Register :: Log in :: Profile   


Tanegashima questions
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // Arms and Armor
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Thunberg
Rice Farmer
Rice Farmer
Veteran Member



Joined: 09 Nov 2012
Posts: 30
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:48 am    Post subject: Tanegashima questions Reply with quote
The first I have question is about Noel Perrin's "Giving Up the Gun", which most people here seems to know about and how its main premise is inaccurate. One fact that I have seen quoted from it and seemed very strange was that old matchlock guns where converted to bolt-action rifles and fire modern ammunition during the Russo-Japanese war to "modern ammunition", by which I guess it means smokeless powder. I'm no gun expert, but I do know if the tanegashima had similar bore size to European muskets they would have much larger caliber than what would be practical ballistics wise, since bullets where not round balls anymore and where fired at much higher velocities, unless they were some kind of (for its time) small-bore hunting guns. I know that in Europe the caliber for muskets during the 18th century was usually over 17 mm (or about 0.7 inches). When rifles using smokeless powder became the norm, they would have smaller calibers, around 7-8 mm (28-32 inches). I wonder why would anyone going through so much work to convert these guns if they would have this drawback? Especially during the Russo-Japanese war it seems like it would be much better to just build new guns.

Looking in the book via Google shows that the source for this is an article in the magazine "The Gun Collector" from 1950 written by someone named Robert Kimbrough. I googled on it but found nothing about this article. I did however find this: (EDIT: dead link, images can still be seen with Google
Quote:
Japanese Matchlock rifle. Converted approximately 1880 to a Murata bolt action system. This was probably done at Koishikawa Arsenal at Tokyo. At that time, the arsenal was converting French Chassepot using the same bolt system. Important addition to a Japanese rifle collection as it shows the transition of the Tanegashima (Samurai Matchlock) to the early conversion and a cartridge rifle for Emperor Meijis Japanese Army


This seems more reasonable then having converted the guns to fire smokeless during Russo-Japanese war. Maybe it was a stop-gap measure or the guns where used for training. But to me the barrels don't look very similar to the tanegashima ones found here and here. Could this just be old stocks fitted to new barrels? What do you think

My second question is about these boxes that protected the matchlocks from rain:

Does anyone know how well these worked? To me it seems like they would protect the matches from the rain as long as the gun is held somewhat horizontally. But when the gunner loads the have to hold the gun vertically and usually the match is taken off for safety. That would lead to the match getting wet and therefore the box is only good for enabling one shot in the rain. Is there any historical account or any modern experiment about this? Where they widely used?

And finally I wonder about these "strings for night firing"


Simply, how are they supposed to work? Huh?


I'm grateful for any answers or comments! You rule


Last edited by Thunberg on Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:46 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Obenjo Kusanosuke
Kii no Kami
Kii no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 4554
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Modern bolt action rifles were used in the war vs Russia. It is really that simple. Converting old matchlocks is not very efficient or cost effective. The conversion mentioned above was 1880, while the Russian war was more than 20 years later.
_________________

Heee heee! Shita iro! Shita iro! Here comes his lordship, Baka Tono!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rekishinotabi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
evalerio
Karou
Karou
Veteran Member



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 952
Location: Surrey, B.C., Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
And finally I wonder about these "strings for night firing"
Simply, how are they supposed to work?


Check out Akira Kurosawa's 'Kagemusha'. An ashigaru sniper observes the enemy preparing a commander's HQ during daylight. Expecting the enemy commander to appear under cover of darkness, the sniper aims his gun at the commander's position and uses rope and stones on the ground to 'pre-aim' his gun at the target.

When night falls he aims his gun into the darkness, using the rope and stone markers on the ground to aim at the unseen target.

When the rope is taut, the gun barrel is 'aimed' at the unseen target...SHOOT!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
narukagami
Inkeeper
Inkeeper
Veteran Member



Joined: 21 Nov 2012
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm actually doubting that the "converted" gun was actually converted at all, and wasn't simply a bolt action styled like an older matchlock.

Take a look at the "converted" gun's right side:
http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/server5100/7g4m0/products/29573/images/134588/AL3326B__80833.1351187824.1280.1280.JPG

Compared to a real matchlock's stock:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Antique_Japanese_%28samurai%29_tamegashima_%28matchlock%29_firing_mechanism.JPG

The nature of a matchlock's firing mechanism has that whole side of the stock carved into. Which I don't see ANY evidence of in that bolt-action.

It looks to me like another seller passing something off as something it's not, either willingly or ignorantly.
_________________
"When the Portuguese first landed upon Japan’s shores in 1543, they stroked their handlebar mustaches and said, “You know, that whole honorable swordsman thing is working well for you, but what you really need is our brand of GUNshido.” They then shot the word “PORTUGAL” into the side of the Emperor’s palace." - Omri Petitte, PC Gamer.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Thunberg
Rice Farmer
Rice Farmer
Veteran Member



Joined: 09 Nov 2012
Posts: 30
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
I'm actually doubting that the "converted" gun was actually converted at all, and wasn't simply a bolt action styled like an older matchlock.


I didn't think of that. You're probably right, perhaps someone didn't feel comfortable with shooting guns with those "new" shoulder stocks or some gunmakers wanted to continue make the stocks they made them before.

Quote:
Modern bolt action rifles were used in the war vs Russia. It is really that simple. Converting old matchlocks is not very efficient or cost effective. The conversion mentioned above was 1880, while the Russian war was more than 20 years later.


Well it wouldn’t be surprising if Perrin (and or this Kimbrough guy) was wrong again.

Quote:
Check out Akira Kurosawa's 'Kagemusha'. An ashigaru sniper observes the enemy preparing a commander's HQ during daylight. Expecting the enemy commander to appear under cover of darkness, the sniper aims his gun at the commander's position and uses rope and stones on the ground to 'pre-aim' his gun at the target.

When night falls he aims his gun into the darkness, using the rope and stone markers on the ground to aim at the unseen target.

When the rope is taut, the gun barrel is 'aimed' at the unseen target...SHOOT!


Guess it's Samurai movie time then. Smile

Otherwise it seems like it would be more useful for siege battles with some kind of pre-determined firing zones.

BTW, I know from reading old threads here that there where rifled guns in Japan during the Sengoku era, but where they used for warfare in any greater extent or where they mostly hunting weapons?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
narukagami
Inkeeper
Inkeeper
Veteran Member



Joined: 21 Nov 2012
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thunberg wrote:
Otherwise it seems like it would be more useful for siege battles with some kind of pre-determined firing zones.
It could work on the field as well, actually. In battle early guns were used for volley fire, where you don't aim at individual targets but level the gun at different angles to get the optimal distance, and fire a mass of bullets at a mass of troops, hoping some will drop.

Remember that battles were rarely spontaneous, and often commanders had hours if not days in advance to set up camp and survey the battlefield before the actual fighting. The string would be used to level the gun in advance to fire at predetermined distances, so when the enemy troops were estimated to be at a particular distance, the gunners shoot and lower their guns to the next predetermined point.

It's not "ready, AIM, fire," it's "ready, LEVEL, fire."
_________________
"When the Portuguese first landed upon Japan’s shores in 1543, they stroked their handlebar mustaches and said, “You know, that whole honorable swordsman thing is working well for you, but what you really need is our brand of GUNshido.” They then shot the word “PORTUGAL” into the side of the Emperor’s palace." - Omri Petitte, PC Gamer.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Thunberg
Rice Farmer
Rice Farmer
Veteran Member



Joined: 09 Nov 2012
Posts: 30
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
It's not "ready, AIM, fire," it's "ready, LEVEL, fire."


If I remember correctly, that varied over time, som drill manuals would have the command aim, while some had level. I don't know if there was a practical difference. I think aiming was more emphazied during the 16th century and later on became less common (and then came back when rifles became common), but I don't remember where I got this from.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
estcrh
Artisan
Artisan
Veteran Member



Joined: 20 Dec 2009
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Tanegashima questions Reply with quote
Thunberg wrote:
The first I have question is about Noel Perrin's "Giving Up the Gun", which most people here seems to know about and how its main premise is inaccurate.
What exactly is the inaccurate main premise?

As for tanegashima conversions, there is plenty of evidence that tanegashima were converted, it is the meaning of the word "converted" that may be the root of the problem. Tanegashima were directly converted from matchlocks into percussion rifles. I suppose someone can say a tanegashima was converted into a bolt action by simply taking an unfinished tanegashima stock and fitting it to a bolt action rifle. Its a matter of wording.

Here is a tanegashima that was converted directly to persussion from matchlock.


Another tanegashima stock bolt action. If you look closely it appears as if the stock was filled in.



Here is another image of those tanegashima pan covers.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
lordameth
Awa no Kami
Awa no Kami
Veteran Member
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1821
Location: 南加州

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote:
What exactly is the inaccurate main premise?


I'm sure others can speak to this in more detail, but I think the basic idea is that Japan did *not*, in fact, "give up the gun." Guns, in fact, continued to be produced and wielded in Tokugawa Japan - they just weren't as prominent status symbols as the daishô (swords).

Take a look at the S-A Wiki article on Teppô. There's a picture of an Edo period decorative matchlock pistol, and a description of how guns were kept, used, and regarded among peasants in the Edo period.

I have not, by chance, read anything much about gun use by samurai, or by the authorities, during the Edo period, but I trust that they did in fact keep guns, and use guns, in an extensive way. They did not "give up" the gun. Not hardly.
_________________
My blog on Japanese art & history: http://chaari.wordpress.com

紫水晶殿 - The Amethyst Lord
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
kitsuno
Forum Shogun
Forum Shogun



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 9481
Location: Honolulu, HI

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Tanegashima questions Reply with quote
estcrh wrote:
What exactly is the inaccurate main premise?



http://samuraiarchives.podbean.com/2011/05/29/ep05-the-myth-of-samurai-giving-up-the-gun/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ltdomer98
Daijo Daijin
Daijo Daijin
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 5456
Location: Washington (the one with all the politicians)

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:28 am    Post subject: Re: Tanegashima questions Reply with quote
estcrh wrote:
What exactly is the inaccurate main premise?


That it's a piece of fantasy work by an English literature professor with absolutely no background in Japanese language or history designed to push a gun control agenda in the 1970's (in addition to what others have said).
_________________
Bring it on, laddie 'Domer
The Sengoku Field Manual Blog
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Thunberg
Rice Farmer
Rice Farmer
Veteran Member



Joined: 09 Nov 2012
Posts: 30
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The books have been mentioned in some other threads in addition to the podcast, you can search for them. Simplified it's something like this: "the samurai gave up a technology they saw as harmful, so likewise we can today (1979) abolish nuclear weapons". Except for the fact that the samurai didn't "give up guns", I think it's a faulty comparison between the Cold War and the Edo period. The logic conclusion would be that to get rid of nuclear weapons, the world just needs to accept the supremacy of one government and end the wars. Piece of cake.

That's some nice pictures estcrh. From the picture of the pan covers I posted I thought that the box was open at the front, but here it clearly is closed. So the box still protects the match while loading, as long as the match is kept on the hammer. However the part of the match that is not covered by the box could still get wet unless that was protected by some other means. What is those smaller thingies in the pictures? Are they some kind of sights for compensating for the box?
The stock of the bolt-action rifle looks like it has been a matchlock originally, but I think the barrel is newer; it doesn't have a muzzle swell. Compared to the percussion conversion it looks quite different.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
estcrh
Artisan
Artisan
Veteran Member



Joined: 20 Dec 2009
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thunberg wrote:
The books have been mentioned in some other threads in addition to the podcast, you can search for them. Simplified it's something like this: "the samurai gave up a technology they saw as harmful, so likewise we can today (1979) abolish nuclear weapons".
Have you actually read the book, do you have a copy, if so can you or anyone here articulate a clear precise reason why you believe the facts contained in the book are false. How about a quote from the book that can be proven as inaccurate or false etc, not what you believe the author was trying to say. The book is about the Japanese matchlock, what parts of this book are proven to be blatantly false? I have a copy of this book and have read it thoroughly several times, and I have seen people make up quotes and presume to know what the author had in mind when he wrote it only to find that they had not read the book as well as they thought.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
ltdomer98
Daijo Daijin
Daijo Daijin
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 5456
Location: Washington (the one with all the politicians)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yes, I've read the book. No, I don't own a copy, because I don't like to pay money for things so badly done. But since people with M.A.'s in this stuff don't seem to convince you, let's try PhD's:

Conrad Totman in Journal of Asian Studies, May 1980 wrote:
Giving Up the Gun: Japan's Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879. By NOEL PERRIN. Boston: David R. Godine, Publisher, 1979. Xii, 122 pp. Notes,
Bibliography, Illustrations. $8.95.

Noel Perrin has given us two reasons to cheer and two to lament. We can cheer the presence of a non-specialist who cares enough to learn and write seriously about Japanese history. And we can cheer the appearance of a delightfully readable story chock full of fascinating tidbits of information. But we can lament the making of a bad argument because it precludes the development of a good one and serves the author's cause poorly.

Noel Perrin, who writes and teaches English at Dartmouth, has written this book because, as he sees it, Tokugawa Japan "voluntarily chose to give up an
advanced military weapon and to return to a more primitive one. It chose to do this, and it succeeded. There is no exact analogy to the world's present dilemma about nuclear weapons, but there is enough of one so that the story deserves to be far better known" (p. ix). Writing for a lay readership, Perrin tells a lively story of the introduction, use, and disuse of firearms in Japan from 1543 to I879. His work is free of the impedimenta and caution so dear to the academic world, and instead
bubbles with freshness and enthusiasm.

Perrin argues that Tokugawa Japan consciously chose to abandon firearms. For more than half a century after 1543, he tells us, the Japanese used, produced, and improved firearms with great enthusiasm and success. But subsequently they decided to stop using them. From about i6oo the manufacture and use of guns was curtailed, and a century later few were cast and fewer employed. He enumerates five reasons for this outcome, which boil down to two points. First, he argues that samurai disliked the physical awkwardness of firing guns and attached great symbolic value to swords, and that these attitudes prevailed because samurai influence was so great in society. Second, he argues that during the seventeenth century Japan preferred to deemphasize outside ideas and artifacts, including firearms, and had sufficient geographical isolation and fighting capacity to prevent foreigners from reversing that preference. These are helpful propositions, but they do not really get to the heart of things. The decline in production and use of guns was a byproduct of other developments, not an end in itself. Guns went out of style because war ended. Had it continued, the use of guns would have continued.

The first question, then, is why did the wars end? They ended because an effective despotism was established and perpetuated by the leaders of the Tokugawa regime (the shogunate) and their collaborators. But why, one properly asks, did
guns subsequently become museum pieces rather than the customary weaponry of a peacetime gendarmery? Perrin's comments on samurai attitudes toward gun and
sword identify a part of the answer. A more basic part, which Perrin notes in passing, was the disarming of the general populace, mostly before i6oo. This enabled the samurai rulers to suppress, even without resort to firearms, the riots and
local eruptions that proliferated as the Tokugawa period advanced. With the public rendered defenseless, guns became an unnecessarily expensive and cumbersome instrument of deterrence once intra-samurai struggle had ceased and the samurai rulers
had settled in their castle towns.
Peacekeeping became a matter of urban patrol, and that required dependable weapons that could be used swiftly, quietly, and in close quarters-swords and pikes, not matchlocks. As for foreigners, they did not disrupt
the regime-in part because Tokugawa leaders chose to avoid them, but primarily because the foreigners were preoccupied elsewhere and remained content to let Japan go its own way until the nineteenth century.

It would be misleading, however, to suppose that political leaders eliminated guns from their armories. On the contrary, even after the wars ended, firearms units were retained in the official complements of Tokugawa legions. The shogunate kept
its own select firearms units intact. And in regulations for the daimyo, which the shogunate issued in I634 and again in I649, firearms were called for in quantities determined by a lord's domain: e.g., 20 guns for a very minor lord, 350 for a middle-rank lord, proportionately more for the great barons. Those official levies remained unchanged until I862.That the guns were put in storage and the men in these firearm units did little more than post routine guard is better seen as a measure of the political system's effectiveness at forestalling dissidence than as a measure of
any conscious hostility to firearms per se.
And the superfluity of the weapons explains the decline in firearms production: stored guns rot very slowly.

To support his contention that "selective control of technology" (p. 8 i) does not mean wholesale technological regression, and is therefore desirable today, Perrin seeks to show that the Tokugawa abandonment of guns was not accompanied by general stagnation. Being "soft on the Togukawa" (note: Totman has quotes around this in his review, likely highlighting a particularly egregious typo) myself, I have no quarrel with his upbeat summary of the technological change and economic growth of the Tokugawa period. But a troubling question still remains: who benefited from it, and how much? Perrin quotes foreign commentators of the years 1857 to 1861 to show what a happy, healthy land Japan was. His evidence is too selective; the 1840s and 1850s
had mostly been years of consecutive good harvests. If he had tracked down comments from the I780s or I830s, he could have given us quotations about famine, despair, infanticide, and the sale of children. Then the reader's picture of Tokugawa
Japan would have been very different. Indeed, the easy quelling of widespread riots and local eruptions of the later Tokugawa period should give us pause. Not everyone, it appears, thought the peace worth keeping, but the discontented were too
poorly equipped to do much about it.

Finally, by treating the disuse of firearms as an act of will rather than a byproduct of other developments, Perrin draws questionable conclusions about the lesson for our day. He wants us to learn that just as Tokugawa Japan guided, directed, and stopped "progress," so we today can "choose to forget" (p. 92), and by such a resolute act of will undo the whole process of thermonuclear weapons proliferation. What the Tokugawa experience really teaches us, however, is a more sobering lesson-namely, that the elimination of firearms use required the prior elimination of the sociopolitical conditions promoting it. If that experience contains
a lesson for our day, it is this: if humanity wishes to convert thermonuclear weapons from instruments of destruction to museum pieces, it must first establish the necessary preconditions. How, if at all, can that be done in a multicultural polycentric
world order, and at what cost to whom?

CONRAD TOTMAN
Northwestern University

_________________
Bring it on, laddie 'Domer
The Sengoku Field Manual Blog


Last edited by ltdomer98 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
kitsuno
Forum Shogun
Forum Shogun



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 9481
Location: Honolulu, HI

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think you have misunderstood, this isn't just a few people on the Samurai Archives forum who are putting out some sort of opinion on the book. We aren't putting out a revolutionary theory or belief that the book is wrong - this is how it is accepted in academia. Listen to the podcast, we give various concrete examples that directly contradict what he wrote, and if I remember correctly we cite papers that contradict what he wrote. The fact that there were over 200 gunsmiths in Japan during and by the end of the Edo period, and that guns were used for defense in Japan throughout the Edo period, particularly against the Russians in Ezo, and that villages had stockpiles of guns all point to issues with the book, but we didn't just pull this stuff out of our asses here. The Japanese edition specifically states that the book isn't based in historical fact.

I'm not even trying to argue one way or the other, because that would be like me trying to argue that "samurai didn't follow the philosophy of Bushido in the Sengoku period" because it's just a fact that they didn't. Why argue against something that is patently false, it isn't necessary. If you chose to believe that "Samurai gave up guns", more power to you. But at best, and I mention this in the podcast, a muzzle-loading arquebus is just plain inconvenient to carry around to defend yourself when everyone else is carrying a sword that is ready made hack you without stuffing gunpowder down the barrel, lighting a match, taking aim, and firing while someone is charging you. That's just common sense in peacetime. Guns that are effective in war when you have guys with swords covering you, or are firing from a distance, are inconvenient when a fight breaks out at your favorite bathhouse in peacetime Edo. More than anything else, that's why guns didn't proliferate. They didn't have handheld pistols, they had big ass arm cannons.

Not to mention, in addition to a musket being extremely inefficient and inconvenient for personal defense in peacetime, if you are a samurai, you already have a sword on you. Why strap on a long barreled rifle that you have to load before firing? You could say "samurai gave up daily use of guns because they were inconvenient", but not "they gave up guns out of some moral feeling that guns were a technology of death and destruction that should be removed from society", which is essentially the argument that he puts out.
_________________
Shop Amazon.com, support the Samurai Archives: http://amzn.to/wnDX2j

Subcribe to Blog FeedS-A Podcast homepage


Last edited by kitsuno on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:31 pm; edited 6 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ltdomer98
Daijo Daijin
Daijo Daijin
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 5456
Location: Washington (the one with all the politicians)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
David Waterhouse in Monumenta Nipponica wrote:
Giving Up the Gun. Japan's Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879. By Noel Perrin. David R. Godine, Boston, 1979. xii + 122 pages; illustrated. $8.95.

As an undergraduate in England I once heard a distinguished classicist quote with approval an opinion about Greek tragedy expressed by Virginia Woolf, and ever since I have felt that in scholarship one should not disdain the views of amateurs.
Quote:
Mr Perrin is among other things a professor of English at Dartmouth College, a contributor to the New Yorker, and a farmer; and I am happy to learn from his book that the amateur tradition lives on in New England.
Addressing himself to the general reader, he asks why Japan, having become familiar with firearms in the sixteenth century, turned away from them in the seventeenth; so that in 1855 the commander of the U.S.S. Vincennes found to his astonishment that the people of Tanegashima were almost as ignorant of guns as they had been when the first Portuguese adventurers landed there in 1543.

Mr Perrin describes how this came about, and he singles out five reasons. There was a large warrior class which disliked firearms and felt demeaned by them; firearms were not needed for the defense of the Japanese islands; the sword had symbolic value in Japanese culture; there was a reaction against things Western; and firearms were not so elegant in use as swords. A sixth reason, which emerges from the narrative but is not clearly enunciated, is that the government was afraid of rebellion. Undoubtedly it would be far easier for the Bakufu to put down a rebellion of swordsmen, even if they were samurai, than one of gunners. Guns were used on both sides in the Shimabara Rebellion of 1637, and the authorities would certainly remember this bloody affair.

Using a wide variety of Western sources, and with help from several professional historians of Japan or of elsewhere, Mr Perrin has been able to find the information he wanted, and seems to have got most of it right. He has also had Japanese work translated for him, though not apparently anything by Hora Tomio, that most learned historian of Japanese firearms; and he has some unusual illustrations, including a delightful series of drawings from a 1595 gun manual of the Inatomi school, in the Spencer collection, New York Public Library. His account is further enlivened by references to French, English and Scottish military history; and there are some apt and telling comparisons between the levels of Japanese and Euro-American technology before Meiji. Few specialist writers on Japanese history are able thus to look at it in world perspective. The book also has an excellent bibliography and detailed footnotes.

At times Mr Perrin's enthusiasm leads him to overstate his case. In one footnote he says, 'Japan was capable of mass production nearly a thousand years before any European country was.' This is a reference to Empress Shotoku's order of a million stupas and printed charms, and certainly the technology of printing was understood and practiced in the Far East centuries before Gutenberg. But one should distinguish between mass production and mechanization; and pottery, to name the most obvious case, has been mass-produced throughout Eurasia for at least two thousand years.

The real purpose of the book, however, is to raise the serious question of whether selective control of technology is possible. Mr Perrin argues that it is, in light of the Japanese experience with firearms control. The point is well made: but surely technology advances selectively even when it is not subject to such overt governmental or socio-cultural censorship. Today it is increasingly determined by economic factors, such as the cost of development and marketing; and the costs are further enhanced by the need to satisfy government agencies that are supposed to protect the health and interests of the consumer. Often only governments and large corporations can afford to perfect a new invention; and for short-term economic reasons they may decide not to proceed with it, even if its social utility seems obvious. In these circumstances, however, military technology flourishes, since it is less affected by market forces, and in theory only the health of the enemy will be damaged by it.

Similarly, even if except for firearms Japanese technology before Meiji was quite advanced, its progress since then has not been particularly even. For example, why is the sanitation which Edward Morse admired now well behind that of North America? Moreover, some would say that, despite the urban and industrial pollution, technology in Japan is monitored as closely as it was in Tokugawa times.

Lastly, one cannot take pre-industrial Japan as a model for the stable and prosperous no-growth economy, as any study of Tokugawa economic and social history would show. But having suggested that technology might be halted, Mr Perrin seems to recognize in a wistful postscript that the idea is utopian, just as another New Englander, William James, had to admit in the end that his 'moral equivalent of war' was utopian. Nevertheless, even if this short book poses more questions than it answers, it stimulates some unexpected trains of thought.

DAVID WATERHOUSE University of Toronto

_________________
Bring it on, laddie 'Domer
The Sengoku Field Manual Blog
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
kitsuno
Forum Shogun
Forum Shogun



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 9481
Location: Honolulu, HI

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Looks like Nate has been posting actual articles while I was posting. So yeah, what he said too. And listen to the podcast. We did find more stuff after we recorded that we didn't get to put in, but I think it should cover a lot.
_________________
Shop Amazon.com, support the Samurai Archives: http://amzn.to/wnDX2j

Subcribe to Blog FeedS-A Podcast homepage
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ltdomer98
Daijo Daijin
Daijo Daijin
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 5456
Location: Washington (the one with all the politicians)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Apologies for the formatting--I tried to fix it, but it's a pain copying from a PDF, and it's after midnight.

For anyone not familiar with academic reviews, Totman's in particular is pretty damning. While it may not appear that way, you generally stay nice in reviews. The fact that Waterhouse called him out for being an "amateur" is pretty nasty, in academia.

As Kitsuno said, this isn't just "oh we disagree with his book." It's built on an entirely faulty premise--that Japan or the Tokugawa bakufu "gave up" the use of firearms, for a number of reasons. They didn't "give up" the gun, they "gave up" the scenario in which one uses guns--namely, warfare. And by "give up", we don't mean morally renounce, it was, as Totman says, that they just didn't have any. There were active gun factories through the Tokugawa period, though they didn't produce mass quantities (because why spend the capital to do so when you aren't using them...). As Totman points out, the Bakufu required daimyo to maintain stores of guns. THEY HAD CANNON EMPLACEMENTS AT THE MOUTHS OF EVERY MAJOR HARBOR--a major area of Tokyo, Odaiba, is named after this very thing, because it was built on the islands that originally were outer defense works.

Of course, it doesn't help that Perrin's PRIME source of information is Stephen Turnbull...
_________________
Bring it on, laddie 'Domer
The Sengoku Field Manual Blog
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Thunberg
Rice Farmer
Rice Farmer
Veteran Member



Joined: 09 Nov 2012
Posts: 30
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
estcrh wrote:
]Have you actually read the book, do you have a copy, if so can you or anyone here articulate a clear precise reason why you believe the facts contained in the book are false. How about a quote from the book that can be proven as inaccurate or false etc, not what you believe the author was trying to say. The book is about the Japanese matchlock, what parts of this book are proven to be blatantly false? I have a copy of this book and have read it thoroughly several times, and I have seen people make up quotes and presume to know what the author had in mind when he wrote it only to find that they had not read the book as well as they thought.


I have only read some parts of the book plus an essay from a newspaper Perrin wrote on the subject, which was essentially a shorter version of the book. I found that essay online, but I can't find it now. So maybe my summary of the book was a bit inaccurate. I do know that the book doesn't say stuff like that guns were banned as it's sometimes said what happened, just that the production was put under strict control and was then orders for firearms deliberately was cut down. I'm also aware that Perrin wrote that they had cannon emplacements at their harbours, but that they hardly trained at using them, but I suspect that has more to do that they didn't feel very threatened and not because the samurai saw guns as barbaric .

In addition, I have listened to the podcast episode about the book and read some articles, such as Totman's review that is posted above and "The Social Life of Firearms in Tokugawa Japan" (the SA wiki's article Teppo has that one as source for the Edo period) which stated that the book was incorrect.

The Social Life of Firearms in Tokugawa Japan wrote:
In 1980, Noel Perrin characterized early modern Japan as having ‘given up the gun’.3
His thesis was that the Tokugawa authorities made a conscious decision, after attaining
hegemony over Japan, to forsake firearms and instead ‘revert to the sword’ as the
weapon of choice in conflicts. Perrin does not argue that the Japanese eliminated guns
altogether, but he does suggest that they deliberately allowed the technology to atrophy.
The book is well intentioned, for Perrin hoped that the Japanese case might serve as a
salutary example in a nuclear age. Unfortunately, his central thesis – that the shogunate
consciously gave up guns and reverted to swords – is untenable, and for that reason
(among others) the book is deeply flawed. Still, Perrin usefully reminds us that the
extended Tokugawa peace created opportunities for firearms to develop a new character
as something other than simple weapons.


The reason I asked about the Perrin's account of the bolt-action conversions where that it sounded strange to me and I know he was wrong about some stuff so he could be wrong about this too, see for example the end note here (you have to scroll down to the smaller text).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
maikeruart
Shushou
Shushou
Veteran Member
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 870
Location: Southbridge

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
As a blackpowder shooter it would be easy to
convert matchlock to percussion as they are similarly positioned just make a custom hammer and had a cap nipple to the touch hole. A bolt action would be tough as a matchlock is a
closed barrel system.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
maikeruart
Shushou
Shushou
Veteran Member
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 870
Location: Southbridge

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Also that's why you do not see a flintlock to cap conversion, the parts are placed very differently,.that modification is costly and time consuming.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
estcrh
Artisan
Artisan
Veteran Member



Joined: 20 Dec 2009
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
maikeruart wrote:
A bolt action would be tough as a matchlock is a
closed barrel system.

It is? Then why is it that all Japanese matchlocks have a barrel bolt. As I said, the problem is with the meaning of "conversion", to some people it means the matchlock barrels were converted to bolt action, for others it simply means a bolt action barrel was fitted into a matchlock stock, there is no evidence that I know of were a matchlock barrel was converted to bolt action. If someone were to see a bolt action barrel on a matchlock stock with out close examination and knowledge of fire arms its easy to understand how they may think that the original matchlock barrel was converted to bolt action.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
maikeruart
Shushou
Shushou
Veteran Member
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 870
Location: Southbridge

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I agree with you. By cloed barrel system, I mean the powder and shot go in one end and out the same. Unlike a modern bolt action where you have the breech, and the3 bullet goes out the other end.I was saying converting a matchlock to a modern bolt action would be tough. You would have to modify the modern barrel, as a matchlock barell is not even rifled. Thats why you do not see that many flintlocks turned to percussion, or vice versa, because the lock is situated differently, and it would be a pain in the butt to convert.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
estcrh
Artisan
Artisan
Veteran Member



Joined: 20 Dec 2009
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thunberg wrote:


I have only read some parts of the book plus an essay from a newspaper Perrin wrote on the subject, which was essentially a shorter version of the book. I found that essay online, but I can't find it now. So maybe my summary of the book was a bit inaccurate. I do know that the book doesn't say stuff like that guns were banned as it's sometimes said what happened, just that the production was put under strict control and was then orders for firearms deliberately was cut down. I'm also aware that Perrin wrote that they had cannon emplacements at their harbours, but that they hardly trained at using them, but I suspect that has more to do that they didn't feel very threatened and not because the samurai saw guns as barbaric .

In addition, I have listened to the podcast episode about the book and read some articles, such as Totman's review that is posted above and "The Social Life of Firearms in Tokugawa Japan" (the SA wiki's article Teppo has that one as source for the Edo period) which stated that the book was incorrect.


Buy and read the book BEFORE reviewing it.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0879237732/ref=tmm_pap_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used&qid=1006228001&sr=1-1

Before anyone repeats what they have heard about this book I suggest that they buy a copy (less than $10 used), you should remember that this book was written before the internet was available and that at the time there were no other books in English solely about Japanese matchlocks, before this book most people had no idea that samurai used firearms and had no knowledge of the history of these guns. As with any other author on the subject of Japanese history, arms and armor there are some things that looking back over 30 years could be changed but what well known author on the subject can you not say the same thing about, Anthony Bryant, Ian Bottomly, George Stone all have written things that looking back could be changed, the point is that this book was the first of its kind and even now there are only two other books in English that I know of that are exclusively about Japanese matchlocks.

Having a PHD etc makes someone special???
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
ltdomer98
Daijo Daijin
Daijo Daijin
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 5456
Location: Washington (the one with all the politicians)

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Okay, why are you so invested in convincing people this book is good? I've read it. Multiple times. It's not good. I've posted reviews by two reviewers in the leading academic journals in the field. They very kindly say it's amateurish and abjectly wrong.

No, having a PhD doesn't make someone "special". Noel Perrin has a PhD. Having a PhD in premodern Japanese history, like Conrad Totman DOES, and Noel Perrin DOESN'T, means they've read a heck of a lot more about the subject, likely including texts from the period. When you have a problem with your eyes, do you go to a dentist?

Yes, every author writes something that someone else can question, and may in fact be wrong. But Tony Bryant or Bottomley aren't propagating myths, myths that have taken hold in the collective conscious of what the Western world knows of as "Japan", and yet are abjectly false. As Kitsuno says, the Japanese language of this book has a disclaimer up front that says it is not based on fact--now why, praytell, would it have that? Probably because most Japanese could tell you that romantic notions about choosing to give up guns as dangerous or dishonorable make for a good story, but are not factual.

I don't quite understand what you are looking for. You asked for why it was wrong. We told you--the underlying premise of the book, that Japan "gave up the gun" and deliberately moved away from using them as a society, is wrong, as evidenced by the presence of guns in daimyo armories, the continuance of production, the demonstrated falsehood of any "cult of the sword" which instructed samurai that guns were evil and cowardly.

You tell people to buy the book--to what end? I've read it at least three times, and use it as a source in my research--much like Turnbull, as a source that gives a narrative that's completely wrong. Do you want a blow by blow, page by page breakdown of it? Frankly, if that's what you need to convince you that it isn't correct, then you are way to invested in believing in it. Are you going to pay me for the time? Are you going to provide a copy to me for me to go through page by page? If the answer is no, and no, then I suggest you stop asking.

No, scratch that--tell you what: if you provide me the book, then I'll go through it line by line. I'm not going to go spend $10 or even $2 of my money to buy a book I've already read and don't like. But if you can scan and send me a copy of yours, I'll do that.

But, if you want to continue to believe a narrative pushed by someone who is NOT a specialist in Japanese history, contrary to the research done by those who ARE specialists in Japanese history, then by all means, do so.
_________________
Bring it on, laddie 'Domer
The Sengoku Field Manual Blog
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // Arms and Armor All times are GMT - 10 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 1 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Help the Samurai Archives




alexisRed v1.2 // Theme Created By: Andrew Charron // Samuraized By: Aaron Rister

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group