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Daisho and Samurai = Knight

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  • Ii Saburou Katsumori (Joshua B.)
    ... I m not going to try to get embroiled in the kegutsu discussion right now, but I do want to comment on something you said here, because I believe you do
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 25, 2006
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      On 11/23/06, John Lyon <toramassa@...> wrote:
      > On 11/23/06, Solveig Throndardottir <nostrand@...> wrote:
      > > > I have told them that I don't for the same reason I don't wear a
      > > > Daisho, I don't want to send a message that I think I am anyone's
      > > > squire or think myself a
      > > > Samuari which I equate to knight.
      > >
      > > Why do you make this equation? It appears to be ahistorical. The buke
      > > was a huge class. Members of the buke wore two swords. The wearing of
      > > two swords was ,mandated during the Edo period. However, the practice
      > > can be dated to the Muromachi period. Basically, grunt soldiers who
      > > ran around bare footed in battle were entitled to wear two swords.
      > > This assertion can be substantiated.
      >
      > The reason is a personal one. Just as I know that there is nothing
      > that stops me from wearing a red belt and a silver chain, I know that
      > there is nothing that stops me from wearing a daisho. I thank you for
      > the bit of information about the historical practice related to the
      > swords, as I have stated my historical knowledge is shocking in it's
      > limits. But my feeling on the subject isn't changed, with the belt or
      > the swords people might still believe I am claiming something I am
      > not. Some might ask me and others will simply assume that I am. The
      > Daisho in most minds (like mine) have heard that it is a symbol of a
      > Samuari, and if Samuari are equvilant to knights then you have the
      > obvious assertion.

      I'm not going to try to get embroiled in the kegutsu discussion right
      now, but I do want to comment on something you said here, because I
      believe you do yourself a disservice unecessarily.

      "if Samuari are equvilant to knights then you have the obvious assertion."

      I believe this has been gone over before, but the 'samurai' (or, more
      practically 'bushi') are not the equivalent of 'knights'--not
      properly. I base this on several reasons:

      1) Knighthood was granted. Yes, you could be born into a knightly
      family, but there was still a point where you 'became' a knight. The
      Buke class was something that you were born into, and though people
      may have been able to change in their life, it was not a title given
      as much as it was a recognition of your place in the caste system of
      Japan. BTW, if you want to use 'knight' in its sense as a 'chevalier'
      you could probably use 'kishi' as a more appropriate term, although
      this isn't exactly a one-to-one correspondence either.

      2) SCA Knighthood is fairly ahistorical--that is, we do things like
      reserve the terms 'Sir' and 'Master' for the highest orders in our
      organization, yet let 'Lords' run around at a whim. In Europe,
      knighthood was about the lowest order of nobility. I believe, as was
      pointed out, that KSCA is truly meant to represent one of the ordered
      knighthoods, such as the Order of the Garter. If we tried a direct
      correlation of SCA practice with Japanese practice then AoA's could go
      around as Daimyo, but you couldn't be a 'samurai' until you were
      knighted, and personally I think that would be a rather silly way to
      do it.

      3) Japanese had ranking systems. They had several, with the most
      long-standing being the court ranks handed out, ostensibly, by the
      emperor. There was also ranking within the various bakufu, but I'm
      not sure how much that changed and the what changed, so the Imperial
      court ranks I find to be easiest to apply to our situation. By
      equating SCA awards with the Imperial court rank system, I believe you
      have a good way of achieving the spirit of the award system the SCA
      intended. Hiraizumi-gimi has written up a recommendation here:
      http://www.sengokudaimyo.com/miscellany/address.html

      4) The 'daisho' doesn't really indicate that you are a 'samurai' in
      period, except for MAYBE the last 10 years. From what I can put
      together, and I'm using mostly online sources and my own memory right
      at the moment, there were several 'sword hunts' (katanagari),
      including ones issued by Oda Nobunaga and other lords in their domains
      to disarm peasants--I'm not sure if this applied to merchants and
      artisans as well, though. In 1588, Toyotomi Hideyoshi issued the
      largest sword hunt that I'm aware of, as well as issuing several other
      edicts that attempted to put a stop to the banditry and ronin that he
      saw as threatening his power. It was in 1591, however, that he issued
      his Separation Edict that separated the 'samurai' class from the
      peasant, merchant, and artisan classes. It should be noted, though,
      that 'ashigaru'--the foot soldiers--were considered to be 'samurai'.

      So, if you are allowed to carry arms for your king and kingdom, then
      you are serving as 'samurai' (which means 'to serve') and should
      therefore be allowed to wear two swords even if you are not knighted.

      As a little sidenote, however, the daisho is generally a later period
      practice, anyway, and appears to be initially used among the lower
      ranking bushi, while the more accomplished daimyo continue to use the
      tachi, worn edge down, as their main sword. Regardless, I wouldn't
      even say a tachi should be restricted to only knights, unless you
      think that only knights should fight out on the field.

      Until the SCA says otherwise, I would encourage you to wear the daisho
      without any fear of presumption. If someone should question your
      decision, I would simply try to have the facts on hand to present to
      them. We are, ostensibly, partly a teaching organization as well as
      anything else.

      In closing I hope that I have not come across harshly. I think that
      your goal is noble and honorable, but I think that you do yourself and
      others a disservice without realizing. Thus I hope I have given you
      some food for thought.

      Oh, and I'm not getting into the white hakama-ties issue now. That's
      an issue of another day (or many days past, dead, and buried).


      -Ii
    • Anthony J. Bryant
      ... ... Bravo!! ... Good idea. :) Effingham
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 25, 2006
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        Ii Saburou Katsumori (Joshua B.) wrote:

        > I'm not going to try to get embroiled in the kegutsu discussion right
        > now, but I do want to comment on something you said here, because I
        > believe you do yourself a disservice unecessarily.

        <snip>

        > Until the SCA says otherwise, I would encourage you to wear the daisho
        > without any fear of presumption. If someone should question your
        > decision, I would simply try to have the facts on hand to present to
        > them. We are, ostensibly, partly a teaching organization as well as
        > anything else.

        Bravo!!

        > Oh, and I'm not getting into the white hakama-ties issue now. That's
        > an issue of another day (or many days past, dead, and buried).

        Good idea. :)


        Effingham
      • John Lyon
        Thank you both for your reasoned and cheery responses. I will have to consider them strongly. I don t currently have a short sword so wearing the Daisho isn t
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 25, 2006
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          Thank you both for your reasoned and cheery responses. I will have to
          consider them strongly. I don't currently have a short sword so wearing the
          Daisho isn't currently possible at the present moment. I suppose I still
          bear a kernal of fear that I will get someone upset and confronting me about
          my choice of accessory.

          On 11/25/06, Anthony J. Bryant <anthony_bryant@...> wrote:
          >
          > Ii Saburou Katsumori (Joshua B.) wrote:
          >
          > > I'm not going to try to get embroiled in the kegutsu discussion right
          > > now, but I do want to comment on something you said here, because I
          > > believe you do yourself a disservice unecessarily.
          >
          > <snip>
          >
          > > Until the SCA says otherwise, I would encourage you to wear the daisho
          > > without any fear of presumption. If someone should question your
          > > decision, I would simply try to have the facts on hand to present to
          > > them. We are, ostensibly, partly a teaching organization as well as
          > > anything else.
          >
          > Bravo!!
          >
          > > Oh, and I'm not getting into the white hakama-ties issue now. That's
          > > an issue of another day (or many days past, dead, and buried).
          >
          > Good idea. :)
          >
          > Effingham
          >
          >



          --
          "You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I
          thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible
          things that happen to us come becuase we actually deserve them? So, now I
          take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe."
          -Marcus to Franklin in Babylon 5

          John Lyon
          aka The Ugly Dragon
          aka Kita Jiru Toramassa


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        • Ii Saburou Katsumori (Joshua B.)
          ... Well, don t go out and buy one just because we said you /could/. I wouldn t say that you must have one--only that you could wear one if you want. Even
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 26, 2006
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            On 11/26/06, John Lyon <toramassa@...> wrote:
            >
            > Thank you both for your reasoned and cheery responses. I will have to
            > consider them strongly. I don't currently have a short sword so wearing the
            > Daisho isn't currently possible at the present moment. I suppose I still
            > bear a kernal of fear that I will get someone upset and confronting me about
            > my choice of accessory.
            >
            Well, don't go out and buy one just because we said you /could/. I
            wouldn't say that you must have one--only that you could wear one if
            you want. Even when there were rules that you *must* wear it, the
            only rules I've seen pertain to official functions--not everyday wear.

            -Ii
          • John Solomon
            I personally have been wearing my swords in the SCA for many years and never has anyone made a comment to me about them or my rank (I have only an AoA).
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 26, 2006
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              I personally have been wearing my swords in the SCA for many years and never has anyone made a comment to me about them or my rank (I have only an AoA). Although at most event in doors I don't bother to take my daito as I would just take it off anyway. At war I always wear both unless I am going some were that they are not aloud (Lady Solveig Tea Ceremony etc.) or I am dressed as a commoner (usually do to the weather, too hot for 2 kosode and Kataginu), then I were only my tanto or shoto.

              It should be noted that a "Daisho" could be a matching katana and tanto or aikuchi as well as a wakizashi. Also that before the advent of the "Daisho" samurai would were a second smaller sword or knife (tanto, aikuchi or uchi-gatana).

              Obata Torashi


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Solveig Throndardottir
              Noble Cousins! Greetings from Solveig! Ii dono wrote a rather good note about the bushi and their role in Japanese society. I agree pretty much with what he
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 26, 2006
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                Noble Cousins!

                Greetings from Solveig! Ii dono wrote a rather good note about the
                bushi and their role in Japanese society.
                I agree pretty much with what he said except for two things. One is
                his hesitance about the sword hunts. Yes,
                they did occur and were directed at separating out the military
                caste. Unless, of course, we are both suffering
                from false memory of reading books that for some reason are on my
                bookshelf at the moment, but which don't
                actually exist. The other is of course his pointing quite so solidly
                to Baron Edward's rank system. Baron Edward
                and I take two different approaches to translating the SCA award
                system to the Japanese rank system. The
                difference revolves around who to identify SCA kings with and by
                implication where to locate Japanese recreation
                within Japan. One interesting and even justifiable extreme is to
                identify SCA kings with the shugo-daimyou. This
                can be justified by sixteenth century and nineteenth century Euro-
                American perception of their role and status.

                Baron Edward chooses to equate an SCA king with the Tennou (emperor).
                I choose to equate the SCA king with
                the Sei-i-tai-shougun (lit. barbarian suppressing generalissimo).
                Actually, I am inclined to the even more complex
                approach of matching the equation to the period of interest of the
                individual. Regardless, Baron Edward generally
                recommends higher court ranks than I do. The Sei-i-tai-shougun could
                be the effective military ruler of the country,
                but his court rank was only 5 and consequently had, in principle at
                least, limited access to the emperor. Since
                members of the Society are most often interested in the military
                class, I think that my approach has much to recommend it.

                Regardless, Ii dono and I very much agree that the buke was a caste.
                He also rightly points out that caste immobility
                was pretty much a creation of the Azuchi-Momoyama period and the
                following Edo period.

                Finally, Japanese recreation is at a political disadvantage in the
                SCA. Consequently, I believe that people interested in Japanese
                recreation need to do a better job than their Frankish peers at
                research and recreation. While you might easily be able to get away
                with just about anything that feels good if you claim to be French or
                English and nobody will try to throw you out, as a Japanophile
                you really do need to seize the moral and scholarly high ground of
                fidelity to history.

                Your Humble Servant
                Solveig Throndardottir
                Amateur Scholar
              • Solveig Throndardottir
                Noble Cousins! Greetings from Solveig! http://www.nikkoku.net/nk_online/index.html Your Humble Servant Solveig Throndardottir Amateur Scholar
                Message 7 of 7 , Nov 26, 2006
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                  Noble Cousins!

                  Greetings from Solveig!

                  http://www.nikkoku.net/nk_online/index.html

                  Your Humble Servant
                  Solveig Throndardottir
                  Amateur Scholar
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