Re: [SCA-JML] Samurai Women Warriors
- On Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 5:00 AM, Leonora Radovcic <Lightpaws@...> wrote:
> I've got another question. Is there a historical mention of SamuraiThere is some controversy on this subject. During the pre-Heian
> 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.
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
- I live in the kingdom whose members include Japanese-Americans and
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