Samurai culture of the kamakura, Humanities

Samurai Culture of the Kamakura

Kanto Plains political changes in the 12th century: power shifts to Kanto plain. Rustic provincialism vs. courtly refinement.

Bushi warriors of the samurai class. Emergence of the samurai warriors.

Taira (Heike) vs. Minamoto (Genji) Triumph of the Taira Clan (Heike) vs. its rival Minamoto clan (Genji) The "domestication" of the Taira - With His victory, they move into Kyoto and they became immersed with the courtly life. This made them vulnerable to other warriors.

Hogen and Gempei wars Hogen War (1159 - 1160). The Gempei War (1180-1185). -Both these wars provided inspiration for very important literary tradition (war tales). Many of these war tales are from these periods.

Aesthetics of sabi:

Nanori: Key custom of samurai. When the other confronts other enemy, in order to preserve his honor, he has to find suitable adversary - if lower samurai kills you, then that is utter shame in samurai culture. It brings shame to your family. However, if a lower ranked samurai kills higher rank, then it is a way to elevate the rank. Other people need to know what the consequences are. They announce their names as a way to compensate for a previous incident of shame. For example, you may have lost someone but you have a chance to make up for it. The ritualistic suicide is from this period. Most fundamental about samurai is to know how to die honorably. Shame in other word is haji.

Atsumori and Naozane this story of course tells many things about sympathy and ethos. One of the unusual things is that in this case, there is no customary nanori.

Yoshinaka and Kanehira Yoshinaka was a victorious Minamoto lord - uncouth and rough-edged warrior. In the year 1183, he was able to overrun the Kyoto. In spite of his rustic behavior, he is at first embraced as a champion even by the emperor. He is given dominion over the city. He's very rough on the edges. He loves what he is able to enjoy there. It took a suicide of one of his vessels to bring him back to realize that enemy is back in the city and he needs to do something. However, by that time, it was too late. It was not so much about his victory or oversight. He had an army of 15,000 samurai at peak and at the end, it is reduced to few. This is a very kind of tragic downfall. Story wants us to visualize very graphically. He is being chased by other samurais and there are only few others left. Kanehira was the loyal vassal. As a loyal friend, he tells Yoshinaka to go on his own so that "I will fend off the army so that someone in lower rank will not kill you." Someone who respects the rank. As his horse sinks, Yoshinaka looks for his friend. However, the arrow comes and hits his heart.  The writers want you to see the beauty in tragic heroes.                                                                                       

Tomoe woman warrior. Historians don't know if this was a fictional character. In midst of patriarch society, we have a story of female warrior. In the novel, she is known as equal to 1,000 samurais. She is known for having a beautiful skin. Besides for being a warrior, she is known for her writing skills. Yoshinaka tells her to leave because he is about to die. He commands her to escape.

Yoritomo Yoshinaka's cousin Minamoto no Yoritomo was prompted to crush Yoshinaka, and sent his brothers Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Minamoto no Noriyori to kill him. Yoshinaka fought Yoritomo's forces at the Battle of Awazu on February 21, 1184, where it has been said that Tomoe Gozen took at least one head of the enemy. Although Yoshinaka's troops fought bravely, they were outnumbered and overwhelmed. When Yoshinaka was defeated there, with only a few of his soldiers standing, he told Tomoe Gozen to flee because he wanted to die with his foster brother Imai no Shiro Kanehira and he said that he would be ashamed if he died with a woman.

Bakufu Yoritomo kept his power base in Kanto Plain: way for him to keep an eye on other samurai clan. Bakufu means tent government. Lasted throughout Japaense history. At the heart of Kanto Plain. Control the emperor at distance: puppet emperor designate him as shogun. Shogun: Barbarian suppressing general. True power was held in Yoritomo, powerful feudal lord. Bureaucracy run by samurai. Administrations: Jitos - land stewards on shoens, making sure they regularly paid taxes, collecting revenues, etc and Shugos - military liaisons between shoens and bakufu, responsible for maintaining security and order. Trying to assert central power, nobles benefited from shoens before, now warrior class.

Hojo Regents controlled the shoguns, true power.

Mongol Invasion  repelled at the end of 13th century. Gengiskahn attempted to take over. 140,000 soldiers attempted: felt destroyed by kamakazi (divine wind). Had the wind not been there, history would have been different.

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