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Time in Japan: Western Solar Calendars
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Bethetsu
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thank you for the list. They don't seem to be available near here, so I will put them on my list of books to find in Tokyo.

I will not be able to check in regularly for a few weeks, but after that I hope to get back to the Meiji period, which I started this thread out with.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
After a rather long but interesting digression, we have finally come to the Meiji period.

As we all know, Japan now uses the Gregorian calendar. Of course, some "talk about "Gregorian years" and say that therefore Japanese does not fully use the Gregorian calendar since nengo are still official (and in fact in very common use, as I know very well-- I would have a hard time if I did not know some dates, such as the present year and my birth date in nengo). However I would not say use of AD years is essential to the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian decree does not say anything about the year, and certainly the "Julian calendar" does not in itself imply a year dating system as it was used with many. Likewise the Genka calendar has been used with cyclic years, Chinese and Japanese nengo, and reign years without being distinguished. The point is how months are distinguished, and now there is no difference between the Japanese calendar and the Gregorian.
Thus there is no problem in saying without qualification that Japan uses the Gregorian calendar. It is true that Japan never passes a law that said "we will use the Gregorian calendar." And such statements as "Done at Tokyo, this 28th day of August 1902, corresponding to the 28th day of the 8th month of the 35th year of Meiji." http://www.haguejusticeportal.net/index.php?id=6670
may be trying to distinguish Japanese and foreign calendars, since August = the 8th month. (This was apparently the first time Japan was treated as fully equal internationally; see Lord Ameth's post that I got this from http://forums.samurai-archives.com/viewtopic.php?p=56623) However, though it did not say "Gregorian," there was an imperial edict that altered the current calendar so that the starts of the months would always match those of the Gregorian calendar.

Q25 When was this imperial edict proclaimed?
A. 1844
B. 1872
C. 1873
D. 1898
E. 1902
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Q25 When was this imperial edict proclaimed?


I'm guessing 1872, since it came into effect in 1873.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
lordameth wrote:
I'm guessing 1872, since it came into effect in 1873.


Yep, 9th day, 11th month, to be exact. The lunar calendar was deemed "false with no factual basis, and hinders the development of human knowledge." 23 days after the decree was the day to "abolish the old calendar, adopt the solar calendar, and order the realm to obey it for eternity. Those who doubt the reasonableness of the calendar reform are surely only the illiterate and uneducated, because anyone who is used to making efforts to learn must approve of it. Therefore, this reform serves as a test to distinguish the wise from the foolish among the Japanese people throughout the country.”

Nothing like saying "If you don't agree with us, that proves how stupid you are".
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I am glad to hear from you again after my hiatus. Very Happy

Bethetsu wrote:
However, though it did not say "Gregorian," there was an imperial edict that altered the current calendar so that the starts of the months would always match those of the Gregorian calendar.

Q25 When was this imperial edict proclaimed?
A. 1844
B. 1872
C. 1873
D. 1898
E. 1902

Try reading my first post in this thread with the eyes of the calendar experts you must have become by now.Wink

(Is the quote from Fukuzawa?)
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
That's neat. Nothing like using peer pressure to enforce a change. Someone should have said that when the Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian and people were vexed at being denied the use of the adjusted period and thought robbed of that time. John
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I am afraid that the answer to Q25 is NOT 1872. To find out why, read my first post carefully.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, the 1872 edict specified that a leap year would be added EVERY four years, but as we know the Gregorian calendar adjusted that by skipping three of four leap years that are divisible by 100. I had thought the 1872 edict had specified this in the fine print, but perhaps not, since Imperial Edict 90 in 1898 laid out how leap years would be calculated. This would of course ensure that "the starts of the months would always match those of the Gregorian calendar", so maybe this is what you're looking for. If this isn't it, I don't have a clue.



Yes, the quote was from Fukuzawa Yukichi's 1873 "In Defense of The Calendar Reforms".
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Well, the 1872 edict specified that a leap year would be added EVERY four years, but as we know the Gregorian calendar adjusted that by skipping three of four leap years that are divisible by 100. I had thought the 1872 edict had specified this in the fine print, but perhaps not, since Imperial Edict 90 in 1898 laid out how leap years would be calculated. This would of course ensure that "the starts of the months would always match those of the Gregorian calendar", so maybe this is what you're looking for. If this isn't it, I don't have a clue.
Yes, that's it!
The 1872 law said have a leap year "every four years " 四年毎二一日ノ閏置キ (which is why I posted the translation)、so actually not the Gregorian calendar. Japanese scholars normally refer to this calendar change as the Meiji Calendar change 明治改暦. One usually reads in English that Japan changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1873, which is not strictly true, but unless we are thinking about the calendar carefully, as we are here, I would say calling it the Gregorian calendar is normally OK. One writer, probably wanting to be accurate without confusing his audience, referred to the calendar of the 1872 law as a "Western-style solar calendar," which I think was a great idea. (The author may also have been distinguishing it from some proposed solar calendars based on the Chinese solar year.)

As Tatsu said, Imperial Edict 90 of 1898 changed the calendar law so that March 1, 1900 and Meiji 33/3/1 would be the same day and correspond forevermore, so the 28th day of August 1902 corresponded to the 28th day of the 8th month of the 35th year of Meiji. The law uses the years since the enthronement of Jimu given in the Nihon Shoki (660 BC) as basis. (We discussed these Imperial Years here.) Year numbers evenly divisible by 4 are leap years. However, subtract 660 from this year [thus getting the AD or the "astronomical" year] and divide the result by 100. If that result is not evenly divided by 4 [as 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100] it is not a leap year. This is of course will get the same years for leap years as the Gregorian calendar. It is interesting that they use 660, while 260, etc. would do as well.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Q 26. OK! So the 1873 calendar change was not actually to the Gregorian calendar, but to a solar calendar. But of course, that was the important change. What reasons were there for changing the calendar?


Q 27 Notice the date on the 1872 edict (11/9), less than a month before changing to a completely new calendar, even after the lunar calendar for 1873 had been published on 11/1. Why were they in such a great hurry? It seems that a major reason, probably not mentioned by Fukuzawa, was to save the government money, a very important consideration at the time, on--what else?--civil servants' salaries. How could the solar calendar do this? (There is a hint in the translation at the start of the thread. Why do you think I translated it? For fun? [Well, that too.])
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q 26. OK! So the 1873 calendar change was not actually to the Gregorian calendar, but to a solar calendar. But of course, that was the important change. What reasons were there for changing the calendar?


Generally, to become standardized and in line with most of the rest of the world, particularly the west. Not including Leap Days of course, Months would be the same length from year to year, years would be the same length (no intercalary months), hours of the day and night would be the same (instead of growing or shrinking with the seasons). This would simplify commerce and contracts, particularly with foreign nations. It also was part of Japan's efforts to 'civilize' and put themselves on the same plane as Western nations.

Bethetsu wrote:
Q 27 Notice the date on the 1872 edict (11/9), less than a month before changing to a completely new calendar, even after the lunar calendar for 1873 had been published on 11/1. Why were they in such a great hurry? It seems that a major reason, probably not mentioned by Fukuzawa, was to save the government money, a very important consideration at the time, on--what else?--civil servants' salaries. How could the solar calendar do this? (There is a hint in the translation at the start of the thread. Why do you think I translated it? For fun? [Well, that too.])


Well, to be sure I'd have to know how Japanese civil servants of the time were paid. A yearly salary with periodic payments that each gave a fraction of the yearly amount? By the hour? Were they docked for missing work or getting holidays? Since you did say 'salaries' I'm assuming it's the first.

Since the lunar year was generally about 354 days and the solar 365, you'd be getting 11 extra days of work per year for the same salary. This assumes the salaries wouldn't be adjusted with the calendar change-with the lack of labor unions, I'm thinking they weren't. I think at the time government workers worked 6 of 7 days of the week, so you'd be getting 9-10 extra days for free. There'd also be a short term gain if workers weren't paid for holidays, since by skipping most of the 12th month you'd be moving up the New Years holidays and wouldn't be paying them for that.

Of course, in lunar years with intercalary months, you'd be getting an extra 30 or so days of work for every year that included one (again assuming a straight salary, and that there had been no adjustment in effect to take the intercalary into account-I'm thinking in this case there probably was). If that was the case, long term there would be no difference, just a different distribution.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Q26 What reasons were there for the calendar change?
yes, it seems you got the main ones.


Q27 (How did the calendar change affect salaries?)
Yes, they got more working time out of the salaries.
As for pay, at first salaries were determined on a yearly basis as they had been in the Edo period. In FY 1869, which started in the 10th month, they paid 1/12 each month, and in FY 1870 they paid 1/13 a month because of the int. month. But in 1873 a law was enacted that set salaries by month. It seems to have been a complete overhaul of the system, so I am not sure how it compared with the previous system. But to the extent they transferred, they probably did calculate on the basis of about 12 1/3 months per year.
So when the government realized in the middle of 1872 that they would have to pay 13 months the next year, because of the i6th month, they decided to save money by canceling the intercalary month; in the long term, lengthening the average salary month by almost a day.

Q 28 As noted in the 1872 edict, use of the solar calendar was to start on the old 12/3, which meant that the twelfth month was only two days long. As it was a month, though, civil servants should have been paid a month's salary for those two days. How did the cabinet handle this?
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q 28 As noted in the 1872 edict, use of the solar calendar was to start on the old 12/3, which meant that the twelfth month was only two days long. As it was a month, though, civil servants should have been paid a month's salary for those two days. How did the cabinet handle this?


One would assume that they passed some sort of one-time decree that only paid workers for two days-or declared them holidays and not have had to pay them at all.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Bethetsu wrote:
Q 28 As noted in the 1872 edict, use of the solar calendar was to start on the old 12/3, which meant that the twelfth month was only two days long. As it was a month, though, civil servants should have been paid a month's salary for those two days. How did the cabinet handle this?


One would assume that they passed some sort of one-time decree that only paid workers for two days-or declared them holidays and not have had to pay them at all.
They were rather more innovative than that, at least at first. On 11/23 they proclaimed an edit (no 359) that said the 11th month would have 31 days (unheard of!) instead of 29. Apparently though they thought better of it and the next day cancelled it by a public announcement (tashigaki). On 11/27 edict 374 stated that exceptionally the salaries for 12/1 and 12/2 would not be paid. They were still using a fiscal year starting in Oct.

Another calendar-related way the cabinet talked about making money was to make Sunday the day off. Before, civil servants normally had days of the month that ended in 1 and 6 off, so just under every 5th day. But in March (sic! Don't have to say 3rd month) 1876, edict 27 gave Sunday a holiday (kyuujitsu) and Saturday from 12:00 have kyuuka 休暇. However when one really calculates it out, with the half days, they had slightly more vacation. The question would be do they get more work out of them in one whole or two half days?
(the books of edicts are on line on the ndl site)

Q 28When you switch from one calendar to another, you have to decide how to treat holidays, commemorations, etc. What various ways can you think of to do this? Can you give any examples for them?
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q 28When you switch from one calendar to another, you have to decide how to treat holidays, commemorations, etc. What various ways can you think of to do this? Can you give any examples for them?


Well, one way is just to carry over the month, day format directly to Western month, day. So New Year's (first month, first day) becomes January 1st (instead of the date it would traditionally be celebrated on, usually in February).

You could also do what was suggested above-adjust all of the holidays to fall on the Western calendar date they should. So Setsubun (usually early in the first month) would now be early in February (these days the 3rd, I think).

Or you can have an 'unofficial' cultural calendar for festivals and the such that declares February to be the first month and is used for determining these events, like the 'Tsuki-okure' calendar. That way you could avoid some of the seasonal disconnect from the first method.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Bethetsu: Q 28 When you switch from one calendar to another, you have to decide how to treat holidays, commemorations, etc. What various ways can you think of to do this? Can you give any examples for them?

Well, one way is just to carry over the month, day format directly to Western month, day. So New Year's (first month, first day) becomes January 1st (instead of the date it would traditionally be celebrated on, usually in February).

Yes, when the commemoration is defined by m/d, as the 1872 law states, it is often kept with same numbers, as treating the lunar 10th day of the 7th month as July 10. This was done with many Shinto rituals, and now, at least in Tokyo, most temples use it for Buddhist festivals as O Bon (7/15) and Buddah's Birthday (4/8 ). Popular holidays as hina matsuri, shichi go san, etc., often Tanabata, etc. also use this method. Also, the Ako ronin's attack is usually considered to have been in December, leading to endless calendrical confusion. Very Happy

Quote:
You could also do what was suggested above-adjust all of the holidays to fall on the Western calendar date they should. So Setsubun (usually early in the first month) would now be early in February (these days the 3rd, I think).
The problem is, what do you mean by "the Western calendar date they should"? The only easily-definable class I can think of are those defined by the solar year, which fell on greatly differing lunar dates each year. Now, they mostly fall on the same actual day as they do under the lunar calendar, such as the solar terms sekki 節気 , setsubun 節分 which is the day before the beginning of spring 立春 sekki, higan, which is defined with relationship to the spring and fall equinoxes, the Shinto Shanichi, 社日, which is the nearest tsuchi no e 戊 day to the equinoxes, the four seasonal doyou seasons 土用, and "eel day," the day of the ox in the summer doyou. But except for those that involve cyclical days, now they just move between two Gregorian days. For example, Setsubun used to be anywhere from the middle of the 12th month till the middle of the 1st month, but as you said, it is now on Feb. 3. Half a century ago it was on the 4th in leap years, but the 400-year Gregorian cycle has changed that.

皇霊祭 Kooreisai is an imperial Shinto rite commemorating dead emperors. It was originally same day as shanichi, but in 1878 it was changed to being on the equinox days and made a national holiday. I suppose they wanted to avoid cyclic days as relating to superstitions. Also I wonder if they made it a holiday to accommodate the popular desire for a higan holiday without officially recognizing Buddhism. Now, Equinox days are legal holidays, which means a government body (The National Astronomical Observatory) has to determine the dates of the equinoxes. (I had always thought the modern Equinox holidays were legal holidays because of o-higan. I never heard about shanichi until I did calendar research for commemorations that use the cyclic stems.)


Quote:
Or you can have an 'unofficial' cultural calendar for festivals and the such that declares February to be the first month and is used for determining these events, like the 'Tsuki-okure' calendar. That way you could avoid some of the seasonal disconnect from the first method.


Yes, month postponement is used in many areas, especially for obon and tanabata, to get weather more like the original, though for the latter, sometimes city festivals move it to a weekend. The obon holiday, as opposed to a religious holiday, almost always refers to Aug 13-15, but in some areas the religious commemoration also is in August. When I was in Miyako in Iwate on Aug.1, some people were lighting fires in front of their houses. With a huge full moon staring down, my first thought was that they were using the lunar 7/15 for obon, but it was only the 6th month. I asked about it, and the lady said it was the "welcoming light" mukae-bi in preparation for obon on Aug 13th.
Perhaps the first time this month postponement was carried out was for the imperial ritual of Kannamesai (etc.) 神嘗祭 an imperial ceremony of offering rice on 9/17 . At first they transferred it to Sept. 17, but the rice was not ripe then, so they changed it to Oct. 17 in 1879.


An unusual method is for the imperial ritual the nii-name-sai 新嘗祭 which was originally the 2nd u-no-hi in the 11th month. In 1873 the 2nd u-no-hi in November was Nov. 23, and, again, apparently the government wanted to avoid cyclical days, so kept it there. It is now Labor Day.


Some days based on specific events used the western date, as Meiji's birthday (1852/9/22=Nov. 3 ), now Culture day, and death commemorations of emperors.
Does the Chiba family commemorate any deaths before 1873? how do they determine the date?
Q29 How did they determine when to celebrate the accession of Jimu?

Of course one can also keep it on the lunar calendar. This was done informally for a long time, especially in Kansai, but by 1973 the switch-over was virtually complete. In China the lunar New Year and in Korea the Lunar Buddha's birthday (4/8 ) as well are legal holidays, so in those countries there has to be a legal lunar calendar, but Japan has no lunar legal holiday, and there is now no official lunar calendar. Perhaps the nearest thing to it is the yearly calendar put out by Ise Jingu. Certainly the lunar new year is virtually ignored. In fact, the only real lunar commemoration that I hear mentioned is the 8th month full moon, lunar 8/15 meigetsu 名月. But the lunar calendar is still used for divination.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q29 How did they determine when to celebrate the accession of Jimu?


Well, at first in 1873 it was going to be January 29 (I think) as that's the 1873 conversion for the lunar day on which Jimmu was alleged to have come to power (1st month, 1st day, 660 BC). But it seems most people just celebrated it as the start of lunar new year and omitted the 'Emperor Worship' aspect. So then the Meiji government declared instead that February 11th would be National Founder's Day and that it was the Western date that corresponded to Jimmu's regnal date. It seems they never announced how they came up with February 11. I suppose it's possible they did something incredibly complex like retroactively extend the Gregorian calendar backwards and determine on what Western date 1/1/660 BC on the lunar would have fallen on, but knowing the Meiji government, it's most likely they pulled the date out of their posterior.

I'll have to ask Pops Chiba about the death thing-it's an interesting question. I know we burn incense for the ancestors on our household altar daily-we have a combined memorial tablet on the right for ancestors that To-ji did for us along with individual ones on the left for Ayame's birth mother and grandparents. Ayame also goes to To-ji and its associated shrine once a week for memorials/'wishes'. The altar at my inlaws house has a lot of memorial tablets, but I don't know if they do anything special for anyone pre-1873.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
[How did they determine when to celebrate the accession of Jimu?

It seems they never announced how they came up with February 11. I suppose it's possible they did something incredibly complex like retroactively extend the Gregorian calendar backwards and determine on what Western date 1/1/660 BC on the lunar would have fallen on, but knowing the Meiji government, it's most likely they pulled the date out of their posterior.
You are not giving them enough credit. In 1874 they published the 祭日 (death anniversaries, or the days to worship the dead) of all the emperors and Jinmu's ascession using the Gregorian calendar, properly dropping leap days when necessary.

It was interesting to hear about your tablets. Does that mean you do not have individual tablets for beyond grandparents? I am interested in hearing what your father-in-law says about early dates. For example, what about a special X00th anniversary of someone?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Does that mean you do not have individual tablets for beyond grandparents?


There are individual tablets beyond grandparents at my in-laws altar-lots of them. What we did when we set up our own altar was have ones made up and consecrated/deified for mother/grandparents, and made a list of all the other ones. We brought the list to To-ji and they made us a 'combined' memorial tablet-they basically prepare a document that lists all the names, give the list a special designation, and then make a tablet using that. Our altar is pretty small, so we wanted to keep the number of tablets down.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
OK, the main family altar has tablets for people as far back as the 800's (they're not that old, obviously, although some probably go back a few hundred years), and there are a lot of combined tablets (although the individual ones are kept nearby). Many of the more notable family members have individual ones on the altar and they do get special attention on their anniversaries. He didn't know how the dates were determined (they were passed down by his dad) so we looked at a couple of figures for whom the day/month/year for their death under the lunar calendar was handy. It looks like the dates were converted using the 'same numbers' method the Meiji government used for most days-for example, Taira Masakado was killed on 2/14/940 of the lunar calendar and his death is commemorated on February 14. When I suggested redoing them all so they fell on the Gregorian/Julian day they would have fallen on the year they happened, I was told to not mess with tradition and that since it would fall on a different Western date every year if matched with the lunar calendar and would still be wrong, we were sticking with what we had. I figured that suggesting the date be converted for every year for every person would not be received favorably and kept my mouth shut. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for checking, Tatsu. It would seem likely that most Toji parishioners use the same system, indeed that most Buddhists would --much simpler than the imperial system, especially without a bureaucracy or computer to command. I wonder when they made the switch-over from using the lunar calendar to the solar calendar. I read the lunar calendar was used longer in Western than in Eastern Japan. But this means the only commemoration that uses the lunar calendar that I have been able to confirm is the full-moon meigetsu, and of course that has to be lunar.

That is intereting about the tablet combination.
You should really rewrite the SA wiki article on the Chiba family. There is little there. according to Papinot, it disappeared from history with the destruction of the Hojo by Hideyoshi. You need to bring that up to date!
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah, just like with the destruction of the Hojo, Imagawa, Takeda (I think there were still Takeda around in the Edo period, but wouldn't swear to it), Taira, etc the Chiba really weren't wiped out-just weren't relevant anymore and disappeared from the history books. Many of them ended up going to Kyushu, others were retained by the Ii, and others settled in Edo. One day I hope to put together an English/Japanese language book with Ayame using family documents, paintings, scrolls, and such (there are some really nice unique picture scrolls and paintings)-a lot still survives, having been relocated to the countryside before Ieyasu's troops came knocking on Moto Sakura-jo. There's some nice 'bukoyawa' type of accounts, particularly involving the Hojo and Uesugi.

We don't know when they converted the dates from lunar to solar-Pops says it's been that way as long as he can remember and he was born in 1922.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
That whole "rectifying the calendar" thing is something that is a major can of worms. In scholarly books on Japan, most historians (I think) will provide both dates -- except in Japan, where historians often seem not to bother. In popular books, in the West, we'll typically use just the Japanese lunar dates.

To this day, I regret "modernizing" the dates in my Sekigahara book, and not including the Japanese calendar date, as everyone else seems to use the lunar dates, so min Gregorian dates are off by WEEKS and I look like an idiot. And it's harder to follow when using a Japanese source that uses only lunar. Sigh.

I apologize.
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