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kitsuno
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:19 pm    Post subject: Shinsengumi Quandry Reply with quote
Shikisoku and myself have been working on Shinsengumi articles for a few weeks now, but I'm stuck on one thing, and need opinions - should all shinsengumi members be considered "Samurai" regardless of birth? Or should I only tag members who were born into the class as Samurai? This question is compounded by problems such as Kondo Isami who was not born a samurai, but made a direct vassal of the Shogun in 1867, along with numerous others. Or should I create a new category altogether called "Shinsengumi Members", so even if they weren't samurai, they would still be included in a biographical category?
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Baian
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Within the Shinsengumi, there was also doctors I believe. So in that case, I think creating a Shinsengumi "group" would be good.

About people like Kondo, I tend to consider anyone who fought on the battlefield or held a sword, worthy of being in the samurai section.
It's more about Bushi than Samurai in my opinion. (if allowed to play on words)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Baian wrote:
Within the Shinsengumi, there was also doctors I believe. So in that case, I think creating a Shinsengumi "group" would be good.

About people like Kondo, I tend to consider anyone who fought on the battlefield or held a sword, worthy of being in the samurai section.
It's more about Bushi than Samurai in my opinion. (if allowed to play on words)
In Japanese terms, a bushi is a member of the buke class. However, in the vast majority of cases, a bushi is someone born into the buke class. A commoner who fights on the battlefield may have fought bravely, but being a bushi (at least during the Edo and Bakumatsu periods) involves being born a bushi, not necessarily fighting bravely.

Kondo seems to be an exception to the rule that a bushi must be born a bushi. If the Shogun declared that he was the Shogun's direct retainer, then what the Shogun said would go -- at least until the overthrow of the Shogunate.
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The social ranks in Japan were so changeable.
Wealthy farmers or merchants could buy samurai rank.
And samurai can return to farmer which is called Kinou(帰農).
Sometimes samurai who committed a serious crime were put in Hinin class which was the lowest.

As for the Shinsengumi members. whatever they were born as, Bakufu treated them as Ronin in the begining and officialy hired to be Bakufu's direct vassels later so they should be considered samurai.
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kitsuno
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
shikisoku wrote:
The social ranks in Japan were so changeable.
Wealthy farmers or merchants could buy samurai rank.
And samurai can return to farmer which is called Kinou(帰農).
Sometimes samurai who committed a serious crime were put in Hinin class which was the lowest.

As for the Shinsengumi members. whatever they were born as, Bakufu treated them as Ronin in the begining and officialy hired to be Bakufu's direct vassels later so they should be considered samurai.


I've recently been learning that near the end of the edo period, the class system began to break down - people could buy into the Samurai class, and things like that. As for the Shinsengumi - would you say that members who died before the Bakushin Toritate should still be considered Samurai? Or, since they were more or less "Ronin", that is the equivalent of "Samurai" anyway. If you think so, I'll add any to the category that I left out.
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Baian
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave Tossed wrote:
Baian wrote:
Within the Shinsengumi, there was also doctors I believe. So in that case, I think creating a Shinsengumi "group" would be good.

About people like Kondo, I tend to consider anyone who fought on the battlefield or held a sword, worthy of being in the samurai section.
It's more about Bushi than Samurai in my opinion. (if allowed to play on words)
In Japanese terms, a bushi is a member of the buke class. However, in the vast majority of cases, a bushi is someone born into the buke class. A commoner who fights on the battlefield may have fought bravely, but being a bushi (at least during the Edo and Bakumatsu periods) involves being born a bushi, not necessarily fighting bravely.

Kondo seems to be an exception to the rule that a bushi must be born a bushi. If the Shogun declared that he was the Shogun's direct retainer, then what the Shogun said would go -- at least until the overthrow of the Shogunate.


By "Bushi", I wasn't refering to the Buke class, but to the warrior persona.
Anyway, like Shikoku said, you could always buy your status if it came to that.

And by "samurai section", I meant the one in the wiki.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
As Kitsuno noted, it looks like that during the late Edo/Bakumatsu period, the class system was breaking down. Farmers/merchants could marry/buy their way into the buke class. And as Shikishoku noted, I gather that, at least during the later Edo/Bakumatsu periods, those in the bushi class could decide to become members of lower classes i.e. "kinou." I'd be curious to know how exactly did this downward mobility happen? Would a bushi go to a government bureau and have papers drawn up, describing him as a "kinou" i.e. bushi-turned-farmer?

We're discussing this subject of class mobility in the Edo period forum.

At any rate, when it comes to the Shinsengumi, it's probably safe to accept that anyone officially in the Shinsengumi would qualify as a "bushi."
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 3:34 am    Post subject: Agree with Shikisoku-san Reply with quote
shikisoku wrote:
As for the Shinsengumi members. whatever they were born as, Bakufu treated them as Ronin in the begining and officialy hired to be Bakufu's direct vassels later so they should be considered samurai.


Shikisoku-san pretty much hit the nail on the head. I even remember hearing or reading somewhere about merchants arranging to have a male child adopted by samurai families if they couldn't buy samurai status out-right. Anyway, if a ronin or other combatant was a member of the Shinsengumi and carried two swords, they should be and deserve to be classified as samurai. Doctors and other non-combatants should perhaps be defined not as Shinsengumi members but as non-combatant civilians employed by the Shinsengumi.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 5:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Agree with Shikisoku-san Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Anyway, if a ronin or other combatant was a member of the Shinsengumi and carried two swords, they should be and deserve to be classified as samurai.
Forgive me for asking what might be an incredibly stupid question. I'm no expert on the Shinsengumi. But weren't the Shinsengumi direct retainers of the Shogun? So how could any of them be "ronin," even if they had been ronin before they joined the Shinsengumi? Confused
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kitsuno
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 5:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Agree with Shikisoku-san Reply with quote
Wave Tossed wrote:
Forgive me for asking what might be an incredibly stupid question. I'm no expert on the Shinsengumi. But weren't the Shinsengumi direct retainers of the Shogun? So how could any of them be "ronin," even if they had been ronin before they joined the Shinsengumi? Confused


Well, there's two things - first, they weren't made retainers immediately, and second, only a percentage of them were made retainers of the Shogun. Not sure if that answers your question.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Agree with Shikisoku-san Reply with quote
Wave Tossed wrote:
I'm no expert on the Shinsengumi. But weren't the Shinsengumi direct retainers of the Shogun? So how could any of them be "ronin," even if they had been ronin before they joined the Shinsengumi? Confused


I'm not an expert either on the exact timing that they became direct retainers of the Shogun, so I went to www.shinsengumihq and found out the following info from their website (I'm paraphrasing things with minor editing here):
- In 1862 the Tokugawa Bakufu recruited ronin to go after the pro-imperial ronin. An amnesty was proclaimed and even criminals were free to join the newly formed Roshitai.

- early 1863, Roshitai splits up, Bakufu loyalists who stay on in Kyoto eventually go through a few more name changes until it becomes Shinsengumi.

-June 1867, all Shinsengumi members are granted hatamoto (banner man) status by Tokugawa Yoshinobu, which means they became direct retainers of the shogun. Kondo was granted direct access to the shogun.

-So, the Shinsengumi didn't become direct retainers of the Shogun until they were all ready knee-deep into their propensity to kill Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Agree with Shikisoku-san Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:


-June 1867, all Shinsengumi members are granted hatamoto (banner man) status by Tokugawa Yoshinobu, which means they became direct retainers of the shogun. Kondo was granted direct access to the shogun.


My source states that only 105, including Kondo Isami, were given this status boost. Unless, of course, there were only 105 left at this point.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Agree with Shikisoku-san Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
I'm not an expert either on the exact timing that they became direct retainers of the Shogun, so I went to www.shinsengumihq and found out the following info from their website (I'm paraphrasing things with minor editing here):
- In 1862 the Tokugawa Bakufu recruited ronin to go after the pro-imperial ronin. An amnesty was proclaimed and even criminals were free to join the newly formed Roshitai.

- early 1863, Roshitai splits up, Bakufu loyalists who stay on in Kyoto eventually go through a few more name changes until it becomes Shinsengumi.

-June 1867, all Shinsengumi members are granted hatamoto (banner man) status by Tokugawa Yoshinobu, which means they became direct retainers of the shogun. Kondo was granted direct access to the shogun.

-So, the Shinsengumi didn't become direct retainers of the Shogun until they were all ready knee-deep into their propensity to kill Rolling Eyes
I knew that sooner or later, the Shinsegumi stopped being ronin. In fact, somewhere along the line (I have read) they became "ronin-hunters." I once read, in Hillsborough's book on Sakamoto Ryoma, about an interesting encounter that Sakamoto (a ronin) had with some of these "ronin-hunters."
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
They were basically given license to kill anyone they wanted, but I think techinically it meant vagabonds who didn't look like they should be where they were.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
All this talk about Shinsengumi...what about Sannen B-gumi? MUCH more interesting...Kinpachi-Sensei is the man!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
All this talk about Shinsengumi...what about Sannen B-gumi? MUCH more interesting...Kinpachi-Sensei is the man!


I've heard tales of the Yochien Momo-Gumi - watch your back!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
ltdomer98 wrote:
All this talk about Shinsengumi...what about Sannen B-gumi? MUCH more interesting...Kinpachi-Sensei is the man!


I've heard tales of the Yochien Momo-Gumi - watch your back!


How about the Shinsangumi? (wise Shogun Yoshimune's cronies at the Megumi fire house)Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:44 am    Post subject: Re: Agree with Shikisoku-san Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:

My source states that only 105, including Kondo Isami, were given this status boost. Unless, of course, there were only 105 left at this point.


I believe it was 10 or so who refused hatamoto status and then wanted to leave the group which sparked another round of internal blood letting (there goes that propensity to kill "thing" again...) Beating a dead horse But if 105 did indeed become direct retainers, this sounds about right- in terms of the actual number of Shinsengumi members for that particular time. Maybe we can try to verify this during next month's study group.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I found the list of "Shinsengumi Bakushin Toritate members" on Bakumatsushi Kenkyu #39 issue.
It is copy of letter from Itakura Iga-no kami to Inoue Kouchi-no kami, Inaba Mino-no kami, Matsudaira Suo-no kami, Ogasawara Iki-no kami. Dated June 23, 1867.
According to the letter, there were only 99 members.

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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I just missed last 6 members.
So there were 105 members.
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