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Is a sandal-bearer also an errand boy?

 
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hashiba_hideyoshi
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:14 am    Post subject: Is a sandal-bearer also an errand boy? Reply with quote
So, in this video the guy mentioned that a sandal-bearer actually does other things besides carrying around sandals, but he doesn't say where he got that from. Is that true?

I mean, he wasn't clear about what exactly are "the other stuff" that sandal-bearers do either. Do they sweep floors when they don't carry sandals or something?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: Is a sandal-bearer also an errand boy? Reply with quote
hashiba_hideyoshi wrote:
So, in this video the guy mentioned that a sandal-bearer actually does other things besides carrying around sandals, but he doesn't say where he got that from. Is that true?

I mean, he wasn't clear about what exactly are "the other stuff" that sandal-bearers do either. Do they sweep floors when they don't carry sandals or something?


My view is really does not matter what Hideyoshi's other duties were doing the day other than get Nobunaga's sandles ready when he went out for a ride.. as well as cleaned them afterwards.. The main point is Hideyoshi rose from the lowest rank to then become the Regent/ruler of all of Japan.. This points to Hideyoshi's skills to accomplish this as well as Nobunaga's disregard to hereditary titles, but focus on finding those who are skilled to help him in his quest for power. Who really cares during his role as sandal bearer if he washed floors, cleaned up the horse stall, or even wiped Nobunaga's &^% when he took a dump, the main point is he found a way to catch Nobunga's attention that he continued to get more duties in which he shined well in the eyes of Nobunaga.. (and probably to the disdain of many of the other of Nobunaga's vassals)

Hideyoshi's story remains one of the great one in Japan's history.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
And yet, it /does/ matter, because Hideyoshi was not the only sandal-bearer in samurai history, and for a fuller understanding of samurai hierarchies and logistical activities, we need to understand these things too.

In my own research, I've discovered recently that during the Tokugawa period, even the highest-ranking daimyo (especially the highest-ranking daimyo) were severely limited in the number of followers they could bring with them into Edo castle - sandal-bearers and palanquin-bearers were among the only ones who could accompany a daimyo past the Ôtemon.

So, that's something... who were these sandal-bearers? What tasks did they do? It may be menial details, but, don't we care to know?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Sandal bearer was not a menial position-you hear that Hideyoshi rose from being a 'mere sandal bearer' to greatness, but a sandal bearer was actually a very coveted position for a retainer. They basically were an all purpose adjutant-aiding the daimyo in whatever he needed from carrying messages on the battlefield, fighting with the bodyguard if needed, seeing to the damiyo's comfort, and any number of similar duties. You didn't become a sandal bearer unless you were highly trusted and (presumably) your skills in other areas caught the notice of the daimyo.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Sandal bearer was not a menial position-you hear that Hideyoshi rose from being a 'mere sandal bearer' to greatness, but a sandal bearer was actually a very coveted position for a retainer. They basically were an all purpose adjutant-aiding the daimyo in whatever he needed from carrying messages on the battlefield, fighting with the bodyguard if needed, seeing to the damiyo's comfort, and any number of similar duties. You didn't become a sandal bearer unless you were highly trusted and (presumably) your skills in other areas caught the notice of the daimyo.


This, essentially. Sort of like being part of the King's Privy Chamber in England--sure, you did "menial" tasks, but you were doing them in the Royal presence, and for His Royal Majesty. You were somebody.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
lordameth wrote:
And yet, it /does/ matter, because Hideyoshi was not the only sandal-bearer in samurai history, and for a fuller understanding of samurai hierarchies and logistical activities, we need to understand these things too.


Precisely! The dude in the video happened to mention sandal bearers in Hideyoshi's context, but I wanted to ask about their roles or duties in general because I want to understand how stuff work in that time. I wasn't trying to ask about Hideyoshi.

Tatsunoshi wrote:
Sandal bearer was not a menial position-you hear that Hideyoshi rose from being a 'mere sandal bearer' to greatness, but a sandal bearer was actually a very coveted position for a retainer. They basically were an all purpose adjutant-aiding the daimyo in whatever he needed from carrying messages on the battlefield, fighting with the bodyguard if needed, seeing to the damiyo's comfort, and any number of similar duties. You didn't become a sandal bearer unless you were highly trusted and (presumably) your skills in other areas caught the notice of the daimyo.


Ah. Thanks, man! The only thing I managed to find about sandal bearers was that the imperial ones wears a specific formal uniform of sorts. It didn't really help me. Googling "sandal bearers" only turns up Hideyoshi wiki pages and whatnot.

So how do a sandal-bearer's duty differ from pages/valets? I don't know what a page/valet's job list is either, actually, but at some point in the Shinchoukoki it was said that Nobunaga sent Ranmaru asa amessenger to somewhere so I kind of assumed messenger duty is a page/valet's duty... No?

If anyone could suggest good sources for these kind of stuff it would be cool too. I feel like I should be able to look it up on my own, but I jsut dunno where to start looking.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The fact a sandal bearer comes into direct contact with a Daimyo lord means the person has to be trusted... I would be more interested in how/what exactly Hideyoshi do to get Nobunaga's attention... (various depictions of Hideyoshi in tree, falling down in front of Nobunaga, and him coming up with name Saru for that incident)
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
mktanaka wrote:
The fact a sandal bearer comes into direct contact with a Daimyo lord means the person has to be trusted... I would be more interested in how/what exactly Hideyoshi do to get Nobunaga's attention... (various depictions of Hideyoshi in tree, falling down in front of Nobunaga, and him coming up with name Saru for that incident)


You would be, because your focus is on Hideyoshi. For someone who is trying to reconstruct more general social structures, it doesn't matter who the sandal bearer or the daimyo is.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
mktanaka wrote:
The fact a sandal bearer comes into direct contact with a Daimyo lord means the person has to be trusted... I would be more interested in how/what exactly Hideyoshi do to get Nobunaga's attention... (various depictions of Hideyoshi in tree, falling down in front of Nobunaga, and him coming up with name Saru for that incident)


I think you're borderline hijacking the thread and derailing the discussion here Shocked

Just because my username is hashiba_hideyoshi and the dude in the video in my first post was talking about sandal bearers in Hideyoshi's context doesn't mean that I'm asking about him in particular.

But that aside... I saw Stephen Turnbull saying that the sandal bearer also carries out duties "equivalent to an officer's batman", and according to the Wiki entry for that, this kind of post also involves being a valet.

So again, how is a sandal-bearer's job different from the pages? [/i]


Last edited by hashiba_hideyoshi on Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, for starters, a sandal bearer likely wouldn't have been part of that whole shudo thing that pages usually were. And pages would have very basic, simple duties-carrying a daimyo's sword or helmet, helping them dress, announcing them, etc. What a sandal bearer would be doing would often be much more involved (relaying complex instructions, making arrangements for the daimyo and his close vassals, overseeing servants-including the pages, even doing diplomatic work as an envoy-all sorts of things). Many of the more basic duties would overlap, a sandal bearer can be thought of as just an extremely advanced page. In "Seven Samurai", Shichiroji is Kanbei's sandal bearer (although in this case Kanbei is obviously not a daimyo-you didn't have to be a daimyo to have a sandal bearer).
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
H H,

I have no intention of trying to hijack this thread on purpose, (maybe inadvertently). My apologies on that.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Well, for starters, a sandal bearer likely wouldn't have been part of that whole shudo thing that pages usually were. And pages would have very basic, simple duties-carrying a daimyo's sword or helmet, helping them dress, announcing them, etc. What a sandal bearer would be doing would often be much more involved (relaying complex instructions, making arrangements for the daimyo and his close vassals, overseeing servants-including the pages, even doing diplomatic work as an envoy-all sorts of things). Many of the more basic duties would overlap, a sandal bearer can be thought of as just an extremely advanced page. In "Seven Samurai", Shichiroji is Kanbei's sandal bearer (although in this case Kanbei is obviously not a daimyo-you didn't have to be a daimyo to have a sandal bearer).


I've never actually watched Seven Samurai, but I'll keep that in mind if I ever watch it in the future. So sandal-bearers and pages also go out to battle, right? It's not like they just sit in the mansion/castle like house-servants?

On the subject of shudo, though. This obviously doesn't count as shudo, but in "Cartographies of Desire: Male-male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950" book, it seems like sometimes the sandal-bearer are expected to provide sexual services, but this was in the mid 1600s. The male/male sexual activity becomes more widespread in Edo era, so is this a later development of the role or has it been like this since the Sengoku (or earlier)?

Do you have any suggestion on what I should be reading if I want to find out about the duties of certain retainers or the like? I kind of feel stupid asking about stuff like this all the time Crying or Very sad

mktanaka wrote:
H H,

I have no intention of trying to hijack this thread on purpose, (maybe inadvertently). My apologies on that.


Ahaha, it's fine. I knew you didn't mean it Smile It's just that the pointed questions about Hideyoshi might be better discussed on a thread on its own because he was a very special case Confused I've heard all sorts of allegations/rumours/stories about the guy myself, so putting all the questions in a separate thread would be more helpful for other people down the line.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
hashiba_hideyoshi wrote:


I've never actually watched Seven Samurai...



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
What? Just Kidding

Gimme a break, man. I wasn't THAT interested in learning about Japanese history before 2013, and I haven't had the chance to try to find it since.

Besides, Shinchoukoki, Japonius Tyrannus, and Berry's Hideyoshi made me broke.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
hashiba_hideyoshi wrote:
So sandal-bearers and pages also go out to battle, right? It's not like they just sit in the mansion/castle like house-servants?


Yep, they went where the daimyo went-battlefield, mansion, Honno-ji.

hashiba_hideyoshi wrote:
On the subject of shudo, though. This obviously doesn't count as shudo, but in "Cartographies of Desire: Male-male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950" book, it seems like sometimes the sandal-bearer are expected to provide sexual services, but this was in the mid 1600s. The male/male sexual activity becomes more widespread in Edo era, so is this a later development of the role or has it been like this since the Sengoku (or earlier)?


Sure, that's why I stuck 'likely' in there. While shudo was usually foistered on pages and younger vassals, if your lord decided you were looking pretty fine in that brown kimono, shudo was in your future (whether sandal bearer or strategist) if you wanted to keep your position (so to speak). It was probably even more common in the Sengoku than in the Edo period because of all the time spent on the battlefield away from women.

hashiba_hideyoshi wrote:
Do you have any suggestion on what I should be reading if I want to find out about the duties of certain retainers or the like? I kind of feel stupid asking about stuff like this all the time Crying or Very sad


That's the problem for stuff like this-there aren't any books that concentrate on it in detail, and you just pick up bits here and there while researching other things. In the Chiba records there are several lists of retainer positions over a period of a few centuries along with their titles and duties (which of course changed over time) that I'll probably publish in my "Chiba Omnibus" eventually. Turnbull put out a pretty decent small book, "Hatamoto: Samurai Horse and Foot Guards 1540-1724" that has a lot of examples of how daimyo organized their hierarchy and what the different levels did. Pretty basic Osprey fare but a good intro. You can get a copy for around $6 and use the money you save to get a $3.25 copy of "Seven Samurai" on eBay. Wink
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