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Tensho 3 5/21 Hour of the Hare

 
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Bethetsu
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:57 pm    Post subject: Tensho 3 5/21 Hour of the Hare Reply with quote
This, of course is the start of the Battle of Nagashino, well after the Heian Period, but my comments are calendar related, so I am writing them here.

I guess I am the other of the two visitors at Nathan's site. I tried to comment on it there, but I could not convince the site that I had a profile. I told it that I was Bethetsu from the SA forum, but it was unimpressed. I thought of photographing my profile and pasting the file in, but decided that would probably not work. I cannot comment on the podcasts for the same reason. So I am writing here.

Anyway, Nate described his leisurely visit to the Nagashino  battlesite on Aug 12 early in the morning. I can understand his enthusiasm for this hands-on (and feet and eyes-on) visit.

So calendar comments? The battle was on 5/21, which was June 29 by the western calendar, which was at that time the Julian calendar. That would correspond to Gregorian July 9. So for tables of various phenomena like sunrise, one needs to make sure which calendar, Julian or Gregorian, the table is using for a date, not just use straight forward assumptions. If the table is for after 1582, it probably uses Gregorian. As I explain below, it doesn't make very much difference in the conclusion, but it is good to get it right when writing up the material.

Since the battle was after the solstice when the sun is farthest north, and Nathan was there a month later, on the day of the battle the sun rose somewhat further north than when he saw it, but with a long line, that probably did not make much difference.

Hour of the Hare 卯の時
I have not really read up on telling time, but I do have some relevant observations.
"the hour of the X" can have two meanings. one is one of the 12 double-hours into which the (24-hour) day is divided into, the other is the central point of that hour. The time given probably used the first, the broad meaning. They did measure time in 14-minute koku 刻, 1/100 of a day, but probably not on the battlefield. 
Thus the Kojien gives two meanings for H. Hare (u no toki), 6 am and 5-7 am. However the times are just the conventional correspondence. Actually, the length of the double-hours for most purposes (not for times on  calendars) was dependent on the season. The H. Rat was always midnight, and H. Horse was always noon, but H. Hare was the time of the sunrise (or of daybreak) and H. Bird was the time of sunset (or of twilight). The hours between were distributed evenly, so the day and night hours were unequal. The change of the length of hours with the season was also true of hours in the ancient and classical Near East. So if H. Hare was 4:30 am and H. Bird was 7:30 pm, the day double-hours of the Dragon through Monkey were 150 min. long, while the night double-hours of the Dog through Tiger were only 90 minutes long. So H. Hare would be from about 45 min. before sunrise (or daybreak) and last for about 120 min.
Was H. Hare at sunrise or at daybreak (BMNT)? This does not really matter, because if the writers were using the broader definition, both would be in the H. Hare. It seems that we are not really sure about details and difference in usage before the shogunate took  over time in 1685.  The book I checked has both possibilities on the diagram. The 1685 calendar definitely used daybreak, which was calculated as 2.5/100 day = 2 1/2刻=36 min. before sunrise. But in any case, the Hour of the Hare should probably be interpreted as "sometime around sunrise" rather than a fixed time like 5:00.
While you were in Okazaki did you visit one of the two hatcho miso factories? I have a book that that talks a lot about them (The Book of Miso), but I have never tasted any of the miso myself.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
While reading Nate's post I noticed that he and Thomas Conlan use different times for the beginning of the battle (although presumably basing them on the same source) and also chalked it up to the vagueness of the 'animal hour' system.
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