From aristocrat to warrior 1200 1400
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From Aristocrat to Warrior: 1200-1400. Where did the warriors come from? Drawn from lower-ranking families Initially served the Heian government as: Tax collectors ( film point ) Constables/police Militia Built up power in the provinces The control of land. Gradual shift in power.

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From Aristocrat to Warrior: 1200-1400

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From aristocrat to warrior 1200 1400

From Aristocrat to Warrior: 1200-1400

  • Where did the warriors come from?

  • Drawn from lower-ranking families

  • Initially served the Heian government as:

    • Tax collectors (film point)

    • Constables/police

    • Militia

  • Built up power in the provinces

    • The control of land


Gradual shift in power

Gradual shift in power

  • End of 1100s: aristocratic factions struggle for power

    • Powerful warrior clans compete, too

  • The warrior clans have military power

    • Leads to the Gempei war 1180-1185

    • A struggle between the Genji (Minamoto) and Heike (Taira)

  • Recounted in the Tale of the Heike


Warrior culture

Warrior culture

  • A focus on military arts (bu 武)

    • Swordsmanship

      • Swordmaking (film point)

    • Horsemanship

      • There were footsoldiers as well

  • But also the fine arts (bun文) (film point)

    • Flower arranging

    • Calligraphy and writing: Heike, “The Petition”


Warrior culture and buddhism

Warrior culture and Buddhism

  • Warrior fine arts (bun文) from Zen Buddhism

    • The above, plus gardening

  • Mental and physical discipline


Warriors and zen buddhism

Warriors and Zen Buddhism

  • Zen imported from China in the 1200s

  • For the warriors, a counterbalance to aristocratic Buddhism

  • However: (film point)

    • Though most Zen Buddhists were warriors

    • Most warriors were not Zen Buddhists

      • Many maintained older family traditions

      • For example, the Pure Land (Dan-no-ura)

      • The Takiguchi nyūdō (acolyte), “Yokobue”


Warriors and noh theatre

Warriors and Noh theatre

  • Develops 1300-1400s

    • Slow moving

    • Typically a Buddhist theme

  • Another cultural counterbalance to aristocratic culture


Warriors and honor film point

Warriors and honor (film point)

  • The death of Atsumori: classic example

    • To kill a youth is not honorable

    • To free an enemy is not honorable

  • Do you find examples of warriors fleeing?

    • What happens when they do?

  • Honor was mostly for the leadership

    • The cement in the lord-vassal relationship

  • Low-ranking samurai fought to survive


Women warriors film point

Women Warriors (film point)

  • Women warriors were rare

  • Tomoe is the exception that proves the rule

    • See “The Death of Kiso”

    • Tomoe may be a fictional trope

  • In fact, women lost ground during the warrior age

    • Literacy: no great works by women

    • Inheritance: no longer partible


Ninja

Ninja?

  • We know little about ninja忍者

  • They may have been samurai spies

  • They may have been warrior monks

    • Monks would fight battles to protect holdings

    • Killing was clearly not a big issue (film point)


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • The Tale of the Heike served warrior interests

    • It should be viewed with caution

  • High-ranking warriors valued honor

    • New recruits tried to survive

  • Warriors were only one power group

    • Aristocrats still had authority

    • Buddhist institutions had great resources


More conclusions

More Conclusions

  • The image of the Japanese warrior is mostly a myth, but an important one

    • As the film showed, it served, and serves a particular function

      • WWII

      • Japan’s image in the West


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