Greetings from Solveig!
> I sincerely doubt your statement. Vague examples do not constitute
> a precdent nor a
> historical claim.
What sort of evidence do you require? The business about headship and
inheritance is from Mass. You can plough through the Mass stuff if
you want to. He really is one of the very few English Language big
name experts on the Kamakura period.
> There are many incidents of many things: I do not recall anyone
> in premodern Japan forming a guild of female samurai for the
> purposes of brewing alcohol,
I don't recall you putting either of those details in your earlier
posting. Guilds in the Society are often study groups. I would not
expect there to be much in the way of monopoly guilds of "samurai" of
either gender in the likely period of interest of your friends and
acquaintances. The closest we come to guilds of military folk might
be one of the early uji. However, those were usually trade
specialties as the uji generally had farming and military components
as well as their craft specialties.
> all in the same location, at the same time. If I am to assume that
> these individuals hold
> the same level of prestige as Kamakura estate leaders, than I think
> we should hand out
> kegutsu all around.
Estate leaders? You should clarify what you mean. However, Mass is
quite explicit about inheritance and leadership roles being held by
> Also, Tamagawa Endo. "Onna Bugeisha no koufu." 'Muromachi-jidai
> kenkyuu.' 2002:2.
> In fact, Tamagawa argues that "female samurai" is an ahistorical
If you want to get particularly snarky about terminology, (as I
recall) Prof. Kenneth Richards insists that "samurai" originally
referred to female servants in the imperial court. This is related to
the verb "saburau". This little tidbit came up in my Classical
Japanese course. Regardless, the bukke were a class. The question
should be whether or not there were female soldiers or female
military commanders. Some of the obvious examples come from the Nihongi.
> On both points you have sought to challenge me on, I have
> responded with published, refereed counter-examples.
Ahh. What refereed counter-examples? You cite one above. Where are
the others? Unless possibly you are referring to the vague reference
to an article appearing in the the journal of the Green Society.
> I do not wish to take up your valuable research time. So I will
> avoid distracting you with
> my replies. Debating loose examples, without reference, does not
> interest me either. So I
> will no further interfere with your busy schedule.
Oh good grief! If you are referring to my having to run off a couple
of hours ago. I did in fact run off and I am back. Incidentally, the
English language Sen Soshitsu book that I referred to having is: "The
Japanese Way of Tea: From Its Origins in China to Sen Rikyu", by Sen
Shoshitsu XV trans. V. Dixon Morris. The other English language tea
books which I have ready to had are "Tea in Japan: Essays on the
History of Chanoyu" by Paul Varley and Kamakura Isao, and
"Rediscovering Rikyu: and the beginnings of the Japanese Tea
Ceremony" by Herbert Plutschow.
Now then. Grabbing a few books off one of my book shelves.
"In fact, the Kamakura lord [Minamoto no Yoritomo] distributed jito
posts to anyone, warrior or non-warrior, male or female, whom he
might wish to reward." (Mass. Lordship and Inheritance in Early
Medieval Japan. p. 44)
"A fourth new practice, already referred to, received its first
stimulus from Yoritomo. This was the proliferation -- after 1205 --
of women jito. Women, in fact, came to hold these titles by four
major routes. First, they might simply be appointed -- as occurred in
1220 to a woman of Izu Province. What makes this case interesting is
that the woman had a brother, who served as her deputy (itodai). A
second, more common route was the assignment of titles previously
held by a woman's husband. Remarkably, at least some of these cases
followed treachery by those husbands against the Bakufu. More logical
and normal were assignments to widows whose husbands had died, not
treacherously, but loyally in battle. A variation involved intestat
cases -- husbands who had died before writing their wills. The final
two routes were the most common of all: women who inherited jito
titles from a parent or spouse; and women who were invested with an
executor's authority to follow the death of their husband.
As a result of these reforms, women of the warrior elite reached the
acme of their power and influence. As we shall see, this development
proved only ephemeral; it was in decline by the late thirteenth
century. But for several generations, unmarried women and women as
widows had the potential to dominate their families. The widow of
Yoritomo, Hojo Masako, is only the most famous example. At any rate,
the origins of this phenomenon, so central to the history of the
family, clearly bear closer scrutiny.' (ibid. p. 48-49)
There is lots of this stuff up until at least the Jokyu War. Mass
"A month before the outbreak of hostilities a female released her
jito titles to an eldest daughter. At the same time, she promised the
inheritance to her son. We see in this episode a classic example of
an ichigo conveyance -- arranged in this instance by a woman! The
Hojo-controlled Bakufu duly confirmed the release." (ibid. pg. 54)
The Jokyu War complicates the issue concerning women as the Bakufu
leadership called on "family heads" (which at this time included
women) for service in the Bakufu army during the Jokyu War. [ibid.
Mass provides an entire chapter [ibid ch 3] on the Soryo (house head)
system. Here inheritance was from soryo to chakushi (principal heir)
and mass goes on to illustrate cases where daughers served as
principal heirs even when there were sons! Mass goes on at some
length describing cases where various women achieved soryo status.
"For example, a father who had received his inheritance from his
mother now bequeathed it in perpetuity to his eldest daugher; she
became house head and a Kamakura vassal in 1239. (ibid. p. 77)
Female inheritance persisted into the 14th century:
"Conveyed: Tamura Village in Hitachi Province; the deputyship (daikan
shiki) of Katayama Village, Kanabara ho, Igu Estate, Mutsu Province,
and land near the western gate in Kamakura. The aforesaid places are
deeded to my daughter, the Lady Kaisu. Let there be no disturbancves
about this. Should something untoward arise, judgment shall lie with
her mother (haha no hakarai). Should there be no children, release
will be made to her younger sisters. Wherefore, this instrument is
thus. 3d year of Genkyo , 11th month, 3d day uemon no jo,
Sadayuki." (ibid. pg. 287)
Mass also writes:
"In sum, the values of Kamakura society seemed to require a show of
public deference to males by females. Yet, as we have seen, the
realities of power might be very differernt. Anonymity became an
extension of namelessness only in the absence of an
inheretance." (Mass. Antiquity and Anachronims in Japanese History.
Mass also goes on in this book about jito titles and shiki rights and
control of estates being held by women during the kamakura period.
We also meet prominent women during earlier times:
"The other unit was much larger, having four officials, as was
appropriate for an imperial relative of the Second Degree (nihon).
Scholars disagree over the identity of the patron of the second
organization, but many, including archaeologists at the Nara National
Cultural Properties Research Institute, think it belonged to Nagay's
chief wife, Princess Kibi. Other recrods indicate that Kibi was known
as the Northern Mistress. ... Her mother was Emperor Genmei, her
brother Emperor Mommu, and her sister Emperor Gensho. ..." (Wm. Wayne
Farris. Sacred Texts and Buried Treasures: Issues in the Historical
Archaeology of Ancient Japan. p. 227)
Look. I never claimed that there were vast amazonian armies in
premodern Japan. However, I believe that it is safe to claim that
there were more female leaders in premodern Japan than the total
population of just about any SCA barony. There is a LOT of evidence
for women holding office and family headship up through the mid-
Kamakura period. There are accounts of women taking to the field
dating as far back as the Nihongi and continuing up through about the
Mikiso Hane of Knox College goes so far in "Premodern Japan: A
Historical Survey" as to claim that local leaders were primarily
female in early Japan.
He claims that women only lost inheritance and leadership rights
during the Sengoku period. Another thing, we do see interesting
village leadership patterns, but I would have to go rummaging to try
and find my sources for that one, and to be honest most of my sources
are packed away in boxes.
Unfortunately, I have once more to go off and do things which I must
accomplish in the near future. So, for now at least, anon.
Your Humble Servant