3. I do not think Sokichi needs an advocate. I actually advocate for him. I wrote:
"One wonders what kind of father Demon Sokichi would have been in the best of circumstances. But he, too, had been to war and seen his Aizu ravaged, and he had a child, innately defiant and proud, and now - horrified. All too often, I have seen frustrated, desperate parents use outlandish methods to discipline their unruly child. The child, who, given his make-up and circumstances, is acting in a way that is completely natural to him, becomes more profoudly psychologically damaged by the parent than he was from the original trauma."
I empathize with Sokichi's dilemma as a parent - that despite his best attempts, despite his power and demands, Sokaku did whatever he wanted - defiantly - refusing even to learn to read. A defiant angry child is not tamed by harsh methods, that's for sure. And to be clear for the readers who have not read the book, "Demon" was the nickname Sokichi's own men gave him - not an appellation I'm applying.
PAG. I certainly agree about the dilemma he faced, since the methods he used with his three other children seem to have worked, in the sense that Tokimune says nothing about them. (Of course, this is an interpretation, based on silence, and might be wrong.)
However, in my opinion, applying the term ‘torture’ to Sokichi’s actions removes any moral approbation and this is why I thought he needed a defence advocate. So I would be interested in contemporary sources that give a more general explanation of how and why he received the "Demon" sobriquet. Was it because he also inflicted similarly severe physical pain on those under him, or merely because he was a very strong man, expected the same strength from his subordinates, and so maintained an exceptionally severe level of general discipline: severe, even for the Aizu clan? As I stated in TIE 17, I can find no references to either Sokichi or Sokaku Takeda in 『会津教育考』, but the publisher appears to have published other works on Aizu, specifically concerning the Boshin War. Since Sokichi was the commander of the 力士隊, it is likely that his prowess—and his nickname, would be mentioned somewhere.