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Old 02-22-2015, 12:55 AM   #26
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Budo Values

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
1. I think you could have a serious discussion about the use of "militaristic" training methodology throughout most of Japan's fighting history. Most of the Western concept of military, derived from the Romans, would not have applied directly to Japan's feudal fighting system. A national, militarized, armed force did not come about until the fall of the bushi class. You could argue some of the warlords had a militia, but that would have been a private fighting group.
History here shows that there was actually a long period of conscript non-samurai forces who developed sophisticated close order firearms drill of the early modern type. Only later was this approach abandoned to "pull up the ladder," as they say, until the Meiji era 300 years later.

Nobunaga came to power with calculated use and native development of arquebus type guns-- tanegashima (after the island where they were introduced by the Portugese), or teppo. Nobunaga -- famous for his disdain of the pretensions of his own samurai class -- equipped an initial regiment of 500 gunners, mostly commoners, at Anegawa to devastating effect. He began production of native copies and derived weapons on a large scale.

Five years later, at Nobunaga's besting of Takeda at Nagashino he had up to 10,000 gunners trained, and 3,000 of those were deployed, trained and equipped for continuous fire volley methods in 3 ranks of 1,000. They had developed their own fire and loading drill to permit continuous volley fire, using common troops. That predated the Dutch development of continuous volley fire by almost 20 years.

It would be another dozen years or so before Toyotomi began the most famous "sword hunt" that created the final Edo pattern of largely disarmed commoners, plus the concocting of the 5 years of repeated futile efforts invading Korea, but which usefully got out of the country and used up the 500,000 or so most experienced and fractious samurai and commoners in battle by the late 1590's. All of that set the stage for the long quiet of Edo, when the mythology began.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:51 AM   #27
Peter Boylan
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Re: Budo Values

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
1. I think you could have a serious discussion about the use of "militaristic" training methodology throughout most of Japan's fighting history. Most of the Western concept of military, derived from the Romans, would not have applied directly to Japan's feudal fighting system. A national, militarized, armed force did not come about until the fall of the bushi class. You could argue some of the warlords had a militia, but that would have been a private fighting group.
2. Budo was a tool to integrate a fighting class into civilian society and invigorate a country's national pride. I think the romanticism of the tool has created a philosophical perspective that is redundant in many respects to other larger philosophies. Not that this is bad, many of the 7 major religions share significant similarities in personal ethics and behavior.
3. Etiquette is a constraint in normalizing expected behavior. It's a way of preparing the expectation for how one should act. For a country like the United States, many Americans value the individuality of personal expression and the idea of expressing individuality constrained to be similar to other expressions of individuality is, in reality, not an expression of individuality.

The fact that budo has been packaged as a separate philosophy grounded in a warrior culture is maybe an observation about what motivates our behavior. It's not using a minivan is a problem for getting around town, it's that they are so uncool. It's not that staying in shape isn't important, it's that nobody can see you working out. Doing budo is both cool and something everyone can see you doing and that is a desirable package, even if the message is the same as some other number of philosophical messages.

There is a great short book called, Patriotism, by Yukio Mishima that is an interesting read reflective of the imperialist movement in Japan.
Jon, I have to disagree.
1. Japan had massive armies, the would dwarf anything the Europeans could field at the time. With over 200,000 troops massed to attack each other at Sekigahara in 1600, I think it would be difficult to describe them as "militia." These were massive armies well trained in large unit tactics with complex systems for directing the units on the field.
2. There was no nationally recognized and understood concept of budo in 1600, and really very little of one in 1868. There were a lot of other things, but not a consensus theory of budo. And "bushido" wasn't invented until the 1890s.
3. I'm not sure what you're saying in point 3#.

Thanks for reminding my about Mishima's short story. I was fascinated by it in college. I wonder how I will react to it know that I know so much more about the history and development of Japanese culture and the context in which Mishima was writing.

Peter Boylan
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http://www.budogu.com
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Old 02-23-2015, 12:21 PM   #28
jonreading
 
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Re: Budo Values

Sorry for being unclear. I was simply making a distinction that hallmarks of military as we see it in the West are not necessarily present in East. I am not particularly arguing whether Japan held wars or hosted armies, which isn't in dispute. Mostly I am simply pointing out that what we consider military education may not have been present in Japan.

For me, conscripted service is not equivalent to a fighting class. Formation-oriented fighting is not equivalent to individual combat. A standing army is not equivalent to an imperial allegiance. Standardized training is not equivalent to closed fighting systems. Until Japan nationalized I would argue most of Japan's fighting was based on a feudal system of alliances and the personal obligations of the those enlisted - there was no national source that funded, sheltered, clothed or fed the armies, that was still a personal obligation of the lord or the soldier himself.

The battle of Sekigahara is a great example of a campaign brokered by a series of alliances under the promise of imperial reign. Professional fighters supported by conscripted solders for sure, but loyal to the feudal lords not a national power. In fact, the Tokugawa coup that was the battle of Sekigahara effectively ended the Sengoku period, which if I remember correctly translates to war state or warring states period. You couldn't begin to argue for a nationalized army until Japan was politically nationalized under Tokugawa. Does that make sense? I don't have my resources at work, so most of this is from memory/quick references.

Also, I agree that by the mid-1800's budo had not yet developed to the thing we know today. I would argue that following the Satsuma Rebellion in the late 1800's the Kyoto government realized the remnants of the samurai class had to be otherwise occupied... I find the timing of the emergence of budo curious in its close proximity to this event. Even more so is the romanticism that enshrouded the rebellion.

It is also not lost on me that the end of the Roman Empire held its own version of conscripting professional soldiers to leave Rome on campaigns and not to re-enter the city. What's the saying, a standing army does not enter Rome? Why wouldn't they want a standing army of professional fighters in the capital under the leadership of a general to whom the solders had greater allegiance than the Empire? I can't imagine...

Hope that helps to clear up my perspective.

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Old 02-23-2015, 05:04 PM   #29
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Budo Values

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Mostly I am simply pointing out that what we consider military education may not have been present in Japan.

[1.] For me, conscripted service is not equivalent to a fighting class.
[2.] Formation-oriented fighting is not equivalent to individual combat.
[3.] A standing army is not equivalent to an imperial allegiance.
[4.] Standardized training is not equivalent to closed fighting systems.
I am unclear which side of these binary comparisons you attach to modern military vice Japan of the immediate pre-Edo period. The first item of each of these contrasts was present in, and indeed defined the end of the Sengoku period. The second item of each really developed only in light of developments in the course of the Edo period and largely in the absence of much significant or actual battle.

Quote:
Until Japan nationalized I would argue most of Japan's fighting was based on a feudal system of alliances and the personal obligations of the those enlisted - there was no national source that funded, sheltered, clothed or fed the armies, that was still a personal obligation of the lord or the soldier himself. ... You couldn't begin to argue for a nationalized army until Japan was politically nationalized under Tokugawa. Does that make sense?
I would argue to the contrary, that Japan actually steadily established a functionally nationalized standing army during the 30 years under Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and wihc Tokugawa simply inherited and solidified.

Nobunaga's first effort was in fact to take down the sohei temple armies that had served as kingmakers keeping the Ashikaga shogunate weak and off-balance for decades before being seriously damaged by Nobunaga in his first bid against the feudal underlayment of military/political arrangements. The Battle of Nagashino solidified Nobunaga's ambition (and the name of wonderful military board game I used to play back in the 80's). It was won by the carefully planned and trained discipline of common soldiery with firearms -- and not the arts of a fighting class. In fact, it conclusively demonstrated the weakness of the fighting class AS a CLASS, and in more ways than one.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi began as Nobunaga's commoner servant and sandal-bearer, and ended as his successor -- and unifier of Japan -- a deep affront to any feudal order. Tokugawa, who allied with Nobunaga and succeeded Toyotomi (maneuvering his son out of the way), was brought up as the dispossessed child heir to a minor domain. For most of his childhood he was a hostage played between two rival would-be overlords of his district (including the Oda clan). None of these men had anything invested in the feudal system. Quite the contrary.

Between them over a period of thirty years they steadily nationalized the country's forces to the point of supporting a five year campaign involving a half a million men to invade Korea under Toyotomi. I'd consider that effort tolerably under a single chain of command. Furthermore, Toyotomi was able to issue edicts that governed arms throughout the country -- distinguishing for the first time and throughout the country the samurai class as solely entitled to be armed, and removing the possibility of commoner involvement in revolt such as the one he had just accomplished.

Put another way -- Hideyoshi picked the least effective element of his military machine and armed them -- and only them -- and disarmed the commoner soldiery who had carried the day with mass formations and manual of arms drilling. Then he weakened the samurai class, as a class, even further.

Toyotomi radically altered the feudal order (han system) by forcibly urbanizing samurai into the castle towns and off their own lands. These national reforms reduced the samurai's roles as both proprietor and warrior protector into mere retainers of their liege and with only nominal stipend attached to certain lands for tax purposes, from which they were paid in their designated (and fixed) allotment of rice or money equivalents. That severed them from independent social, economic and political support.

Similarly, the great lords were required to keep suitable houses (and all their immediate kin) in the capital, and could only spend half the year in their own domains (Tokugawa learned the lessons of his own childhood captivity very well). From time of Hideyoshi's reforms the parallel between Japanese and western feudalism no longer holds. The system is closer to that of the late Roman senatorial estates (from which our feudalism developed), but with far more detailed central dictates of both form and economic reality.

Budo as a value of social and spiritual worth evolved from the memory of this period cast into the realities of the Edo shogunate. It has to be understood in terms of both what it revered as lost and what it was dealing with in the age of its development as system of ideas and ideals -- a kind of alchemical transmutation of the practical arts of battle into something else.

As it is framed in the Hagakure:
Quote:
This is the essence of the Way of the Samurai: you must die anew every morning
and every night. If you continually preserve the state of death in everyday life, you
will understand the essence of Bushido, and you will gain freedom in the Way. Your
whole life will be without blame, and you will succeed in your calling.
What is interesting to me is the parallel of this with western, specifically Christian, teaching on death and rebirth, which was immensely popular in Japan when introduced, so much so that it had to be brutally suppressed by Tokugawa himself as an existential threat to his rule.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-23-2015 at 05:10 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:49 PM   #30
kewms
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Re: Budo Values

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Budo as a value of social and spiritual worth evolved from the memory of this period cast into the realities of the Edo shogunate. It has to be understood in terms of both what it revered as lost and what it was dealing with in the age of its development as system of ideas and ideals -- a kind of alchemical transmutation of the practical arts of battle into something else.

As it is framed in the Hagakure:
This is the essence of the Way of the Samurai: you must die anew every morning
and every night. If you continually preserve the state of death in everyday life, you
will understand the essence of Bushido, and you will gain freedom in the Way. Your
whole life will be without blame, and you will succeed in your calling.
What is interesting to me is the parallel of this with western, specifically Christian, teaching on death and rebirth, which was immensely popular in Japan when introduced, so much so that it had to be brutally suppressed by Tokugawa himself as an existential threat to his rule.
I was with you right up until this part. My understanding is that the Hagakure is not by any stretch an accurate reflection of the "typical" samurai's philosophy of life, any more than Malory's Morte D'Arthur is an accurate reflection of how medieval European knights actually lived and behaved.

Katherine
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:50 PM   #31
jonreading
 
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Re: Budo Values

I can understand an argument that Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi started what would become a Shogunate and Tokugawa was the one who made it happen. It's not my perspective, but I think I have read a couple of sources that seem to say that had Nobunaga not been defeated he may have been the one to do what Tokugawa did. But he was defeated, so that is just speculation. And Nobunaga was of the samurai class getting much of his political authority from that distinction.

The time period you are referencing is at best the end of the strength of the fighting class having significant political authority within a provincial feudal state. Preceding the time period is the prime of the fighting class. The elitism of the fighting class almost certainly withheld those elements we think about as part of the military: food, pay, standardized training, shelter, materials, etc.

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Old 02-24-2015, 10:56 AM   #32
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Budo Values

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I can understand an argument that Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi started what would become a Shogunate and Tokugawa was the one who made it happen. It's not my perspective, but I think I have read a couple of sources that seem to say that had Nobunaga not been defeated he may have been the one to do what Tokugawa did. But he was defeated, so that is just speculation. And Nobunaga was of the samurai class getting much of his political authority from that distinction.
I do not doubt that Nobunaga and Tokugawa were of one mind in their intentions. But we also differ -- Nobunaga was a near-nobody in class terms, Tokugawa likewise, and Toyotomi was a commoner and actual nobody.

They prevailed in force of arms and calculated strategy -- to which politics necessarily adapted itself. Their power was not in the political strength of the professional feudal fighting class -- their strength was in the levy and deployment of well-trained yeoman ashigaru spear columns and then the additional innovation of firearms, and close order drill. Nagashino proved that -- and politics then conformed to a new reality. These common men were at first trained and led by their local landowning samurai, but soon did not depend on them for effective leadership. .

Quote:
The time period you are referencing is at best the end of the strength of the fighting class having significant political authority within a provincial feudal state.
On that we agree and Toyotomi and Tokugawa between them procured that result -- socially elevating, while practically and politically disabling, samurai as a class that would never again threaten the centralized regime.

Quote:
Preceding the time period is the prime of the fighting class. The elitism of the fighting class almost certainly withheld those elements we think about as part of the military: food, pay, standardized training, shelter, materials, etc.
Sengoku began with the Onin war in the 1460's and preceded the rise of Nobunaga by nearly a hundred years. The height of the warrior class as a political class was in the Muromachi (Ashikaga) shogunate leading up to the Sengoku, the first 50 years of that shogunate were still split north and south with two pretender emperors. Once consolidated, very weak shoguns "ruled"-- often as children. Regional daimyo and their landowning retainers were able to effectively compete over domination of the exceedingly weak Ashikaga bakufu as a legitimating catspaw for their respectively preferred state of affairs. These contests were largely mediated by independent temple forces who had undue influence over court affairs from at least the time of Yoshinori (who was made a monk as a boy). He succeeded to the shogunate by "drawing lots" among the Ashikaga candidates demonstrating the "favor" of the Buddha. ... and, I have some prime land in Alaska I'd like to sell you ...

The Sengoku period witnessed the rise of yeoman arms developing from the practical need for local organized self-defense, in parallel to the process of the Hundred Years war in Europe. These were not professional warriors, but constant incursions by such warriors made them competent, organized, cohesive, disciplined and fierce. Sengoku was not the rise and apex of samurai power but a long process of its steady erosion, completed formally by Toyotomi and Tokugawa.

Nobunaga, Toyotomi and Tokugawa, not having any pretensions about their own class, noted the strategic opportunity of large bodies of trained and organized commoners. They put them to their own uses, leveraging their own low status to advantage in creating loyalty below, and against the hated abuses of their respective "betters" above. Then, Toyotomi -- the commoner -- relegated them all back into unarmed subjection once that end was accomplished to secure the new and now centralized regime.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-24-2015 at 11:03 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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