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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:28 pm    Post subject: Nobunaga Death Mask Reply with quote
The so-called Nobunaga death mask has been in the news of late. To tell you the truth, it should be left to the conspiracy theories garbage on the History Channel. I think it is a fake. If this was the real Nobunaga death mask, it would have been known to the public many years ago.

I did write a blog post on it. http://otsuke.blogspot.com/2014/07/nobunagas-death-mask.html

Also there is another article on the web that I found this morning.

http://mantan-web.jp/2014/07/30/20140729dog00m200055000c.html

I know Egypt, Greece, and Rome did death masks. Also it was a French fad during the French Revolution.
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lordameth
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've seen one of Cromwell's death masks.

As for this, seems exceptionally unlikely, given that it wasn't a tradition in Japan, right? And, besides, if we think of the specific conditions under which Nobunaga died - I don't know the precise details, so pardon me if I get this wrong, but, didn't he commit seppuku as the temple was surrounded and being burnt down? When would someone have made a death mask? Go out and get some clay from somewhere, and stick it over the lord's face right before, or right after he dies, just as temple is burning down around you? I don't think so.

Now, paintings of Nobunaga made sometime before his death, or after, that I could absolutely believe. But this... well, if it is true, it's pretty incredible.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
lordameth wrote:
When would someone have made a death mask? Go out and get some clay from somewhere, and stick it over the lord's face right before, or right after he dies, just as temple is burning down around you? I don't think so.


Oh yiiish, I saw the post linked at Otsuke's blog. Supposedly the black guy who Nobu employed picked up his head and ran off with it... Or something to that effect O___O

That just sounds incredibly full of nonsense O___O
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Oh it is full of nonsense. The mask looks like the late actor Basil Rathbone. Interesting story that is hard to believe.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
hashiba_hideyoshi wrote:
Oh yiiish, I saw the post linked at Otsuke's blog. Supposedly the black guy who Nobu employed picked up his head and ran off with it... Or something to that effect O___O

That just sounds incredibly full of nonsense O___O
I think that is one thing we can disprove. I read the page Les referenced. "Samurai History & Culture Japan"
It is true that "Yasuke" was at Honnoji when Akechi attacked. The account in Frois's 1882 letter (I have a Japanese translation in front of me) says that after Nobunaga's death he went to the residence of Nobunaga's heir and fought long against Akechi's forces, so the Jesuits were not a little worried about him, but he finally surrendered to one of Akechi's men, and Akechi ordered him taken to the church. The "Samurai History & Culture Japan" site follows that, though with mistakes and additions--Gracia was not yet a Christian, and why would they assume Yasuke was whisked out of the country just because he is not mentioned again?

But then "According to records kept by the Nishiyama clan, close retainers of the Oda, Yasuke was not empty handed when he fled the burning Honnoji. He was carrying the sword Nobunaga used to commit seppuku. He was also carrying Nobunaga’s head! Yasuke was entrusted with the head to prevent it ever falling into the hands of the Akechi. Apparently, the Christian missionaries then followed the European custom of making a death mask of eminent persons."
So Akechi's men let him keep a bulky object and maybe even Nobunaga's sword with him when they took him to the church? Also, why is there no hint of that in Frois's report? You would think it would be described in detail.
But the main problem for me in saying that Yasuke had Nobunaga's head is in Frois's description of Nobunaga's death-- it was unknown how he actually died. (Forensic science and DNA testing was a little behind in those days.) "Some say he cut his belly, while others believe that he set fire to the palace and perished in the flames. What we do know, however, is that of this man, who made everyone tremble,... there did not remain even a small hair which was not reduced to dust and ashes." (English translation in Cooper's They Came to Japan, p. 103)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I am looking at my Oda Nobunaga Sogo Jiten by Okada Masahito. Near the end of the book, it has all the major listed where they were at during the Honnoji Rebellion. According to Masahito, Frois was doing work in Kuchinotsu in Hizen Province which was near Nagasaki (421-422). If this was true, Frois was far away from the action. Possibly he had to interview Yasuke on what happend at the Honnoji. I do believe that if there was a mask, it would have noted by the Jesuits a long time ago.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Frois was not in Kyoto, but his letter was the official report, so he used the letters sent from Jesuits around the country, apparently often quoting them verbatim. This can be seen where in the report about Nobunaga's death when he writes "I was just changing clothes for the early mass," apparently just copying Father Carion's letter word for word. So Frois would be just saying what the Kyoto Jesuits (the supposed mask-makers) said, and they would be repeating what Yasuke told them. He probably did not interview Yasuke in person.

By the way, I don't think Yasuke would have gone to Nobutada to warn him... From the noise at least Nobutada must have known already, and Frois says Yasuke went after Nobunaga's death. Rather, seeing that Nobunaga was dead, or at least his case was hopeless, Yasuke did what he could, went to fight for his heir.
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