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6261Re: Ronin

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  • Susan and Frank Downs
    Oct 9, 2001
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      I didn't originally intend to engage in sophistry, but here goes:

      Sure, dangerous, feared, possibly loathed, alien, outside the system, but
      "riff-raff?" Universally? Really?
      >
      > Yes of course. Armed wanderers who have no village, no responsibilities
      > to anyone, in a society where cooperation is paramount to surviving?

      No. By asserting your claim as universally true, you allow it to be
      invalidated with even a single counterexample. Clearly there were ronin
      wandering around teaching martial arts hoping their contract would be picked
      up by some daimyo. These guys would have to maintain some aura of
      respectability, or what self-respecting daimyo would even consider letting
      them instruct the troops? Other guys were simply hoping to get picked up as
      some of these troops. Sure the daimyo hired riff raff as ashigaru, but if
      one had previously been a warrior of quality, wouldn't one maintain one's
      respectability, even in poverty, in hopes of restoration to a similar
      status? There must have been some premium on quality when demand was high.
      As Effingham dono has noted, "In the sengoku period,few people really seem
      to have stayed ronin forever, given the great need for trained fighting
      men."

      > There has to be a reason they were thrown out into the wilderness.
      > Probably becuase they were no-goodniks.

      Again, no. A samurai's term of service was not always a life tenure. If
      one's master fell on hard times, he might simply not renew one's contract.
      The fishing village view of Medieval Japan you promulgate is entirely too
      simplistic and prone to generalizations. Sengoku Japan had some of the
      world's great urban centers and a much more fluid social structure than a
      fishing village. No one in Kyoto or Osaka could know everyone else and
      therefore be suspicious of every stranger. Yes, my examples are out of
      period; mea culpa. They were intended to show that through his conduct a
      ronin could earn a measure of respect. It seemed to me that if this were
      true under the incredibly rigid Tokugawa regime, it would obviously be true
      in the more fluid sengoku era. Please ignore them.

      >>>
      >>> "A lone warrior in Japan is last I heard a ronin. In short, unemployed
      >>> riff-raff. Not the knight errant of Western fantasy literature."
      >>>
      >
      > I'm not comparing them to knights errant.

      The other main point I was trying to make, other than that not _all_ ronin
      were riff raff, was that they did, in fact occupy a position very similar to
      _real_ knights errant as opposed to those of fantasy literature. I stand by
      this.

      > I was pointing out that the
      > villagers had to hire scum. That they were scum. Barely surviving. In
      > addition, if you will remember the villagers thought themselves very
      > fortunate that they weren't killed outright by the very ronin they
      > sought to hire. It was, from the story, at least somewhat expected.

      And my point is that they were _not_ scum, even those that appeared to be;
      they were willing to give their lives in protection of those they served,
      even with little hope of reward, and thus were paragons of bushido and
      epitomized the word Samurai.

      > --
      > James A Barrows
      > Software Developer
      > Oppurtunity doesn't knock, it only presents itself after you kick down
      > the door.
      > --Kyle Chandler

      > You really should not attempt to be one of these people directly. Their
      > role is not one that you can simply step into.
      >
      > Your Humble Servant
      > Solveig Throndardottir
      > Amateur Scholar

      I have no intention of claiming to be any of these people. I also have no
      inention of encouraging people to adopt ronin personae, which I find almost
      as silly as ninja in the SCA context. Good luck staying out of households
      and not getting awards! Rather, I think I'll stick with my current persona
      of 17 years as a retired daimyo (read landed baron), ongoing court baron,
      and squire (yeah, I know that's illogical, but that's our society) who has
      no qualms about fealty, thank you.
      --
      Takenoshita Naro
      Frank Downs
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