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10. What would cause a ronin to join the Shinsengumi...

 
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rikoseishin
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 6:58 pm    Post subject: 10. What would cause a ronin to join the Shinsengumi... Reply with quote
Well there are several reasons, and points of vie that can be taken with this question. YOu could say that they wanted to uphold the old ideas that the Tokugawa was. Maybe they saw that it would be a way to gain fame from bein one of the elite shinsengumi. Or perhaps it was because they were just against the other faction due to there own ideas.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It seems that a lot of anti-tokugawa ronin joined the Roshigumi under Kiyokawa Hachiro, so "pro-tokugawa" might not be it. Although there were han that were loyal to the Tokuawa because they prospered under them, unlike Tosa.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It might also be that many of the ronin thought it beat being the target in a game of 'whack-a-samurai' at the local shrine festival as far as earning a living went.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Financial reason.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
shikisoku wrote:
Financial reason.


I'm sure it paid better than Tosa han.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
shikisoku wrote:
Financial reason.


I'm sure it paid better than Tosa han.
Or making umbrellas for a living. Confused
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:04 am    Post subject: Ronin Reply with quote
Money ,place to live regular meals ,it got a bit tiresome as many of the Shishi were not fuinded by their ex clans ,also disallusionment ,several Choshu men got the inhabitants of the Yamato district (Read Iga -Koga )to rise up than took off once the bakafu showed up to crush the rebellion ,or Tengu To many ronin went up to Tsukuba only to find not Sonno Joi but a Mito civil war and they felt betrayed case in point Ito Kashitaro .
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Are there any records of individuals' reasons for joining? It would help to know more about the shinsengumi as real people, probably each with very different motivations. I think that when historical paradigms are changing rapidly as in the bakumatsu individuals cling to the traditional. So they were probably dealing with their own sense of disorientation and loss by blindly upholding the existing political system and reinforcing their sense of self by calling this 'loyalty'.

Someone wrote in another thread that the Choshu figures were not bushi but politicians. Of course Ito, Inoue, Yamagata, Katsura etc were bushi in that they were all from the samurai class, and went to study sword fighting in Edo etc etc, but they were politicians in that they showed an unusual ability to adapt which the shinsengumi don't show.


Last edited by heron on Thu Feb 15, 2007 9:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
Are there any records of individuals' reasons for joining? It would help to know more about the shinsengumi as real people, probably each with very different motivations. I think that when historical paradigms are changing rapidly as in the bakumatsu individuals cling to the traditional. So they were probably dealing with their own sense of disorientation and loss by blindly upholding the existing political system and reinforcing their sense of self by calling this 'loyalty'.

Someone wrote in another thread that the Choshu figures were not bushi but politicians. Of course Ito, Inoue, Yamagata, Katsura etc were bushi in that they were all from the samurai class, and went to study sword fighting in Tokyo etc etc, but they were politicians in that they showed an unusual ability to adapt which the shinsengumi don't show.


If you read through most of the 85 or so Shinsengumi biographies on the Wiki, it seems that for most of them (at least the ones I got out of the Zentaishi Tettei guide) it doesn't give reasons, just when they joined. Ironic, since "tettei" means "complete" Just Kidding
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I don't know, I feel as if they've been robbed of their individuality and turned into symbols of something that to me is not very attractive. A kind of old-fashioned masculinity ("sadistic and narcissistic", as Beatrice Bodart-Bailey described the samurai class of the 18th century in The Dog Shogun.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
I don't know, I feel as if they've been robbed of their individuality and turned into symbols of something that to me is not very attractive. A kind of old-fashioned masculinity ("sadistic and narcissistic", as Beatrice Bodart-Bailey described the samurai class of the 18th century in The Dog Shogun.


I'd be willing to bet that the majority never really discussed "why". In "When the Last Sword is Drawn" the main character joined up for the money to support his family - the character is pure fiction though, of course.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah, I think I'm being too modern, wanting everyone to have reasons and back story.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
Yeah, I think I'm being too modern, wanting everyone to have reasons and back story.


Everyone had reasons and backstory, of course! Just Kidding It's too bad that for the most part, either they were killed before they "told thier story", or they just kept it to themselves. It's all lost to history, although there were a few that survived and published thier memoirs. I recently bought a book that compiles Shimada Kai's and Nagakura Shinpachi's memoirs. I'm doing too many other things right now to read it, but I've browsed it, and it is pretty interesting.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It depends on when they joined.

1.Members who joined the Roshigumi
-Financial reason.
Bakufu announced they would pay 50 Ryo each which was big money for Ronin who were always poor.

-Samurai wannabes.
The Roshigumi didn't limit social ranks.

-Ideology.
尽忠報国 "Jinchu Hokoku" (means like patriotism) and "Sonno Joi".
http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Sonno


2.Members who joined after the Ikedaya.
- Ambitions.
The Ikedaya Affair made the Shinsengumi famous.


3.Members who joined after the battle of Toba-Fushimi.
- Loyalty.
Most of them were samurai from the han which were targetted as "Enemy of Emperor" by Sat-Cho.

And there were spies from Sat-Cho.
What unusual about the Shinsengumi was they were getting paid in cash.
That really attracted Ronin.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think Shikisoku nailed for all the right reasons. In my opinion, he's got it right! Clap clap

For that, he deserves a reward of at least a few ryo...Kitsuno, time to open up the bakufu treasury and pay some virtual koban...Hey! There is a good idea! You should mint some virtual koban that people can use as credits towards buying new avatars, SA goods, or out of Tony or Domer's dog-house points!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
.
Someone wrote in another thread that the Choshu figures were not bushi but politicians. Of course Ito, Inoue, Yamagata, Katsura etc were bushi in that they were all from the samurai class, and went to study sword fighting in Edo etc etc, but they were politicians in that they showed an unusual ability to adapt which the shinsengumi don't show.


The Shinsengumi were part of the enforcement arm of the Bakufu, not part of the policy makers. They pretty much did what their employers told them to (whether it was as Matsudaira employees or Shogunal retainers). Their opponents, the 'a-sordid' thugs and ronin sent out by the policy makers of the Choshu, Satsuma, and Tosa han, were exactly the same as the Shinsengumi in that regard-puppets for the puppet masters, with heads filled full of crap about loyalty and the justness of fighting for whatever the guys in charge thought would work at the moment. The Bakufu policy makers showed a lot of ability to adapt, changing their approaches to the problems at hand as circumstances warranted. Unfortunatley, the Loyalists were just as good at adapting and doing all they could to ensure the Bakufu's approaches didn't succeed.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for clarifying this for me.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Their opponents, the 'a-sordid' thugs and ronin sent out by the policy makers of the Choshu, Satsuma, and Tosa han, were exactly the same as the Shinsengumi in that regard-puppets for the puppet masters, with heads filled full of crap about loyalty and the justness of fighting for whatever the guys in charge thought would work at the moment. .


I've been thinking about this for the last couple of days. I think your comment is a little simplistic - please don't be offended. Of course some men of both sides would have been blindly following leaders who filled their heads with slogans. But the article by Totman: From Sakoku to Kaikoku suggests that the situation in Kyoto was more complex than that. He says, (p13) "The deep and widespread concern about the Kinai has not been properly investigated but its pervasiveness suggests its importance. It cut across all political lines, involving people at all levels of the samurai class as well as many of lesser status, and including people throughout all the polity whether members of the bakufu, fudai, shinpan, or tozama houses..." I think this and the following paragraphs are very enlightening.

(Anne Walthall gives the story of a very independent and strong-minded peasant woman, Matsuo Taseko, who went to Kyoto to serve the Emperor: The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Chicago 1998. It's worth reading this for background to the situation in the city at the time)

To return to Craig (Choshu in the Meiji Restoration p223 et seq), opinion in Choshu in 1864 was divided over military action in Kyoto, and not in the way that might have been expected. It was opposed by the most important bureaucrat to this point, Sufu Masanosuke, and also by Takasugi and Katsura. The extremists who carried the day included Kijima Matabei and Kusaka Genzui who both wanted action for action's sake (one of the teachings of Yoshida Shoin), and who both died in the kinmon no hen.

So the leadership in the han was constantly fluctuating between conservatives, moderates, loyalists and extremists, with all the greater changes in belief and ideology that Totman describes so well going on at the same time. And sometimes it seems that everyone wanted the same thing, just no one knew how to achieve it. It's hard to know exactly who these faceless puppet masters you talk about were.

Obviously the authorities could not ignore the explosive situation in Kyoto and had to police the city more forcefully, hence the need for the shinsengumi.

I am really enjoying these discussions and learning so much from the group. Thanks to everyone.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
(Anne Walthall gives the story of a very independent and strong-minded peasant woman, Matsuo Taseko, who went to Kyoto to serve the Emperor: The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Chicago 1998. It's worth reading this for background to the situation in the city at the time)
Is there a link to this article?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's a book:
http://www.amazon.com/Weak-Body-Useless-Woman-Restoration/dp/0226872351/
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:

I've been thinking about this for the last couple of days. I think your comment is a little simplistic - please don't be offended.


Not at all! Smile. You have excellent points.

heron wrote:
Of course some men of both sides would have been blindly following leaders who filled their heads with slogans. But the article by Totman: From Sakoku to Kaikoku suggests that the situation in Kyoto was more complex than that.


I was mainly speaking of the enforcement arms-the men who were out in the streets carrying out assassinations, raids, etc, for both sides. Obviously, for these men to be trusted by the higher ups, they had to be big on blindly carrying out orders-people from the Shinsengumi (and the various Loyalist groups as well) who went against the orders and philosophies of those on high (some even breaking off from the group) found themselves with a severly reduced life expectentcy courtesy of their former comrades.

heron wrote:

To return to Craig (Choshu in the Meiji Restoration p223 et seq), opinion in Choshu in 1864 was divided over military action in Kyoto, and not in the way that might have been expected. It was opposed by the most important bureaucrat to this point, Sufu Masanosuke, and also by Takasugi and Katsura. The extremists who carried the day included Kijima Matabei and Kusaka Genzui who both wanted action for action's sake (one of the teachings of Yoshida Shoin), and who both died in the kinmon no hen.

So the leadership in the han was constantly fluctuating between conservatives, moderates, loyalists and extremists, with all the greater changes in belief and ideology that Totman describes so well going on at the same time. And sometimes it seems that everyone wanted the same thing, just no one knew how to achieve it. It's hard to know exactly who these faceless puppet masters you talk about were.


Not sure where the faceless thing comes from, since I never implied that. But certainly the policy-making leadership of Choshu, Tosa, Satsuma, Aizu, Mito, and the Bakufu all proved to have plenty of internal clashes (with many individuals switching factions) and all proved to be very adaptable (as I pointed out in my original post) in their approaches and solutions to situations that changed very rapidly. However, the enforcement arms tended to blindly carry out whatever policy was being followed by their respective leaders at the time. Hence, you have Loyalists (Satsuma) who switched from 'Revere The Emperor-Expel The Barbarians' to 'Union Of Emperor and Bakufu' to 'Revere The Emperor-Destory The Bakufu' (with likely a lot of smaller changes in between). Throughout it, their 'enforcement' troops happily went along with whatever they were told. Was it because they didn't really care as long as they were paid? Because even if they had issues, they had faith in the abilities of their leaders? Because they didn't feel like being executed by their pals? And of course, it might be what they agreed with anyway. Probably a little of everything. My feelings on the matter is that for most of the sides involved (Loyalist and Bakufu), it really boiled down to them taking (or keeping) control of the government and any policy that resulted in that worked for them. To be sure, there were visionaries, but as usually happens they tended to get themselves killed or ostracized by the power-mongers.


heron wrote:

I am really enjoying these discussions and learning so much from the group. Thanks to everyone.


Me too. I never thought I would find this era to be half as fascinating as it has proved to be for me. Nagaeyari's and Kitsuno's brainchild (the study group) has really hit the mark with me, and kudos to them.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Not sure where the faceless thing comes from, since I never implied that.


Perhaps I should have said 'nameless', which is what I meant.
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