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Obenjo Kusanosuke
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:23 pm    Post subject: Conlan's new book on samurai weapons & fighting techniqu Reply with quote
Thomas Conlan, an historian and author that I do respect, published a hardcover on samurai weapons and fighting techniques over the summer. I haven't seen anything about it in the usual places since it was released. Amazon is only acting as the middle man on used copies, while B&N does have new books in stock.

Has anyone read this? I know Angus mentioned this before in one of the other subforums in the spring, but I thought I'd mention it here, now that the book has been published.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, I can tell you two things about it:

1) Kato Kiyomasa, Destroyer Of Historians, won't be ordering it.
2) I am, right now.

Everything I've read by Conlan is gold, and I'm sure this will be as well.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I guess you didn’t hear it yet, but in the spirit of Halloween, the mad scientist, Dr. Christopher West, in his never-ending quest to reanimate good samurai history discussions, accidentally reanimated Kato Kiyomasa, the banned former forum member. Dr. West, who was inebriated at the time, thought he was reanimating the real Kato Kiyomasa. Once the head came back to life, it re-started its demented rants about Conlan and pretty much every other historian he disagrees with. Oops. Way to go, Chris! Evil or Very Mad



And, yeah, I bought Conlan’s book, too! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I just ordered it! Looking forward to reading it. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Another one to be added to the list.... Sad

But, well, Xmas is approaching. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Only $15. John
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
I guess you didn’t hear it yet, but in the spirit of Halloween, the mad scientist, Dr. Christopher West, in his never-ending quest to reanimate good samurai history discussions, accidentally reanimated Kato Kiyomasa, the banned former forum member. Dr. West, who was inebriated at the time, thought he was reanimating the real Kato Kiyomasa. Once the head came back to life, it re-started its demented rants about Conlan and pretty much every other historian he disagrees with. Oops. Way to go, Chris! Evil or Very Mad


Brrrrr!!!!! Enough to send chills down my spine! That's one thing about medieval Japanese justice that's just wrong-exile to the outcast island (Wikipedia) is no guarantee that they won't rear their ugly head again!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I just received yesterday. Lovely! Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Mr. Conlan discusses in great depth on the Battle of Nagashino, pages 165-174. The pictures are great too. Bibliography is excellent. Japanese and English.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I just received Conlan's book. HERE'S a preliminary review of it on the Shogun-ki.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
A good review. I always hated the idea that between chanoyu there was friendly combat, the only sad thing being the loser missed out on seconds. John
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Upon reading a bit more, I see that the same type of minor errors that plague Turnbull's books are here in Conlan's as well. Some of them look to have been made during the typesetting (such as the 'd' being dropped from 'and' or 'Sanada' being spelled 'Saneda'). Others just look to be lapses on Conlan's part, like in the section on Nagashino-

1) He writes that barricades would not have been built in the center of the line because there were hills to the rear and a stream in front (and also backs this up by using older screen paintings)-but a couple of paragraphs later states that Takeda troops in the center of the line couldn't advance because of the barricades there. Which is it?
2) Conlan writes, "...it was Oda Nobunaga's cunning ability to hide his army, and deceive the Tokugawa..."
Obviously, that should have read "...and deceive the Takeda..."

Still a great book-they're all minor errors. It does make one wonder why so many little errors creep into books aimed at the general public. Are the authors just writing quickly and not checking as carefully as they might for a scholarly work? Or is it the fault of the publishers?
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Editors. They can check syntax, spelling and the like, but, factual error is usually the author's mistake. Proofing by someone in the know can help, but, again haste and deadlines can cause a miss. Worse, are translations by non-English speakers. Just look at some of the hotel names around. ie. Slit Hotel. John
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The Nagashino debate continues and I am starting to have a new opinion on it. If you look on p. 167, Owada Testuo complained about much of the research have come from people who have no clue about the battlefield or never been there. Go figure. I do agree that the fences were spread out and not bunched together.

It is one of the better books I have bought so far.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I finally ordered my copy yesterday. Thanks for the review Tatsunoshi. That's what put me over the edge.

I can't believe B&N had the book brand new for $13, while Amazon had them used for $30+....
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
leakbrewergator wrote:
I can't believe B&N had the book brand new for $13, while Amazon had them used for $30+....
I have noticed the same phenomenon with several books on the Japanese Amazon. They can probably make more money that way.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
My copy FINALLY arrived yesterday afternoon. The book is a REFRESHING read in every way when it comes to presenting factual information. Heck, Conlan even nicely puts the whole "Bushido" issue in it's correct place from page one. Man, did that make me happy! Very Happy So far, this book does a fine job of sticking to the facts portrays samurai warfare and some of the principal characters as they were, not what we "want" or "fantasize" them to be. This book is definitely meeting my expectations.

I've noticed some of the errors that Tatsunoshi already commented on. I'm attributing these to the publisher's sloppy editing--not Conlan.

My hat's off to the good professor for a job well done and I will highly recommend this book for those who are just getting started on the study of samurai history or for those of us "old timers" out there who have been looking for a nice and concise survey in English.

Smiling Sammy Smiling Sammy Smiling Sammy Smiling Sammy
I'm giving this four out of five smiling sammies. If the editing was better, it would have gotten a perfect five!
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
If anything I learned from Conlan's book was the fact that Uesugi Kenshin knew how to use the gun to its full use. Once he received the gunpowder recipe, he went all out. Conlan also mentioned Kenshin's superior use of shooting weapons (arrows and guns) did a lot of damage to the Takeda army at the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima in 1561. However, he mentioned that the Takeda were late to the party. I have two theories why.

Geography and culture.

The Takeda was locked up in the mountains of Kai and probably had a difficult time obtaining high quality gunpowder and guns.

Culture was important. I think the Takeda was a victum of its own success. They used the weapons and tactics that worked well for them. If it not broken, do not fix it attitude. When era of the gun arrived, the Takeda were too slow to adapt and eventually the clan died a slow death.

Nobunaga and Kenshin would have a lot of success due to the gun and other shooting weapons. I maybe wrong, but that is my opinion.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I found some minor errors related to Uesugi Kenshin in the book. Conlan mentioned that Kenshin made trips to Kyoto in 1554 and 1560 on page 136. Unfortunately those dates are wrong.

He went to the capital in 1553 and 1559.

In 1553 Kenshin was able to meet emperor Go-Nara.

1559 Kenshin met with shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru and emperor Ogimachi.

Also Conlan listed 1562(p. 165) as the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima. Minor errors. Anyways, I love this book. The pictures are just too hot to handle.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I also found an error on page 206. That IS NOT Tokugawa Yoshinobu. Regardless of any errors (most of them appear to be editing mistakes), this is indeed a very good and useful book.

However, Nobu-chan (just can't call you Nohime unless you really do dress in women's kimono) before we go and say the dates about Kenshin's visits to Kyoto are wrong, I'm going to take a page out of Bethetsu's modus operandi and ask you to consider what calendars are used in Conlan's book as well as the source you have that says 1553 and 1559? This could be the result of confusion between the Gregorian and Japanese lunar calendars.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
As I wrote to you earlier, I have used the Uesugi Kenshin Rekishi Gunzoo book as my source. I can see why the Lunar and Gregorian calendars are so confusing. For example, my B-day is the day Takeda Shingen died, the date in April. Others have listed a later date.

Obenjo, I did request a name change and it will suit me perfectly. Just Kidding

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo,
Here is another source and a good one.

Okehazama no Tatakai Kagetora no kakusaku to Nobunaga no Sakuryaku by Akio Hamada. I bought this book last year in Japan.

Look at pp. 29, 32. Kenshin is listed as going to the capital in 1553 and 1559. Also if you look at pp. 103-144. It discussed who pulled the trigger to set off the Battle of Okehazama. Kenshin's name appears often and mentions his visits to the capital in 53 and 59. I hope this will work for you. Anyways, I tend to use Japanese sources. It is a pain in the butt. I do not blame Conlan at all. In fact, I feel for him

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
nohime wrote:
Obenjo,
Here is another source and a good one.

Okehazama no Tatakai Kagetora no kakusaku to Nobunaga no Sakuryaku by Akio Hamada. I bought this book last year in Japan.

Look at pp. 29, 32. Kenshin is listed as going to the capital in 1553 and 1559. Also if you look at pp. 103-144. It discussed who pulled the trigger to set off the Battle of Okehazama. Kenshin's name appears often and mentions his visits to the capital in 53 and 59. I hope this will work for you. Anyways, I tend to use Japanese sources. It is a pain in the butt. I do not blame Conlan at all. In fact, I feel for him

Les aka nobu-chan


What month? If it is in december, than it is probably Conlan using the western calendar.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
kitsuno wrote:
What month? If it is in december, than it is probably Conlan using the western calendar.


Looks like (Japanese calender) 9th month of 1553, and 4th month of 1559.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
I also found an error on page 206. That IS NOT Tokugawa Yoshinobu.


It's not? It looks just like the photo of Yoshinobu on the front of The Last Shogun, down to bone structure, eye and nose shape, and creases in the face. Granted, you've seen a lot more photos of Yoshinobu than I have, so maybe you know something I don't.
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