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Time in Japan: Era Names, Regnal Years, and Imperial Years
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
If you are willing, I'm sure we could put something up on the Samurai-Archives; even the S-A Wiki might work. However, if you put together an article--possibly even a PDF--it could likely be hosted somewhere on the site, if our Shogun is up for it.

-Josh


I'm fine with it, but it's up to Bethetsu, it's her work.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
JLBadgley wrote:
If you are willing, I'm sure we could put something up on the Samurai-Archives; even the S-A Wiki might work
I still have a long ways to go. However, I do have articles on the Japanese calendar, year dates, and the cycle on the SA wiki. They were the first things I wrote on the calendar. Sometime I need to make some minor corrections however.

Q7 Probably the greatest Western scholar of the Chinese calendar is Nathan Sivins. I really cannot follow his work, but I am trying to get some idea of it. However, what I want to discuss here is this: He regularly translates the names of the Chinese nengo and calendars into English and uses them in his text, not just as glosses. For instance, he calls the 授時暦 the "Season-Granting" calendar. Other examples are the Epochal Plenty period (1080), Reverent Tranquility period (1100), Perfectly Great period (1280), etc. Unfortunately I did not take notes on his discussion--next time I can get to that library I will--but he says that though not everyone likes the practice of translating, the names do have meaning and should be translated. He cites an article against the practice, but says the author's main argument is that since you cannot convey all the meaning in a translation, you shouldn't translate at all.
What is your opinion on translating nengô?


Christmas is in just a few days--on Sunday at last--so I will not be adding any new material to this thread, though I may reply to posts. So the following will probably be my last question of the year, a review question.

Q7 What is the cyclic year for 2012?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q7What is your opinion on translating nengô?


I like leaving them as is, because the nengo names often have nothing to do with the reason they were changed-and also for the same reason place names and proper names shouldn't be directly translated. It's easier for names, places, and dates to keep them in their original form to make them easier to find in Japanese language documents, not to mention the translations are usually meaningless and just cause confusion (like "Lord Big Rock" in all those old 47 Ronin English stories-sounds like a Flintstones episode).

Bethetsu wrote:
Q7 What is the cyclic year for 2012?


It's the 29th year (9, 5) of the sexegenary cycle and is a 壬辰 year (mizunoe tatsu, or water dragon-although it will popularly be known as the Year of the Dragon).
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I agree re: translating nengo. They generally are most informative using the Japanese, vice translating them.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q7What is your opinion on translating nengô?

I agree with you two--don't translate. The translations are so arbitrary that it would cause endless confusion to use them in place of the original. How would you translate Heisei?

But there is another reason, the meaning of meaning. Certainly meaning is related to what I think of when I hear (or read) something, or even better, to what the writer expects me to think of.
When I hear "Ansei Ear 安政時代" for instance, I don't think "Era of Stable Government," I think of the Ansei purges and the chaos of that time. Of course that cannot really be translated, but it is part of the meaning in the broad sense. But just because we cannot translate everything does that mean we should not translate what we can? In this case, yes. The literal translation is such a small part of and so different than the "full" meaning, that it is misleading. Even if I come across a nengo I know nothing about, I do not think of the meaning of the period, as "Extention," I try to put it into some kind of historical context. If we are forbidden to use the word "Ansei", we can translate it "the period from 1854 to 1860." That does give a lot of the meaning, even to someone who knows little of Japanese history, much more than "Era of Stable Government".

And Tatsunoshi, you are right, of course:
Quote:
It's the 29th year (9, 5) of the sexegenary cycle and is a 壬辰 year (mizunoe tatsu, or water dragon-although it will popularly be known as the Year of the Dragon).
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Akemashite, omedetô gozaimasu. Sakunen o-sewa ni narimshita. Kotoshi mo dôzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.

O-Shôgatsu お正月 omedetô "Happy New Year," is literally "正月is auspicious." But is 正 always auspicious? That is the question we will look at next.

When adopting nengô, there was much discussion about the suitalility and the auspiciousness of the characters. In the Shôtoku 正徳period, Hayashi Hôkô, based on certain Ming-period books, petitioned the rôjû to speedily change the name of the nengô because shô 正 brought bad luck. His rival Arai Hakuseki, who as the shogun's major advisor had probably approved the name, reacted with the full weight of his erudition. He presented a memorandum, which is probably basically the same as the arguments in his famous biography, which is my source, though I am not presenting the material in the original order. (Prime, are you reading this thread? Are you still reading the biography?):
Hayashi's arguments are not worthy of the arguments of a noble man (Kunshi 君子no ron ni wa arazu.), he says. Conditions in the nation are determined by the decrees of Heaven (Ten'un) or the actions of men 人事, not by the nengo. Even if you change the name of the year, it is the same year. Arai shows off his erudition by taking several characters used in nengo throughout Chinese and Japanese history and evaluating the periods--they are a mixture of good and bad. In particular, he brings up the nengô Eiraku 永楽 which was used by several Chinese dynasties as well as in Japan--some of the eras were good, and some bad. Not using nengo will not guarantee peace either, because ancient China and Japan were not peaceful, and though Europe does not have nengo, Spain is now in the middle of a civil was of succession.


Can we argue that shô 正 is particularly dangerous because the Kamakura bakufu was destroyed in the Shôkei 正慶 period and the Ashikaga bakufu was destroyed in Tenshô 天正 ? One of his counter arguments is this: Although both bakufu had used shô nengo many times before over the generations, those nengô had not caused their downfall.
Q9 His other argument is even more decisive. What is it?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I don't suppose it's because 正月 is auspicious? (and, in any case, 正 means "correct", so how could it be unauspicious?) This seems too obvious an answer given the the way you've presented the subject.

But, anyway, I just thought I'd share, for anyone interested, that the Chinese era Eiraku 永楽 is pronounced "Yongle" in Chinese. I'm not sure about any other Yongle eras, but the Yongle Emperor who reigned 1402-1424 is a particularly famous Chinese emperor.

His reign saw the move of the capital from Nanjing to Beijing, the construction of the Forbidden City, and a major renovation of the Grand Canal, along with the voyages of Zheng He (who is believed to have journeyed as far as Africa, in massive treasure ships), and the compilation of the "Yongle Dadian" 永楽大典 or "Yongle Encyclopedia."

Perhaps most important or interesting for our purposes is that Yongle was the emperor to whom Ashikaga Yoshimitsu sent tribute, submitting to Chinese suzerainty and entering into formal trade relations with China.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
This also seems too obvious (and related to the other point), but the Tokugawa Bakufu had also seen 'Sho' used in an era name (正保, Shoho in 1644) and that era had no particular troubles.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Knowing Hayashi Hoko is a paramount, at the time, Confucian scholar and the adherence to 正式 in ritual, everyday life, etc. and the positive connotation of 正, for the very most part, the nengo using this kanji, could it have been personally attractive in the Confucian context? John
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
shin no sen wrote:
Knowing Hayashi Hoko is a paramount, at the time, Confucian scholar and the adherence to 正式 in ritual, everyday life, etc. and the positive connotation of 正, for the very most part, the nengo using this kanji, could it have been personally attractive in the Confucian context? John

I don't know the reasons the Ming scholars gave for their dislike of shô. Hakuseki doesn't say, and I don't think I could understand it even if he did. However, I am sure the discussion of auspicious and inauspicious characters in nengo had nothing to do with the connotation of the characters. After all, characters with bad connotations would never have been suggested in the first place.


lordameth wrote:
I don't suppose it's because 正月 is auspicious? (and, in any case, 正 means "correct", so how could it be unauspicious?) This seems too obvious an answer given the the way you've presented the subject.
One of Hakuseki's arguments against the inauspicousness of shô is that since every year has a shôgatsu, if shô is inauspicious, all years are inauspicious.

Tatsunoshi wrote:
This also seems too obvious (and related to the other point), but the Tokugawa Bakufu had also seen 'Sho' used in an era name (正保, Shoho in 1644) and that era had no particular troubles.
I cannot find it at the moment, but somewhere in the argument Hakuseki says in effect, "In claiming shô should not be used in nengo, Hayashi is criticizing his own grandfather (Razan) and father, who did not object to Shôhô."

The point of Hakuseki's arguments is that there is no such thing as auspicious and inauspicious nengo. But my question is about one particular argument of his: It virtually proves that the Ashikaga shogunate was not destroyed by the shô in Tenshô. It is related to something I discussed the middle of last month. Also, Les probably knows the answer, but he has not been around lately.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's hard to tell since I don't have an exact date for when Nobunaga booted Yoshiaki out of Kyoto, but it looks like Nobunaga suggested the nengo change AFTER having him removed-ten days after, it appears.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
It's hard to tell since I don't have an exact date for when Nobunaga booted Yoshiaki out of Kyoto, but it looks like Nobunaga suggested the nengo change AFTER having him removed-ten days after, it appears.

That is it. Hakuseki writes:
"The destruction of the Ashigaga was actually the third of the seventh month, Genki 4 whenYoshiaki fled [Kyoto]. On the 28th of that month the name was changed to Tenshô."

As I mentioned earlier, nengo were usually considered retroactive, and historians followed suit, so people learned probably learned their history as "Fall of the Ashikawa, Tenshô 1." Historians still do that. The 2008 "Rekishi Dokuhon Techô" gives only one nengô to each year it lists. It gives 1573 as "Tenshô 1" with nothing to indicate that the first two events listed--the fall of the Takeda and the destruction of the Muromachi bakufu--are actually in Genki. Other books with chronologies seem to do the same thing.

However, the nengo from Taisho on officially were not considered retroactive, and the policy seems to vary. The Techô lists Meiji 45/Taishô 1 as Meiji, but Shôwa 64/ Heisei 1 as Heisei (well, it was only for a few days, though the first event they listed, the death of Emperor Showa was in Showa). The Techô doesn't list any event for 1926. But last month I went to the funeral of a man born "April 30, 1912, that is Meiji 45," so in general people do not use Taisho, etc. retroactively.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
We are now going to tackle the Southern and Northern Court Period, the Nanboku period, something that is not talked too much about on SA.

Q10 This is also sometimes called the "Yoshino Period 吉野時代” Why?

Of course, with two courts, there will be two different nengo. Some books, like Nelson's Kanji Dictionary, list the northern-court emperors and nengo at the end of the nengo list with the notice "the brief northern dynasty." But we will look at it from a more contemporary point of view.

Q11 List the emperors and their nengo and dates from Go-Daigo through Go-Hanazono from the point of view of the southern court, and also from that of the northern court. Pay especial attention to the overlapping at the beginning and end.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Q10 This was called the Yoshino Period because the Southern Court was based at Yoshino (i.e. rather than at Muromachi, Kamakura, or Heian).

I'll leave Q11 to someone else. This Northern/Southern nengô stuff is just too much bother. Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The two courts with their Emperors and 'recognized' years of reign:

Southern Court Emperors (recognized today as the official line)

1318–1339 Emperor Godaigo
1339–1368 Emperor Go-Murakami
1368–1383 Emperor Chōkei
1383–1392 Emperor Go-Kameyama
1392–1412 Emperor Go-Komatsu
1412–1428 Emperor Shōkō
1428–1464 Emperor Go-Hanazono

Northern Court Emperors (puppets of Ashikaga)

1318–1332 Emperor Godaigo
1331-1333 Emperor Kōgon
1334-1335 No Northern Emperor
1336–1348 Emperor Kōmyō
1348–1351 Emperor Sukō
1351–1352 No Northern Emperor
1352–1371 Emperor Go-Kōgon
1371–1382 Emperor Go-En'yū
1382–1412 Emperor Go-Komatsu
1412–1428 Emperor Shōkō
1428–1464 Emperor Go-Hanazono

The Court was reunited in 1392, with Go-Komatsu being recognized as the official Emperor. You could make a case that the Southern court never recognized Shoko or Go-Hanazono, as the deal they had made with the Northern Court to alternate was broken in 1412.

And eras....

Southern Court Eras

Starts In/Nengo

1317 Bunpō
1319 Geno
1321 Genko
1324 Shochu
1326 Karyaku
1329 Gentoku
1331 Genko (again, different kanji)
1334 Kenmu
1336 Engen
1340 Kōkoku
1346 Shōhei
1370 Kentoku
1372 Bunchū
1375 Tenju
1381 Kōwa
1384 Genchū
1392 Meitoku
1394 Ōei
1428 Shōchō
1441 Kakitsu
1444 Bun'an
1449 Hōtoku
1452 Kyōtoku
1455 Kōshō
1457 Chōroku
1460 Kanshō

Northern Court Eras

Starts in/Nengo

1317 Bunpō
1319 Geno
1321 Genko
1324 Shochu
1326 Karyaku
1329 Gentoku
1331 Genko (again, different kanji)
1332 Shokyo
1334 Kenmu
1338 Ryakuō
1342 Kōei
1345 Jōwa
1350 Kannō
1352 Bunna
1356 Enbun
1361 Kōan
1362 Jōji
1368 Ōan
1375 Eiwa
1379 Kōryaku
1381 Eitoku
1384 Shitoku
1387 Kakei
1389 Kōō
1390 Meitoku
1394 Ōei
1428 Shōchō
1441 Kakitsu
1444 Bun'an
1449 Hōtoku
1452 Kyōtoku
1455 Kōshō
1457 Chōroku
1460 Kanshō

Basically, you have
1) Shokyo of the Northern Court replacing the last two years of Genkyo as recognized by the Southern (1332-1333).

2) They both recognize the beginning of Kenmu, but the Southern Court only until 1336 (1338 in the North).

3) Both courts have different nengo from then on-until 1392 when they reconcile, and the Southern court's Genchu era changes to Meitoku 'in progress' with Meitoku 3.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
lordameth wrote:
Q10 [The Nanboku Period] was called the Yoshino Period because the Southern Court was based at Yoshino (i.e. rather than at Muromachi, Kamakura, or Heian).
Yes. Next, what is the difference in usage between the two terms?

Tastu, thank you for your list. I had not noticed the interregnum between 1351 to 1352.
Q 11 What was the cause of the 1351-52 interregnum in the Northern Court?

This made me realize how little the SA deals with the Nanboku Period, despite all the opportunities for drama. I don't believe I had ever hear of this incident. Almost all my knowledge of the period comes from Morris' Tragic Heroes.

Q12 As Tatsu mentioned, officially the Souther Court is considered the true court, while the Northern Court is considered to be puppets of the Ashikaga (though after the Asuka period at least it seems it has almost always been the puppet of something). This was officially decided in 1912, though when I look at Papinot it is clear it was pretty well accepted even before.[Edit:1912 is wrong--the date is 1911] But I have not been able to figure out is why the Meiji government was so pro-South, given that the emperors are really of the Northern line. Is it because they admire Go-Daigo for his independence, or the Kusunokis, or what? Does anyone know?

I made a table with the emperors and nengo of SN courts in parallel, like the textbook of the 南北朝正閏問題, and intended to assault the SA Citadel with it, but the precautions of Kitsuno, who must be a secret adherent of the Southern Court, thwarted my plot. But it is not in my nature to give up too easily(決めたものをすぐあきらめるベスエツではありません)! so I have another tactic up my sode, but it will take little time to set up.


Q 13 The gray rectangle with white lettering below is the transcription of writing on a grave in the middle of Musashi. It is interesting for a number of reasons, but what does it tell you about politics of the time?




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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Q12 - I've not read much on the Nanboku-chô period, but my understanding has always been simply that even though the Northern Court won out in the end, it was the Southern Court that was more so in the right at the time. Emperor Go-Daigo was the rightful Emperor before the Northern Court came into being, i.e. before and during the Kemmu Restoration, plus he held the Imperial Regalia.

Politically, as for why the Meiji Government would have supported Go-Daigo, perhaps this is because he was anti-shogunate (as the Meiji government was), and because, as Go-Daigo had been the rightful Emperor up until that point, that would make the Northern Court "anti-Imperial," i.e. enemies of the standing Emperor. Something like that. Though, this is based just on my own thoughts, and not on researching what professional historians have to say, so it's basically just a guess.

Q13 As for the tombstone, at first glance it appears to be giving two sets of dates - the "two" of 「二年」 ("second year") is listed twice. But looking into it a little more, we discover that 丁卯 was not the cyclical designation for Shitoku 2 (至徳二年), but rather for Shitoku 4. This means that the tombstone is intentionally using 二二 instead of 四 for four, for some reason.

It's using the Northern Court nengo, and also is using "Shitoku 4" for a date many months after the era would have changed over to "Kakei 1" 嘉慶元年. I suppose the use of the Northern Court nengo indicates that the Kanto, or at least the clan to whom this grave belongs, was loyal to the Northern Court.... But that's about the end of where my detective work leaves me.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q 11 What was the cause of the 1351-52 interregnum in the Northern Court?


Ashikaga Takauji surrendered to the Southern Court in 1351 and left Kyoto. This allowed Kitabatake Chikafusa (one of the powerful Shingon monks supporting the Southern Court I mentioned in an earlier post) to enter the Capital and not only kidnap the reigning Northern Emperor but also the Crown Prince. two retired Emperors, and the Imperial Regalia. This signified a switch from the Imperial line succession (and Court proceedings in general) being based on precedent to being based on ritual and possession of the regalia, both of which favored the Southern Cort at the time. It's also around this time that we begin to see three being accepted as the 'magic number' for Imperial Regalia-the sword, mirror, and jewel. Before this, all sorts of different numbers were used-one, two, all the way up to ten. Three was used because that's all that Chikafusa was able to lay his hands on, and he based the Southern Court's legitimacy largely on possession of the regalia. It's interesting because all concerned still believed that all of the regalia were reproductions, and some might have been missing altogether (with empty boxes standing in as symbols for them-good enough for ritual purposes).

Of course, like all politicans, it didn't take much time for the Northern Court to find themselves a new Emperor with an appropriate excuse for him being legitimate.

Bethetsu wrote:
Q12 As Tatsu mentioned, officially the Souther Court is considered the true court, while the Northern Court is considered to be puppets of the Ashikaga (though after the Asuka period at least it seems it has almost always been the puppet of something). This was officially decided in 1912, though when I look at Papinot it is clear it was pretty well accepted even before.[Edit:1912 is wrong--the date is 1911] But I have not been able to figure out is why the Meiji government was so pro-South, given that the emperors are really of the Northern line. Is it because they admire Go-Daigo for his independence, or the Kusunokis, or what? Does anyone know?


It's largely because of the Mito School's 1720 "History Of Great Japan", which was heavily influenced by Chikafusa's views that the 'true regalia' were decisive factors in determining legitimacy (along with his belief that the Imperial line should be an unbroken succession). The "History of Great Japan" declared that the Southern Court alone was legit-up to then, most scholars considered either the Northern Court or both of them to be legitimate. Many of the people who came to power in the aftermath of the Bakumatsu had been heavily influenced by the teachings of the Mito School, so the Meiji government's Upper House of the Diet declared that only one Emperor could rule at a time and recognized the Southern Court in 1911.

And as Meth mentioned, the fact that the Northern Court was usually seen as Ashikaga stooges and under the sway of the Shogunate didn't hurt.

Bethetsu wrote:
Q 13 The gray rectangle with white lettering below is the transcription of writing on a grave in the middle of Musashi. It is interesting for a number of reasons, but what does it tell you about politics of the time?


I agree with Meth-much of the Kanto were Northern Court supporters, and the Ashikaga (who got their start in Shimotuske and Kozuke) owned lands in Musashi after taking them from the Hojo. Even though it seems the grave marker was made later, I'm assuming it was done pre-1911 and Musashi likely would have still had many 'Shogunate supporters' that would prefer the Northern Court dates.

Perhaps the 'double two' was done because four is considered an inauspicious number in Japan? Of course, they used four on the same marker, so that's not likely.

And obviously whoever did the grave marker chose to use the nengo from year's start (which is fine-the year can be known as either).

I also see the kanji for the cycle year are reversed-I'm assuming the grave marker is from the early Meiji era, where right to left reading of 'words' was common?


Originally, I too had tried to post the Emperors with their nengo, but also found it was too big of a hassle-especially from an IPhone.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Lordameth, Tatsu, thank you for your posts. I will answer them soon, but here finally is the link for my table.
http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Emperors_of_Japan#Table_2_.28Nanboku.29
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lordameth
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
That looks great! Thanks for your efforts!!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Q10--Lordameth never answered my followup question as to the difference in usage between the terms Nanboku Period and Yoshino Period--probably because it is too obvious. But for the sake of others who may read the thread later, I will state it.

Godaigo fled to Yoshino in Yamato province (now Nara Prefecture) and set up his court there. Using the term Nanboku (Southern and Northern Court) Period implies that the Northern Court was also legitimate, so this term was used to avoid that. Also, the term Yoshino Court was used in place of Southern Court.


Q11 What was the cause of the interregnum?
Yes, it was the kidnapping of the northern imperial family by the supporters of the Southern Court. You would think that this rather than the attack on Okinawa would be "The Most Daring Raid of the Samurai," though perhaps Kitabatake would not count as a samurai. But Kusunoki Masanori would.
By the way, Tatsu, you wrote "Ashikaga Takauji surrendered to the Southern Court in 1351." I could not find that he did. Did you mean "Ashikaga Tadayoshi (or Tadafuyu) switched sides in 1351"? Or is this part of his back-and -forth?

Q13 About the Shitoku-era gravestone. As I said, it is transcription, which I used as I could not read the original myself, let alone photograph it. The transcription is on a sign beside the grave put up by the city Education Department so I assume it is accurate.

Lordameth, you got the three points I noticed: the strange way to write "4" (could it be artistic or for balance?), the fact that Shitoku meant the area recognized the Northern Court--though by 1387 I suppose almost everyone did--and the fact that it is dated 3 months after the end of Shitoku. My guess is that they did not know about the nengo change, or it had not really "sunk in". It probably took a long time for non-urgent news to come from Kyoto to a remote place in the Kanto.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
Lordameth never answered my followup question as to the difference in usage between the terms Nanboku Period and Yoshino Period--probably because it is too obvious.


Quite the opposite in fact - I really wasn't sure what the reasoning would be, though now that you spell it out, it of course makes sense. My apologies for not responding; I had thought the follow-up question was intended to be open to everyone, and so I just left it for someone else to answer, someone who was more sure of the reasoning.

Quote:
My guess is that they did not know about the nengo change, or it had not really "sunk in". It probably took a long time for non-urgent news to come from Kyoto to a remote place in the Kanto.


Oh, geez. Of course. That makes sense.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Tatsu, you wrote "Ashikaga Takauji surrendered to the Southern Court in 1351." I could not find that he did. Did you mean "Ashikaga Tadayoshi (or Tadafuyu) switched sides in 1351"?


What I meant is that "Ashikaga Takauji surrendered to the Southern Court in 1351" Laughing -twice, as a matter of fact. While the Nanbokucho period was a mess in general, the period of 1351-52 was particularly so.

When Ashikaga Tadayoshi left Kyoto in the 10th month of 1350 in the aftermath of a power struggle with Ko Moronao, Ashikaga Takauji (the Shogun) had the Northern Court issue an edict for his destruction. Tadayoshi went south and surrendered to the Southern Court in 11/1350. He convinced them to issue an edict calling on him to battle Takauji. With help from the Southern Court, Tadayoshi obliterated the forces of Takauji that had been sent out to kill him (and in the process killing his rival Moronao). Takauji surrendered to Tadayoshi in 2/1351. According to legend, Takauji had only 12 warriors to return to Kyoto with him. Tadayoshi, Kitabatake, and Takauji began negotiating an end to the wars, and Tadayoshi and Takauji at some point reconciled.

Well, that's the easy part. Now, Tadayoshi got cozy again with the Northern Court in an effort to screw over the Southern Court. Takauji resented this and commenced to attack Tadayoshi in 7/1351. Seemingly Takauji had been able to reinforce his position in the meantime and got the batter of Tadayoshi. Tadayoshi attempted to take the Northern Court emperors with him as he fled back to Kamakura, but they refused to go. Takauji wasn't strong enough to fight both Tadayoshi and the Southern Court, so he surrendered to them (again) in 9/1351, agreeing to all their demands, and vacated Kyoto in 10/1351. The Southern Court on the same day issued an edict calling for him to chastise Tadayoshi-that's right, the exact opposite of their edict earlier in the year (when they had called for Tadayoshi to chastise Takauji).

Anyway, the Ashikaga were all off in Kamakura fighting each other, so that's when Kitabatake Chikafusa entered Kyoto and helped himself to the Imperial family and the Regalia (at least the three items he was able to coerce the Imperial Household Attendants to come up with). He pretty much ruled in Kyoto until Tadayoshi died the next year, Takauji returned to Kyoto, retook the city, and established a new Northern Emperor.

Of course, the year after that, Yamana Tokiuji (from the same Yamana that later figured prominently in the Onin war) retook Kyoto, at least until the Ashikaga took it back later next year, and then Chikafusa died the year after that, and then...well, you get the idea.

This is probably why this era doesn't get talked about much here on the SA-it's incredibly complex with alliances that literally shift from day to day, much more complicated and involved than other times of chaos like the late Heian, Sengoku, or Bakumatsu. Adding to this is the fact that the Taiheiki, even though it's likely the most unreliable war tale ever, is the prime source for most people that do take an interest.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
What I meant....interest.
Wow!
I am still rather confused, but ...
This is called Kan'ô no Jôran 観応の擾乱, which based on the above description I would translate as the Kanô (northern nengô) Turmoil. The brief description in Kojien just says it was fighting between the brothers, one step forward and another back 一進一退, but nothing about the emperors. I wonder how the north persuaded the following emperor Go-Kôgon to take on the job. But he was probably just handed an edit that said "You are now emperor." Of course he was only fourteen, but that probably is how it would have been done in any case.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Q14When choosing a new nengô there were many stages to go through. An early 12th century work lists 15 steps, and when the bakufu got involved, there was more consultation. The word Nanchin 難陳refers to the discussion of the origin and prognostics of various candidates in order to make the final decision. However, in 1868, which would become the first year of the Meiji period, a different way was used. As usual, the Confucian scholars of the Sugawara family chose several candidates. Then Iwakura and Matsudaira Yoshinaga took "5 or 6 good nengo." But instead of having the nanchin, how did they make the final decision?
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