such as assault and rape. Though capable of redemption (as evidenced by his care-taking of his sister and various small charitable acts shown throughout the manga) ultimately Narushima is a Byronic hero spiraling into darkness, his chances at reform slowly ebbing away as he gives in to more and more of his depraved and brutal tendencies.

A minor theme throughout the manga is society's morally-based stratification, how it condemns young criminals like Narushima, and how that condemnation forces Narushima to the fringes of society making his chances of true reform and redemption even more remote.

Various supporting characters within Shamo act as dramatic foils to Narushima, with Noata Sugawara being the primary example of this. Famous, rich, and beloved for the same abilities that make Narushima a social pariah, Sugawara's presence can be seen as an example of society's cognitive dissonance towards violence. Narushima is reviled for his violent traits, while Sugawara is praised & rewarded for using those same traits in a slightly different context.

This story was inspired by the Kobe children serial murders of 1997 that a 14-year-old "Boy A" ("Shōnen A") killed and decapitated several children.

Ryo Narushima is modeled after two persons:

  • Juvenile delinquency part: The "Youth A".
  • Martial art part: Ryu Narushima (成島竜?) of Kyokushin. This Karate fighter's name has same pronunciation as the main character's name.


Part 1: The reformatory

Ryo, a talented highschooler who was about to enter Tokyo University, the most prestigious university in Japan, killed his parents before his successful life could begin. The perfect family and perfect life seemed to devour the young boy's restless soul. In a beautiful sunny afternoon when cicadas were singing, he stabbed his father and mother to death with a short knife repeatedly before he came to his senses.

The 16-year-old bookworm murderer was convicted and sent to a reformatory where he was gang raped by other boys. Kenji Kurokawa (黒川健児?), a jailed man who nearly assassinated Japanese Prime Minister decades ago, was sent to the reformatory to teach the youngsters karate every week. He discovered Ryo's talent and taught him self-defense. Ryo survived. Thanks to a law that protects minors, he was released two years later.

Alone in a city full of crime, he tried to look for his lost sister but ends up mistaking another drug-abusing prostitute for her. Ryo started to fight for his living and used all imaginable dirty tricks to defeat his enemy. He also ambushed gangsters in dark alleys to perfect his fighting skill as well as working as a gigolo.

Part 2: Sugawara

In this part, Ryo fights Naoto Sugawara (菅原直人?) of the Banryukai (番竜会?) twice. Kurokawa, a cast away from that elite dojo, helped Ryo to become stronger as a way to revenge Kensuke Mochizuki (望月謙介?), his past foe and the current owner of the Banryukai. Banryukai is possibly modeled after the Kyokushin kaikan and Seidokaikan and Mochizuki is possibly modeled after Kazuyoshi Ishii, the founder of Seidokaikan.

Believing that he is the strongest, the "gamecock" started to take on other good martial artists. A blood-thirsty TV producer noticed that this street-fighting young man was the "Youth A" and pushed to have him join "Lethal Fight," a fictional combat arena modeled after Japan's K-1 tournament. Ryo, a dangerous man with an animal instinct who destroyed many good fighters in the ring, one day finds himself facing Thailand's best fighter who was fighting to support his family. Before he was totally defeated, he tried to kick the Thai fighter's neck but the fighter ducked and was hit in the eye and blinded.

Ryo wanted to take on Sugawara. However, Sugawara was much taller and heavier than him so his chance to fight him was remote. As a way to provide incentive, Ryo raped Sugawara's supermodel girlfriend. Sugawara vowed to kill Ryo with his hands in the boxing ring to comfort his woman and agreed to a televised fight at the Tokyo Dome. It was the duel between darkness and brightness. Only this time, Ryo (亮), literally "brightness," stands for the dark side.

Ryo went through a painful bodybuilding regime where he used steroids to increase his muscle mass and strength. Before the fight began, his left eye became bloody under the non-human torture. He didn't care. Bad luck was on Ryo's side. His small body still was no comparison to Sugawara's. However, he rediscovered his long-forgotten left-handedness suppressed by his parents since he was a child minutes before the end of the last round. Then he wildly gave Sugawara countless heavy left punches before Sugawara used his broken right fist to punch him out of consciousness. He survived the lethal fight and was defeated only five seconds before the fight was over. Sugawara failed to kill him in front of the crowd.

Out of anger and frustration, Sugawara invited Ryo to another private fight three months later in an abandoned temple. Sugawara took several darts and a long wooden stick. Ryo took a pair of tonfa with him. After a long and brutal duel where Narushima was almost killed, Sugawara was hit in the back of the neck and was hospitalized.

Part 3: The old man and the "Monkey"

Ryo fled to Shanghai, China where he fought illegal fights under the offensive stage name "touyouki" (東洋鬼 Orient demon?). This part was not as long as the last one. After he destroyed many fighters, Ryo's market value diminished because it becomes a no-brainer to bet on him or to lose money. Then the underground casino invited "Sun Wukong" (孙悟空?), a one-armed man in a monkey mask to fight Ryo.

Unaware of the danger, Ryo was no comparison with the acrobatic Sun Wukong who could attack from every possible direction. Before being killed on stage, an old man who had eaten breakfast with Ryo that morning entered the ring and saved him. That old man was Sun Wukong's former sifu before he went astray.

At the end of his life, the old man could not fight "Sun Wukong" without Ryo's help. So he took Ryo back to his home in an unknown remote mountain where Ryo learned many physics defying paranormal tricks like standing on a short piece of bamboo stick floating on the water surface. Sun Wukong attacks the temple and kills the old master. Yan commits suicide shortly after. Ryo and Sun Wukong face off in combat, and it ends with Sun Wukong committing suicide off a cliff.

Part 4: The ballet dancer

It tells a story that Toma Takahara (高原東馬?), a successful male ballet dancer, mysteriously abandoned his dancing career to pursue martial arts. He was trained in judo and sambo.The new books (20, 21) pick up with Ryo fighting in a club in Japan. He has left China and still works for money by fighting and male prostitution. Ryo discovers after one fight that his ability has dropped significantly and he decides to start training hard.. Ryo enters a karate competition in a mask and is spotted by Mochizuki. Mochizuki offers him money to enter a grappling tournament fighting against Toma. Ryo, desperate for cash accepts and begins training. The tournament is currently ongoing, with four of the five fights over. Ryo's fight is last. While waiting for his turn to fight, he was stabbed by Moemi Funato. However, he still plans to fight.


Shamo was made into a movie in 2007.

Court case

The manga has been on hold since 2007 due in part to creative differences. Shamo manga artist Akio Tanaka is currently in a legal battle against Shamo's credited creator, Izô Hashimoto, for 150 million yen (about US$1.4 million) in a copyright lawsuit that opened in June, 2008 in the Tokyo District Court. Tanaka claims that he, and not Hashimoto, had created the story and the character concepts.[1]

The books

Volume ISBN Publish Date
1 ISBN 4-575-82383-X 12 November 1998
2 ISBN 4-575-82394-5 5 January 1999
3 ISBN 4-575-82416-X 12 April 1999
4 ISBN 4-575-82432-1 9 July 1999
5 ISBN 4-575-82452-6 28 March 2000
6 ISBN 4-575-82488-7 28 April 2000
7 ISBN 4-575-82492-5 22 May 2000
8 ISBN 4-575-82499-2 27 June 2000
9 ISBN 4-575-82509-3 8 September 2000
10 ISBN 4-575-82525-5 11 December 2000
11 ISBN 4-575-82551-4 26 March 2001
12 ISBN 4-575-82572-7 28 June 2001
13 ISBN 4-575-82607-3 28 October 2001
14 ISBN 4-575-82627-8 19 December 2001
15 ISBN 4-575-82663-4 18 April 2002
16 ISBN 4-575-82709-6 18 August 2002
17 ISBN 4-575-82760-6 12 December 2002
18 ISBN 4-575-82816-5 19 April 2003
19 ISBN 4-575-82845-9 19 July 2003
20 ISBN 4-06-352113-3 23 June 2005
21 ISBN 4-06-352114-1 23 June 2005
22 ISBN 4-06-352128-1 21 October 2005
23 ISBN 4-06-352140-0 23 March 2006
24 ISBN 4-06-352159-1 23 August 2006
25 ISBN 4-06-352169-9 22 November 2006


External links

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