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Old 02-22-2010, 10:19 AM   #26
Scott Harrington
Location: Wilmington, De
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 65
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Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 17

Peter, thank you for your comments. Let me say I wait with baited breath each month for your works and hope to see more and see it published (hardcopy).

Regarding your comments…

Secrets of the Samurai, Oscar Ratti & Adele Westbrook, 1973 (my copy 1980) Pgs. 105 -- 107 relevant excerpts.

Among the centers of instruction frequented by the buke were… (Ed. note several schools in various regions) …

A scholar, Koike Kenji, has described the history, organization, and training program of one of these centers, the Nisshinkan in Wakamatsu, which was primarily concerned with the literary and physical education of the provincial lords, higher retainers, and leading administrators of the ancient Aizu clan. The training of high-ranking children of this clan began systematically and officially when they were eight or nine years old. Before that, as was customary, these children had already been prepared through preliminary indoctrination in martial etiquette, and at the age of five, boys had already received their first samurai costumes and swords (which they would never again be without.)

Under the strict surveillance of these teachers the children memorized the literary texts of instruction…

At fifteen they approached the Chinese Classics …

Allowances were made for less talented students, who were given more time and extra care in order to help them catch up with the others. Failure, of course, meant utter disgrace, because it often entailed (in characteristically Japanese fashion) the demotion of the entire family to a lower rank in the military hierarchy, due to the son's ability to follow in his father's footsteps.

(As the samurai system slowly crumbled under the weight of the western onslaught of new ideas, one can see from the last line, as Ellis has pointed out, a father's discipline (and perhaps crossing the line) to his son could be severe due to the ramifications.)

Of course, the main stay was military instruction (ranging from kyujutsu, kenjutsu, jujutsu, hojutsu, chikujojutsu, bajutsu and suiei (swimming). In addition, much like West Point and Annapolis, there seems to be rounding out the student with Calligraphy, etiquette, music, medicine, and astronomy. Optional material included Tea ceremony, poetry, etc.

A quick web search provides further information. http://www.e-aizu.jp/e/kanko/w_a/w_a090.htm

The Nisshinkan school was founded by Genko Tanaka in 1803. He served the fifth, sixth and seventh generations of Aizu clan daimyos as their chief retainer.

During his lifetime he introduced wide scale political changes to the clan. His personal motto was "The Aizu clan's prosperity depends on educating its people." So he started the Nisshinkan school on the west side of Tsurugajo Castle. It was a school set up to educate the boys of the samurai rank retainers from the age of 10.
The boys studied confucianism, mathematics, astronomy, and medical science using Japanese sources and information gathered from the Dutch.

They also had to train in the martial arts, archery, spear-throwing, shooting, horse-riding and swimming. The school had its own swimming pool and observatory and it is said to have been in the top 3 out of 300 such clan schools in Japan at that time.

The Nisshinkan was burnt down during the Boshin Civil War but it is still possible to see parts of the stone observatory wall.


The plan in S of S (pg 107) shows, besides a printing house, Halls (of course they would have records, books, mokuroku, makimono, densho, etc. -- kind of like a library) for Ceremony, Records of the Clan, National Shinto, Chinese Literature, and Military Science.

It has been suggested to me that perhaps the scrolls would have been taken from the Nisshinkan ‘Hall of Military Science', perhaps not even related to Aiki (or were, the trouble with history).

Regarding the ‘Yamato-ryu', one can find this ‘precursor name' on page 232 of Aikido, Tradition and the Competitive Edge by Fumiaki Shishida and Tetsuro Nariyama , 2001. It seems the famous Kotaro Yoshida recommended the name change to ‘Daito' as the characters were no longer pronounced that way.

This last section is also based on the Daitokan newsletters predominately (some of which I do not have or have translations) The various names such as ‘Daido', ‘kogusoku', ‘Oshikiuchi' and ‘Daito ryu' are bandied about, this being discussed more thoroughly in both your works and Ellis' book.

Besides the history of the Takeda clan and battlefield strategy work ‘Koyo Gunkan', I have also run across a ‘Takeda ryu' document (very old) regarding battlefield emplacements and such. A quick translation led to a rather unique ‘calibration' technique for trenches and such -- quite amusing once shown.

I am attempting in April to ‘acquire' material that would lead to a more definitive name of an in-house martial art for the Takeda / Aizu clan. As Ellis has said, they documented everything. The only trouble is 1) finding it and 2) translating it. I think it would be easier to just take repeated uke for a high flying Ganseki otoshi or even the dreaded Yama arashi.

Scott
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