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Old 08-25-2015, 09:41 AM   #1
Ethan Weisgard
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Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

I received a copy of the following Creed in Japanese from one of my Iwama Dojo sempai. We have it on the wall of our Dojo. I am posting the English translation ( not my translation, for your information ) I find it very inspiring. What are people's thoughts?

Creed ( Jinseikun) of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542 - 1616)

Man's life is like making a long journey with a heavy burden. One must not hurry.

If you regard discomfort as a normal condition, you are not likely to be troubled by want.

When ambition arises in your mind, consider the days of your adversity.

Patience is the foundation of security and long life; consider anger as an enemy.

He who only knows victory and does not know defeat will fare badly.

Blame yourself, do not blame others.

The insufficient is better than the superfluous. (Realize your limitations. It is the biggest dew drop that falls first from the leaf.)
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Old 08-25-2015, 08:30 PM   #2
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Hello Ethan,

The Japanese text that I have indicates that it was promulgated in Keichou 8, which is 1603: the year that Tokugawa Ieyasu was named shogun. So the question for me is whether he himself practiced what he preached from this time onwards till his death.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:46 AM   #3
Keith Larman
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Re: Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Ethan,

The Japanese text that I have indicates that it was promulgated in Keichou 8, which is 1603: the year that Tokugawa Ieyasu was named shogun. So the question for me is whether he himself practiced what he preached from this time onwards till his death.

Best wishes,
One benefit of wealth and power is having the time to properly ponder the nature of suffering...

I have an acquaintance who likes to pontificate about the value of being thrifty, how we're over taxed, and how hard work is what makes the man. I cannot convey exactly how joyous it is to receive such advice from a man who lives in the house his parents gifted him while paying his gardener from his trust fund...

Now of course none of this is intended as a critique of the quote itself, it just strikes me as somewhat jarring given the author.

Carry on.

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Old 08-27-2015, 09:44 AM   #4
Ethan Weisgard
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Re: Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Peter and Keith,

Thanks for the response. I find the Tokugawa reign fascinating. It changed Japan in so many ways.
I am very ambivalent as to where I stand in regard to Ieyasu. I remember that Saito Sensei would bring new uchi deshi up to Nikko Toshogu Shrine ( dedicated to the spirit of Ieyasu ). He would never enter the grounds himself. He understood that it was an important and beautiful spot, but he himself was from farmer stock - and Nikko was built ( as were most of the great historic temples and other monumental structures throughout the world) by slave labor ( read: peasants and farmers ). Reading about Ieyasu's life one can see that he was here and there - backing first one side and then the other, before finally taking the reigns and establishing the Tokugawa Shogunate.
It is interesting to know, as Peter points out, that this creed was written at an early time in his reign.
He was known for being a patient man, but looking at how he got to his final position, it looks like it wasn't until later that he would actually practice all of what he preached.
In the creed he doesn't really mention the other values, such as found in the Go Rin - Go jou ( Jin (benevolence), Gi ( rectitude), Rei (courtesy), Chi (knowledge / wisdom), Shin (sincerity ).

As in most cases with these prominent figures - I think he was a man of many faces. Fascinating!

In aiki,
Ethan
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Old 08-27-2015, 06:35 PM   #5
dps
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Re: Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Quote:
Ethan Weisgard wrote: View Post
I received a copy of the following Creed in Japanese from one of my Iwama Dojo sempai. We have it on the wall of our Dojo. I am posting the English translation ( not my translation, for your information ) I find it very inspiring. What are people's thoughts?

Creed ( Jinseikun) of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542 - 1616)

Man's life is like making a long journey with a heavy burden. One must not hurry.

If you regard discomfort as a normal condition, you are not likely to be troubled by want.

When ambition arises in your mind, consider the days of your adversity.

Patience is the foundation of security and long life; consider anger as an enemy.

He who only knows victory and does not know defeat will fare badly.

Blame yourself, do not blame others.

The insufficient is better than the superfluous. (Realize your limitations. It is the biggest dew drop that falls first from the leaf.)
Damn, I wish I had read this fifty years ago, I would have been much happier with my lot in life.

dps
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Old 08-28-2015, 07:12 PM   #6
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Quote:
Ethan Weisgard wrote: View Post
Peter and Keith,

Thanks for the response. I find the Tokugawa reign fascinating. It changed Japan in so many ways.
I am very ambivalent as to where I stand in regard to Ieyasu. I remember that Saito Sensei would bring new uchi deshi up to Nikko Toshogu Shrine ( dedicated to the spirit of Ieyasu ). He would never enter the grounds himself. He understood that it was an important and beautiful spot, but he himself was from farmer stock - and Nikko was built ( as were most of the great historic temples and other monumental structures throughout the world) by slave labor ( read: peasants and farmers ). Reading about Ieyasu's life one can see that he was here and there - backing first one side and then the other, before finally taking the reigns and establishing the Tokugawa Shogunate.
It is interesting to know, as Peter points out, that this creed was written at an early time in his reign.
He was known for being a patient man, but looking at how he got to his final position, it looks like it wasn't until later that he would actually practice all of what he preached.
In the creed he doesn't really mention the other values, such as found in the Go Rin - Go jou ( Jin (benevolence), Gi ( rectitude), Rei (courtesy), Chi (knowledge / wisdom), Shin (sincerity ).

As in most cases with these prominent figures - I think he was a man of many faces. Fascinating!

In aiki,
Ethan
Hello Ethan,

Conrad Totman has written a generally sympathetic biography, unlike, say, Robert Caro's four volumes on Lyndon Johnson. Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography of his father is also generally sympathetic, but I suppose one could write a life that presents Morihei Ueshiba in quite a different light.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-29-2015, 01:37 AM   #7
Ethan Weisgard
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Re: Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Hello Peter,

Ishin Denshin! I was just going to ask if you could recommend a biography of Ieyasu. Thank you.
One of my close students and fellow Japanese history aficionado found a brief article about Ieyasu - done as a kind of profile of the man. The article focuses on the man himself - it reminds me of the work that Ellis does, where he goes behind the facade of Takeda and Ueshiba.

https://www.beloit.edu/oie/assets/fr...ref_empire.pdf

The Empire of Things: Tokugawa Ieyasu's Material
Legacy and Cultural Profile
MORGAN PITELKA, Occidental College, USA

In aiki,
Ethan
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Old 08-29-2015, 03:02 AM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Quote:
Ethan Weisgard wrote: View Post
Hello Peter,

Ishin Denshin! I was just going to ask if you could recommend a biography of Ieyasu. Thank you.
One of my close students and fellow Japanese history aficionado found a brief article about Ieyasu - done as a kind of profile of the man. The article focuses on the man himself - it reminds me of the work that Ellis does, where he goes behind the facade of Takeda and Ueshiba.

https://www.beloit.edu/oie/assets/fr...ref_empire.pdf

The Empire of Things: Tokugawa Ieyasu's Material
Legacy and Cultural Profile
MORGAN PITELKA, Occidental College, USA

In aiki,
Ethan
Hello Ethan,

I am curious about the connection with the Iwama Dojo (other than its proximity to the Toshogu Shrine).

There are only three book-length biographies in English: Sadler's, Totman's and a shorter account by Stephen Turnbull. In Japanese, on the other hand, there is more to choose from, including the 28-volume semi-fictional life by Yamaika Kohachi, which was the basis of a Taiga Dorama in 1983.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-30-2015, 07:27 PM   #9
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Ethan,

I am curious about the connection with the Iwama Dojo (other than its proximity to the Toshogu Shrine).

There are only three book-length biographies in English: Sadler's, Totman's and a shorter account by Stephen Turnbull. In Japanese, on the other hand, there is more to choose from, including the 28-volume semi-fictional life by Yamaika Kohachi, which was the basis of a Taiga Dorama in 1983.

Best wishes,

PAG
EDIT.

That should be Yamaoka Kohachi [山岡荘八]. The other biography, by Nakamura Kouya [中村孝也], regularly cited in the paper by Morgan Pitelka, is out of print.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-31-2015, 01:32 AM   #10
Ethan Weisgard
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Re: Creed of Tokugawa Ieyasu

Hello Peter,

I have ordered Totman's book and look very much forward to reading it. Thank you for the recommendation.

Regarding the possible Iwama Dojo and Toshogu / Nikko connection: I don't know of any direct connection other than the fact that they are close in proximity and the temples and surroundings are very beautiful albeit a bit over the top, in my humble opinion :-) so it was and still is usually the Go To place for the initial uchi deshi sightseeing trip.
I prefer the understated style of Shinto architecture myself.

But there might be more to it than that. I will put this question on my list of things to ask Isoyama Sensei and Inagaki Sensei when I go to Iwama at the end of this month.

In aiki,

Ethan
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