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Muromachi merchant class

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  • Jen Wallace
    Ohayo, everyone. I have a couple of questions I hope someone on the list can help me with. I am interested in creating a persona from the Muromachi/Sengoku
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 6, 2001
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      Ohayo, everyone. I have a couple of questions I hope someone on the list
      can help me with. I am interested in creating a persona from the
      Muromachi/Sengoku Era, circa 1550, who is the daughter of a zashu, perhaps a
      silk merchant(?). I was thinking she could live in Sakai, a nice busy
      trading port of the time. I figure merchant wasn't done too much in the
      Japanese subset of the SCA, so I'll be original. Would it be unheard of to
      have an unmarried adult female persona during this era?
      I am choosing this era so I can satisfy the "in contact with europeans'
      clause in my local club, since the Portugese misssionaries started popping
      over to Japan during this time. I know there was a group or two of Japanese
      who came to Europe on some Jesuit caravan or something, where can I learn
      more about this? I figure I can have my persona come over to Europe on one
      of these caravans, though I don't know if a female would have been on one of
      these to begin with.
      People in my group are giving me some flak for choosing japanese, but I
      will not back down. I don't want any holes in my persona that they can
      shoot me down with.

      Thanks
      Kushami
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    • Arelyx@hotmail.com
      ... japanese, but I ... They re just jealous :) Rob/Ukyo
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 6, 2001
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        > People in my group are giving me some flak for choosing
        japanese, but I
        > will not back down.


        They're just jealous :)

        Rob/Ukyo
      • logan@modzer0.cs.uaf.edu
        ... I doubt it would be unheard of, but I don t think it would be common. If your father was a decent merchant he would probably be trying to marry you off to
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 6, 2001
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          On Fri, 6 Jul 2001, Jen Wallace wrote:

          > Japanese subset of the SCA, so I'll be original. Would it be unheard of to
          > have an unmarried adult female persona during this era?

          I doubt it would be unheard of, but I don't think it would be common. If
          your father was a decent merchant he would probably be trying to marry you
          off to a good upper class husband. Still, I'm not entirely sure about the
          merchant class. I'll see what I can find.

          > I am choosing this era so I can satisfy the "in contact with europeans'
          > clause in my local club, since the Portugese misssionaries started popping
          > over to Japan during this time. I know there was a group or two of Japanese
          > who came to Europe on some Jesuit caravan or something, where can I learn
          > more about this? I figure I can have my persona come over to Europe on one
          > of these caravans, though I don't know if a female would have been on one of
          > these to begin with.

          Well, I don't know where to find too much more. I only know what I have
          heard: we know the names of all of the Japanese who went and I don't think
          that any of them were women. Sorry.

          > People in my group are giving me some flak for choosing japanese, but I
          > will not back down. I don't want any holes in my persona that they can
          > shoot me down with.

          I once gave a class when I first started to look at my own interest in
          Japanese that everyone remembers simply as 'Why Japanese isn't Period'.
          Basically, there is only a small subset of the Europeans that would ever
          have contacted the Japanese and even then it would not have been in Europe
          accept for a single, fully documented event.

          However, start looking at this in another way: how likely would a 4th
          century Roman, a 10th century Viking, and a 15th Century Italian ever have
          met, let alone set down to feast together?

          We aren't in Europe, we are in the SCA, which is made up of fanciful
          Kingdoms based on a twisted version of English royalty, trial by arms, and
          an often post-period sense of the Chivalric Ideal. As such, I have no
          problem with people stretching the 'Western Europe' aspect and wrapping it
          over to the Orient if they strive to be authentic in their recreation.

          And, if you ever need help, well you've come to the right place.

          -Ii
        • Nate Ledbetter
          ... Not anymore than it would have for a woman to travel to Europe, eh? ... When you say Local Club , that means it s a a local rule? I m not aware that the
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 7, 2001
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            --- Jen Wallace <akirawally@...> wrote:

            > Would it be unheard of to
            > have an unmarried adult female persona during this
            > era?

            Not anymore than it would have for a woman to travel
            to Europe, eh?

            > I am choosing this era so I can satisfy the "in
            > contact with europeans'
            > clause in my local club, since the Portugese
            > misssionaries started popping
            > over to Japan during this time.

            When you say "Local Club", that means it's a a local
            rule? I'm not aware that the SCA has such a rule, in
            fact. After all, our own Fujiwara-dono is a Heian
            Jidai lady.

            I know there was a
            > group or two of Japanese
            > who came to Europe on some Jesuit caravan or
            > something, where can I learn
            > more about this? I figure I can have my persona
            > come over to Europe on one
            > of these caravans, though I don't know if a female
            > would have been on one of
            > these to begin with.

            No, and Jesuits didn't travel in caravans. They
            traveled on boats. If you want a good idea (even
            though it's a novel) of the travels of Japanese in
            Europe, read THE SAMURAI by Shusaku Endo. Not many
            Japanese went over to Europe, though, and no women. I
            don't know what your local group is telling you, but
            you shouldn't be too concerned with concocting some
            elaborate story to justify yourself as a Nihonjin. My
            persona actually hasn't quite figured out how he got
            to the Midrealm, but hey, it doesn't matter. Like
            others said, where is the sense in a roman talking to
            a Viking and an Italian? Sounds like your comrades in
            your local group need to relax.


            > People in my group are giving me some flak for
            > choosing japanese, but I
            > will not back down. I don't want any holes in my
            > persona that they can
            > shoot me down with.

            Then don't, PLEASE don't concoct some story about
            being on a boat lost at sea, or sold into slavery by
            wandering Chinese pirates, or aliens coming down and
            taking you and dropping you in Europe. Plain and
            simple, a Japanese woman in Europe would not happen.
            If they want to be sticklers, then you should be
            accurate, and it is most accurate for you NOT to
            invent some cockamamie story. You fell asleep by a
            river one day and woke up somewhere else, something
            like that--there is nothing to shoot holes in!

            Good luck with your persona, and definitely ask here
            for questions--many on the list know much more than I,
            and all of us will help however we can.

            Good Luck, ganbare!

            Shonaigawa



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          • Barbara Nostrand
            Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! The status of women generally eroded after the Heian period, so it gets harder and harder to be adventurous. You are,
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 9, 2001
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              Noble Cousin!

              Greetings from Solveig! The status of women generally eroded
              after the Heian period, so it gets harder and harder to be
              adventurous. You are, however, picking a good period. If you
              must come into direct contact with Europeans in Europea there
              are a several somewhat speculative approaches that could be
              taken.

              1) You could come from an impoverished family who sold you
              either directly (less likely) or indirectly to the Portugese
              or Spanish who then cruely transhipped you from Japan. (This
              sort of thing actually did happen, although it is a bit more
              likely with male slaves who we do know the Portugese employed
              on their sailing vessels.)

              2) A bit more adventuresome and rather speculative would be the
              wife of one of the Japnaese adventurers who set out during
              the late sixteenth century to seek their fortunes outside of
              Japan. (One of them conquered one of the Indo-Chinese countries.)

              3) Along the lines that you are seeking, you could possibly
              accompany a trading expedition to China. (Although you would
              be better advised to be peddling silver or gold which is what
              the Chinese took in payment. You might also have reels of silk
              fibre.) There were licensed Japanese trading vessels. However,
              I do not recall any pictures of them showing female passengers.

              4) There are those who believe that there was a Japanese contingent
              in Neuvo-Espania (Mexico) during the late sixteenth century.
              Further, there was an immediately post-period Japanese expedition
              to Europe which crossed the Pacific to Mexico on a Jpaanese
              (not a European) sailing ship. (The Japanese employed
              Miura Anjin (Wm. Adams), &al to teach them European ship building
              an navigation. There were a number of mixed crews under Japanese
              command prior to the closure of Japan in the seventeenth century.

              Now. If your family happens to be christian, there were at times
              ample motivation not to return to Japan.

              BEST ADVICE. Politely tell the people criticising you to bug off
              as the Society DOES NOT require persona stories. Persona stories
              ultimately become more than a bit tiresome anyway. Unless your
              group is tightly themed, each and every one of them would
              have trouble justifiying contact with the rest of them. I know
              of no recorded instances of eleventh century normans dining
              with sixteenth century english despite the norman conquest of
              England in 1066.

              Your Humble Servant
              Solveig Throndardottir
              Amateur Scholar
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