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Re: [SCA-JML] Samurai Women Warriors

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  • JL Badgley
    ... There is some controversy on this subject. During the pre-Heian periods (pre- samurai ) you have Empresses leading military expeditions. Not sure how
    Message 1 of 57 , Oct 29, 2008
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      On Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 5:00 AM, Leonora Radovcic <Lightpaws@...> wrote:
      > I've got another question. Is there a historical mention of Samurai
      > women in our SCA time-frame, happen to take up arms, or have an
      > education reserved for sons. Like if a father had an only daugther,
      > but treated her like a son, and gave her all the benefits of what a
      > son would get. If that existed, can that be recreated in the SCA?
      > Can a samurai woman go about doing male samurai stuff,or can they
      > not? I'm trying to figure out what I can and can not do with either
      > or persona. Male of female. Million thanks.

      There is some controversy on this subject. During the pre-Heian
      periods (pre-'samurai') you have Empresses leading military
      expeditions. Not sure how much fighting they did in them, though.
      Then we have the (in)famous Tomoe Gozen, who shows up as almost a
      footnote, initially, and evolves her own legend about a warrior woman.
      Truthfully, it is hard to say just what happened, and there are
      people who will fight vehemently for her historical status.
      Regardless, she forms the archetype for the warrior woman from the
      12th century onward.

      You also have a few examples of women in combat during the Sengoku
      period. I don't know how apocryphal the stories are, or to what
      extent. I do not doubt that when the invading army approached the
      castle, the women would probably arm themselves. In fact, the
      tradition that a samurai woman was expected to defend the castle
      developed into the tradition of giving a woman a naginata for her
      wedding, and eventually into the tradition that naginata was a martial
      art for women, while men learned the sword (though I'm unsure how much
      of that was actually based on the national school curriculae of the
      late 19th/early 20th centuries). Of course, this did not mean men did
      not study the naginata, nor that women did not study sword. In Tendo
      Ryu naginatajutsu, for example, practitioners must eventually learn
      the sword side of the kata as well as the naginata side.

      The only *possible* example I can think of regarding a woman raised as
      a man (and not simply a woman who took up arms) is the theory that
      Uesugi Kenshin was a woman. This is usually discounted by most
      scholars, but there is a following.

      The best example you'll find of a woman in a male role (and vice
      versa) is "The Changelings" (Torikaebaya Monogatari), a late Heian
      tale. Whether it was drawn from some real example in the author's
      life is unclear.

      That isn't to say that a woman in the SCA cannot take on a male
      persona (or vice versa). Ask Saionji-hime's brother, Spike, about
      that...

      -Ii
    • wodeford
      I live in the kingdom whose members include Japanese-Americans and native Japanese. I have the duty and the honor of attempting to portray a Japanese lady in a
      Message 57 of 57 , Nov 2, 2008
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        I live in the kingdom whose members include Japanese-Americans and
        native Japanese.

        I have the duty and the honor of attempting to portray a Japanese lady
        in a manner that honors their heritage and does not give offense. I am
        deeply touched and honored by the positive response I have received
        from them - and I have a growing, much treasured collection of cell
        phone charms that one gentleman from the Barony of the Far West keeps
        adding to every time he visits the US. (He has, in turn, been made a
        Companion of the Order of the Cheerful Monkey.)

        Saionji no Hanae
        West Kingdom
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