Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu!
I passed on your regards to Sensei last night at practice. He would have like to talk to you a little more last time you met but you were very busy.
Summer is beautiful up here. We're having a little embu and seminar in May. I'm sure he'd love to see you. I'm wary of getting too much into historical discussions involving documents as when the obscure terminology starts I begin to make small whimpering noises
I'll try to talk a little more to the current shrine priest, but you might make a better fist of it.
Please send me the dates and details of your event in May and if it is possible (given my teaching commitments), I may well be able to hop on a plane to Sapporo. There is a direct flight from Hiroshima (though it is operated by JAL, which might not be operational by next May). There is a wonderful train, the Twilight Express
, which connects Osaka and Sapporo, via the Japan Sea coast. I would like to take it once in this lifetime, but the journey will probably be too leisurely to manage in one weekend. Anyway, we will see.
I am now writing TIE 17, in which Takeda Sokaku figures much more prominently than he did in TIE 16, where he appeared largely as an afterthought (I think I added some discussion there, in order to allay the suspicions of Ellis and others that my review was going to be longer than the book itself).
The main source for Takeda Sokaku's activities are the essays written by Takeda Tokimune and the interviews with his students, all published by Stan Pranin. Sagawa's Tomeina Chikara
also needs to be considered. I have searched some of the Japanese sources on which Ellis bases much of his second chapter, but the only person who figures with any prominence is Takeda's maternal grandfather, Kurokochi Dengoro, who is as much of an enigma as Takeda was himself.
On the other hand, the Boshin Civil War was clearly a very exciting time and the issue for Ellis--and for me as the reviewer of his book, is the extent to which this civil war conditioned or influenced Takeda's attitude to his son and students. In this respect Ellis's discussion breaks new ground.