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Tsushima no Kami
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 6:30 pm    Post subject: Filial Piety and Loyalty in Tokugawa Confucianism Reply with quote
From the China-Japan journal whose site was given out very helpfully by Nagaeyari in the Samurai History forum:

http://chinajapan.org/articles/15/ng15.99-107.pdf

This is a very interesting article by Wa-Ming-Ng from the Chinese University in Hong Kong. The basic premise is that Nakae Toju, a founder of the Wang-Yan-Ming school of Confucianism in Japan had a conflict between loyalty to his lord and filial piety to his mother. Nakae abandoned his samurai post with the Ozu fief in Shokuku in order to return to his native village to take care of his aging mother. He remonstrated more than once with his lord to be able to go to his home and take care of his mother, but was denied. So as a last resort, he left his clan on his own. He gave up his samurai status and became a commoner (not a ronin) and ended up in trading and business to support his mother. In the process, it was written and told that Nakae was a disloyal and disgraced person.

Read the article. It's very interesting. Among other things, the article seems to answer some earlier questions about changing classes, particularly members of the buke class changing their status to commoners. More importantly, the article discusses aspects of Tokugawa Confucianism and what it meant.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've just started reading, but I must say that it alarmed me a little to see the articles description of the Hagakure as the "Bible of samurai".

Still, pretty interesting so far.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
AngusH wrote:
I've just started reading, but I must say that it alarmed me a little to see the articles description of the Hagakure as the "Bible of samurai".

Still, pretty interesting so far.
Yep, I had some real issues with "Hagakure" being described as a "Bible of the samurai." Confused Still as an article describing historical/philosophical issues, it's quite interesting.

Please, you DON'T want to get me started on "Hagakure". Evil or Very Mad
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I know you said, don't get me started on the Hagakure, but can you tell me what influence the Hagakure had on the samurai class during the Edo period? Both this article and Bodart-Bailey seem to indicate that the book was widely read and its precepts followed.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
I know you said, don't get me started on the Hagakure, but can you tell me what influence the Hagakure had on the samurai class during the Edo period? Both this article and Bodart-Bailey seem to indicate that the book was widely read and its precepts followed.
I hate to say it but both Wa-Ming-Ng and Bodart-Bailey are incorrect. Here is a Wikipedia article on Hagakure. Yes, I know that Wikipedia is not always a reliable source. However, the article agrees with all other information I've read on Hagakure. I have both William Scott Wilson's translation of Hagakure and Mishima Yukio's commentary on Hagakure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagakure
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Hagakure (Kyūjitai: 葉隱; Shinjitai: 葉隠; meaning In the Shadow of Leaves), or Hagakure Kikigaki (葉隠聞書) is a practical and spiritual guide for a warrior, drawn from a collection of commentaries by the samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo, former retainer to Nabeshima Mitsushige, the third ruler of what is now the Saga prefecture in Japan. Tashiro Tsuramoto compiled these commentaries from his conversations with Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716; however, it was not published until many years afterwards. Hagakure is also known as the Analects of Nabeshima or the Hagakure Analects.

The book records Tsunetomo's views on bushido, the warrior code of the samurai. Hagakure is sometimes said to assert that bushido is really the "Way of Dying" or living as though one was already dead, and that a samurai retainer must be willing to die at any moment in order to be true to his lord. This is a misreading of the following statement, "武士道と云ふは死ぬ事と見つけたり (The way of the samurai is found in death)". Actually, it tells that a samurai must always think of the death of himself to do things well. That means a man is more careful in the situation that he may be killed in the war.

Hagakure was not widely known during the decades following Tsunetomo's death. However, it received wider circulation at the start of the 20th century, and by the 1930s had become one of the most famous representatives of bushido thought in Japan. Hagakure remains popular among many non-Japanese who are interested in samurai culture. It is also frequently referred to as The Book of the Samurai and was featured prominently in the 1999 Jim Jarmusch film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
Now you've gotten me started on Hagakure. Confused Evil or Very Mad

Hagakure was actually intended as a private document that Yamamoto wrote for this students and followers within his clan. It wasn't meant for wider disemination. However, as you can see, after Yamamoto's death, somehow the document became more widespread. It didn't become popular until the 20th century.

So what's my beef with Hagakure?? Here we have a samurai who had never once fought in battle, never faced death or privation. And yet he goes out to criticize others -- including those who actually knew all about facing death.

Hagakure does have a value as an example of how a frustrated Edo-period samurai would feel in an era of peace. However, I'm afraid that Hagakure lacks credibility as a "guide to bushido" or as a "manual for samurai behavior."

Of course there is the issue of Yamamoto being a total misogynist. But, even though he was more misogynist than most -- still, that might be excused as he lived in a rather misogynist society. Evil or Very Mad
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The main beef I have with the Hagakure is not the book itself, as I understand what would motivate a guy like Yamamoto to write it. My beef is with people today thinking that it's some kind of bushido bible. The amount of times I see people bring up the Hagakure as an example of how samurai *DID* act, or *SHOULD* act, truly irritates me.

At the very best the Hagakure might be looked at as a depiction of the "ideal" samurai, but it's so far removed from reality and relevance that it's value as anything more than, as WT says, "an example of how a frustrated Edo-period samurai would feel in an era of peace", is not worth mentioning.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I wonder if enough Edo period dairies or correspondances have been looked at in order to see when the Hagakure first became mentioned.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
I wonder if enough Edo period dairies or correspondances have been looked at in order to see when the Hagakure first became mentioned.


That's the sort of information I'd be interested in looking at - any ideas where to find it?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
Quote:
I wonder if enough Edo period dairies or correspondances have been looked at in order to see when the Hagakure first became mentioned.


That's the sort of information I'd be interested in looking at - any ideas where to find it?


In English?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
In English or in modern Japanese - don't think I can cope with Edo period writing. Sad

This question really interests me now because Bodart-Bailey does seem to use the Hagakure to support her theory of the "narcissistic and sadistic" samurai class, but from what WT says this is wrong. Confused
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hagakure was read only in Hizen in those days, wasn't it?
Samurai sons generally studied Chinese philosophy like Sonshi.孫氏
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Incidentally, Sonshi (孫氏) is the descendant of another Sonshi (孫子), who is better known in English as Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Oops, sorry for the typo.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ashigaru wrote:
Incidentally, Sonshi (孫氏) is the descendant of another Sonshi (孫子), who is better known in English as Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War.


Correction to my post: Sonshi (孫氏) is the *family* that Sonshi (孫子) belonged to, not a specific guy.

Matching Japanese readings of Chinese names to the names used in English texts is fun. And when I say fun, I mean painful drudgery. (It gets even better when researching Buddhist stuff, since Sanskrit gets thrown into the mix.)

On a related topic, Koushi (孔子) is the Japanese name for Confucious. If that tidbit of knowledge saves anyone here from the hassle of puzzling it out themselves, I will have done my job.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
shikisoku wrote:
Hagakure was read only in Hizen in those days, wasn't it?
Samurai sons generally studied Chinese philosophy like Sonshi.孫氏


I think there was a paragraph or two in Ikegami's 'The Taming of the Samurai' that says that it wasn't really read by anybody, but sort of had a "cult status". I'd wager that about 1000 times more people have heard of it in the past couple of years than in the entire Edo period combined.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
This question really interests me now because Bodart-Bailey does seem to use the Hagakure to support her theory of the "narcissistic and sadistic" samurai class, but from what WT says this is wrong. Confused
Does Bodart-Bailey use "Hagakure" as her sole source for her theory? If so, she needs to start looking for a different source: one that was more widely-read during that time.

Perhaps Bodart-Bailey uses "Hagakure" as an example of an individual samurai who was "narcissistic and sadistic." Though as far as I know, Yamamoto never actually engaged in any actions that could be defined as "sadistic." Perhaps Bodart-Bailey believes that Yamamoto had fantasies in that direction? However, can we really say that fantasies constitute any sort of reality?

I see some problems with Bodart-Bailey's research techniques. Like many others, it seems that she will leap to uncritical support when she finds a source that happens to uphold her own theories. Which (along with reading her chapter on the subject) is making her research on the Ako clan very suspect in my mind.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave Tossed wrote:
heron wrote:
This question really interests me now because Bodart-Bailey does seem to use the Hagakure to support her theory of the "narcissistic and sadistic" samurai class, but from what WT says this is wrong. Confused
Does Bodart-Bailey use "Hagakure" as her sole source for her theory? If so, she needs to start looking for a different source: one that was more widely-read during that time.

Perhaps Bodart-Bailey uses "Hagakure" as an example of an individual samurai who was "narcissistic and sadistic." Though as far as I know, Yamamoto never actually engaged in any actions that could be defined as "sadistic." Perhaps Bodart-Bailey believes that Yamamoto had fantasies in that direction? However, can we really say that fantasies constitute any sort of reality?

I see some problems with Bodart-Bailey's research techniques. Like many others, it seems that she will leap to uncritical support when she finds a source that happens to uphold her own theories. Which (along with reading her chapter on the subject) is making her research on the Ako clan very suspect in my mind.


She quotes other sources, such as Arai Hakuseki and Asahi Shigeaki, and then later in the passage on abandoned children says, "This thought pattern dehumanizing the fetus and young child permitted the natural consquences of sexual intercourse to be obliterated without feelings of guilt. Tailored to suit a warrior society as idealized in the Hagakure, it pandered to a dominance of the physically strong male, permitting indulgence in sex without regard for the consequences. Beyond sex, in their capacity as daughters, women were considered merely a burden, and Hagakure recommends that all but the eldest be abandoned." (The Dog Shogun p139)

From what you say, and from my other readings on Edo society (not very far-reaching), this is a rather narrow view. I think you are right: she is finding texts to prove a position rather than taking her position from the evidence that is there.

She doesn't call Yamamoto specifically sadistic, and I can't find the exact quote (shouldn't even be writing this, should be doing page proofs Sad Sad ) but I'll look it up later. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave Tossed wrote:
Now you've gotten me started on Hagakure.


Hagakure... I remember when I first got into samurai history. It's one of the first books anyone in America is liked to read if they are interested in samurai. I kept thinking to myself... This doesn't entirely make sense... I assumed when I read it that it was really like "the code of bushido" that every samurai that lived sought to follow. I was very relieved when I discovered its true origin. It caused me to greatly misunderstand the samurai for some time.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
She quotes other sources, such as Arai Hakuseki and Asahi Shigeaki, and then later in the passage on abandoned children says, "This thought pattern dehumanizing the fetus and young child permitted the natural consquences of sexual intercourse to be obliterated without feelings of guilt. Tailored to suit a warrior society as idealized in the Hagakure, it pandered to a dominance of the physically strong male, permitting indulgence in sex without regard for the consequences. Beyond sex, in their capacity as daughters, women were considered merely a burden, and Hagakure recommends that all but the eldest be abandoned." (The Dog Shogun p139) From what you say, and from my other readings on Edo society (not very far-reaching), this is a rather narrow view. I think you are right: she is finding texts to prove a position rather than taking her position from the evidence that is there.
Believe me, Yamamoto was a major misogynist. You don't have to read Bodart-Bailey to see that; all you have to do is read the "Hagakure" itself. Yamamoto goes on and on about how too many samurai "act like women" and "are raised more like girls than boys." Confused Not sure if Yamamoto had a wife and/or children -- I don't think so.

As for Edo warrior society, yes, the writings and official words and documents were quite tailored toward favoring men and boys -- particularly samurai men and boys. However, if you look at everyday life in Edo Japan, the situation with the genders was far more complicated than broad generalizations -- either from works like "Hagakure" or else modern academic works -- would have them to be. Within some clans, women were likely to be considered burdens, completely worthless other than to be wombs for male children. However, within other clans, women were trained in martial arts and were respected, even if not given the same status as men.

Remember that, during this particular era around the world -- women were forced into lower statuses. In China, there was foot-binding and infanticide of female children. Even now, many female babies from China are given up for adoption; there are many Chinese girl infants adopted by American couples, including one of my co-workers. Europe in those days was anything other than a fount of female emancipation. Under the influence of the established churches, women were considered responsible for "the original sin" and were treated accordingly.
Quote:
[Bodart-Bailey] doesn't call Yamamoto specifically sadistic, and I can't find the exact quote (shouldn't even be writing this, should be doing page proofs Sad Sad ) but I'll look it up later. Very Happy
I think that this is just another of her broad generalizations. Confused
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