Daisho and Samurai = Knight
- On 11/23/06, John Lyon <toramassa@...> wrote:
> On 11/23/06, Solveig Throndardottir <nostrand@...> wrote:I'm not going to try to get embroiled in the kegutsu discussion right
> > > 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.
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
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:
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
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 Saburou Katsumori (Joshua B.) wrote:
> I'm not going to try to get embroiled in the kegutsu discussion right<snip>
> now, but I do want to comment on something you said here, because I
> believe you do yourself a disservice unecessarily.
> Until the SCA says otherwise, I would encourage you to wear the daishoBravo!!
> 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.
> Oh, and I'm not getting into the white hakama-ties issue now. That'sGood idea. :)
> an issue of another day (or many days past, dead, and buried).
- 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.
> > 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.
> > 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. :)
"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
aka The Ugly Dragon
aka Kita Jiru Toramassa
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- On 11/26/06, John Lyon <toramassa@...> wrote:
>Well, don't go out and buy one just because we said you /could/. I
> 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.
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.
- 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).
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- 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
- Noble Cousins!
Greetings from Solveig!
Your Humble Servant