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Thread: "shinan"?

  1. #16
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    Mr Owens,

    The illustration of 'shinansha' in the "Daijiten" shows a man standing in a cart holding his arm out. Clearly the term has changed its meaning from simply pointing in a certain direction. As for 'yaku', there is a constant slide in meaning from the office to the person who holds the office, as in the phrase 'torishimari yaku', for example, which means director (of a company).

    If it indicates a teaching rank, as it appears to do in some martial arts schools, it is presumably given by the organization or school. In the web site indicated, the word seems to be merely a title, which can be empty, or not, as the case may be.

    Best regards,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

  2. #17
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    I am not a linguist or a professor, but as I understand it, the title "shinanyaku" was given to a teacher (of bugei in this case; I suppose one could be a shinanyaku of anything) by the person or organization by whom he was employed in the capacity of instructor. I could be wrong, but I don't think that "shinanyaku" would be a title conferred on a person by a martial ryu designatiing level of attainment in the ryu.

    That is, his attainment in the ryu would be separate from his poosition as an instructor in someone's employ.
    Earl Hartman

  3. #18
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    Default Gotta put my two cents' worth in this one

    With the exceptions pointed out by Mr. Lee, I'm in agreement with Earl Hartmann on this one. Except for what Mr. Lee indicates of certain current practices in certain koryu, the only times I've found the characters used, which at first confused me, was in old texts referring to teachers of martial arts within a clan or feudal domain. Note that this does not indicate whether or not the teacher was the founder, successor, or what other position the instructor had within the ryu itself; he was an appointed bugei instructor to the clan up to the end of the Tokugawa Period. It was an office, a job, an appointment.

    Thus, Yagyu Munenori started off officially appointed as one of the shinanyaku to the Tokugawa family, a position of some prestige, but not really all that big a deal considering the stipend that came with it, but he eventually rose to become Soh-metsuke, or overseer, of the tozama daimyo, with an accompanying HUGE increase in his stipend. Quite a rise for a swordslinger from an obscure backwater corner of the Yamato bonchi. I will leave the reasons and wherefores to another thread (shades of Yagyu Ichizoku No Inbo, the chanbara that starred Chiba Shinichi, Nakamura Kinnosuke, Sanada Hiroyuki and who knows who else).

    Prof. Goldsbury's dissection of the kanji may have shed some light on the meaning. "Finger pointing south-office" for Shinanyaku always befuddled me as a term for bugei instructor, but then think about it. As shinanyaku for the Tokugawa or for any large clan, you instructed in a traditional dojo that spared no expense to get the architecture and accessories right. Traditionally, that meant placing the front of the dojo in the north, where the "head" should be, as in properly aligned meeting halls, where the daimyo met his retainers. The lord sat in the kamiza area north, looking south. The shinanyaku, when he taught, would be in the dojo's upper area, north, looking southwards at his students. Therefore, the term signifies his position and status in the dojo; standing in the upper area, instructing southwards.

    To find that some New Age martial arts person with very questionable ties to Japanese koryu appropriated the term, which is already archaic and appropriate only for old koryu with such a history, makes me gag. There's a lot of really psychotic nutcases out there appropriating things we hold too dear to let things slide.

    Wayne Muromoto

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    Default Sorry, Earl

    Ooops. Sorry Earl. I keep adding an extra "n" to your last name. Gomen kudasai. Sorya akan na!

    Wayne Muromoto

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    I was planning a lengthy piece on the history of the term, but Mr Muromoto's post has supplied much important information, especially relating to Edo usage. The term is, however, much older, though I am not certain whether the older use was specific to bugei. From the definitions I gave earlier, it would seem not.

    I am at home and do not want to venture through the snow to the Saijo bonchi—which invariably gets loads more snow than here—to my office, where all the heavy duty books are.

    I, too, am curious why the term was chosen.

    Best regards,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    I, too, am curious why the term was chosen.
    I think I have a possible answer. I believe it has to do with Miyama-ryu Jujitsu, an American style created by Antonio Pereira. But I want to preface my suppositions by saying that this is tentative and in no way intended to slight practioners of Miyama-ryu or its founder. I have no comment about the effectiveness of its techniques because I have never seen it performed, and I have no hostility towards its practitioners; on the contrary I am envious of Pereira's opportunities to train with people such as Morihei Ueshiba and other very well known Japanese teachers of that generation.

    From an official Miyama-ryu webpage, there is a brief mention of how Mr. Pereira, after his training in Japan, returned to New York and began a process of adapting what he learned to the specific needs and stressors of his urban community. Here is a quote:

    Knowing that the Western life style and philosophy differs from the Eastern, he adapted the physical techniques and mind set of the Samurai Warrior to the culture of the dangerous streets of the modern, urban South Bronx. ...

    ...In 1964 he formalized the name of his eclectic method Miyama Ryu Jujutsu, which means School of the Three Mountains in English, or Tremont in French. This was the avenue on which the school was located. ...

    In 1973 Pereira researched the classical ranking system of Japanese systems. He decided to use the ranking structure and nomenclature of the Japanese martial arts, both classical and modern. He took the title of Shinan, which means originator.
    (b/f, ital. mine)

    It seems this was a conscious decision to avoid using the term "Soke" which he knew was incorrect for this application, and another Miyama-ryu webpage, which I am sorry to say I cannot find today, mentions that he offered the title "Soke" to his son as carrier of the tradition, but that his son refused. Leadership in Miyama-ryu was disseminated among three of Mr. Pereira's students, none of whom use the word "Shinan" for themselves, but to refer only to their teacher.

    The individual in question, Mr. Sharpe, has studied Miyama-ryu in the past and apparantly taken this word to refer to himself. A discussion of this individual, as well as a fine example of web-cross-self-referencing in the most po-mo of ways, is currently here, in "Baffling Budo" forum. I will leave it to my betters and the more experienced to further examine Mr. Sharpe's claims, rhetoric and appropriation of the title "Shinan". I will say that one of the leaders of Miyama-ryu, D'arcy Rahming, is a member of e-budo and that he is perhaps the best equipped to further talk about Mr. Pereira's use and choice of the term, as well as Mr. Sharpe, should he choose to.

    I know most posters here are familiar with Miyama-ryu and Japanese language/culture to a greater degree than I; most likely others have drawn similar conclusions. Yet I thought perhaps a bit of "filling in the blanks" as I see them may be useful for further discussion. It seems from my point of view that Mr. Pereira's use of the term "Shinan" is a separate issue and one without negligence, yet perhaps was the inspiration for Mr. Sharpe's use of it. But then again, I am speaking from a novice point of view.

    Respectfully,
    J. Nicolaysen
    -------
    "I value the opinion much more of a grand master then I do some English professor, anyways." Well really, who wouldn't?

    We're all of us just bozos on the budo bus and there's no point in looking to us for answers regarding all the deep and important issues.--M. Skoss.

  7. #22
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    You see, this is what happens when people who don't really know anything about Japan, its traditions, or the Japanese language start messing around under the hood when they don't know a spark plug from an alternator.

    Nocojo says:

    "...In 1964 he formalized the name of his eclectic method Miyama Ryu Jujutsu....He took the title of Shinan, which means originator."

    Not to put too fine a point on it, this is so wrong in so many ways, that it is just embarrassing. Whoever said this is just plain ignorant of Japanese. There is no other way to put it.

    As Professor Goldbury has pointed out, "shinan" means "instruction" ("shinan suru", "to instruct"). A "shinanyaku", is, therefore, and instructor. He is not the founder of anything.

    Also, "soke" does not mean "founder". IIRC, the "so" of "soke" is written with the kanji for "sect" or "belief" (the "shu" of Tendai-Shu), and "ke" means "house". So one way of interpreting this would be, perhaps, "the house of the sect"; that is, the family which holds the teachings of the sect, the "sect" in this case being the teachings of the ryu. So, the term "soke" has come to mean the inheritor of that particular school. It seems to mean something like "iemoto" in ikebana and other arts, if I am not mistaken.

    The Japanese term designating the founder of a tradition is "ryuuso". If the man who created Miyama Ryu actually knew Japanese, he would have called himself "ryuuso". Since Miyama Ryu is his creation, that would have been more apropriate than "shinan", which does not mean what he thought it did.

    If I am mistaken, I am sure Professor Goldbury will correct me.

    Wayne:

    Ki ni shinai, ki ni shinai. Yoku aru hanashi ya.

    (Munenori's position as "sometsuke" of the tozama daimyo is probably the reason that popular fiction always depicted the Yagyu as spymasters, I guess.)
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 1st February 2005 at 19:08.
    Earl Hartman

  8. #23
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    Originally posted by Earl Hartman
    [B]You see, this is what happens when people who don't really know anything about Japan, its traditions, or the Japanese language start messing around under the hood when they don't know a spark plug from an alternator....The Japanese term designating the founder of a tradition is "ryuuso".
    Mr. Hartman,

    I was about to address this but with a different term. If you've a moment, what's the difference between "RYUUSO" and "KAISO"?

    Thanks.
    Don J. Modesto
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
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    http://theaikidodojo.com/

  9. #24
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    They probably mean pretty much the same thing, I suspect.

    "Kaiso" would mean the "opening ancestor", that is, the creator of something. "Ryuuso" means "flow ancestor", that is, the progenitor of the ryu. I'm pretty sure that these two terms are pretty much interchangeable.

    (Eagerly awaiting P. Goldbury's input here.)
    Earl Hartman

  10. #25
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    In its earliest uses, 'Kaiso' has a strong Buddhist connection. Here are the references from the Daijiten, Vol. 3, p.227:

    1. Butsugo. Aru shuukyou no oshie wo saisho ni tokita (toku = preach) hito. Kaisan (san = mountain). Soshi (shi = the shi in shihan).
    Examples are given from a dictionary produced in 1603/4; the creator of a shinkyou in 1886: "gen ni shinkyou no kaiso to aogare, ooshuu riku no fuuchou ni megura shi..."

    2. Gakumon, geijutsu nado no ichi ha wo hajimeta hito. Mata, jigyou wo saisho ni okoshita (= KI: begin, create) hito. Biso.
    The reference here is to a Japanese English dictionary published in 1886, with other references from 1903 and 1916.

    3. Sono ie wo okoshita ( = KYOU: revive the fortunes of) saisho no hito.
    The reference here is to 1870.

    'Ryuuso' has just one definition.
    Hajimete sono ryuuha wo tateta hito.
    The reference is to rakugo and is dated 1895.

    This actually fits with a conversation I had with a disciple of Kenji Tomiki, who was an early deshi of Moriteru Ueshiba. He criticized the references to Ueshiba as 'Aikido Kaiso', on the grounds that it was too Buddhist.

    So the two terms probably would be pretty much interchangable at the time Ueshiba was living. But there are a number of variations given in the definitions relating to the earlier Buddhist uses.

    Best regards,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

  11. #26
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    Thanks, Professor. Good to know.
    Earl Hartman

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    Hi, Peter,

    As you so fulsomely and consistently reply to matters of language, I guess you enjoy it. I certainly hope so because you obvously put no little time in on it. It sure it useful to this terminal monolingual. Many thanks.
    Don J. Modesto
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
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    http://theaikidodojo.com/

  13. #28
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    Originally posted by don
    Hi, Peter,

    As you so fulsomely and consistently reply to matters of language, I guess you enjoy it. I certainly hope so because you obvously put no little time in on it. It sure it useful to this terminal monolingual. Many thanks.
    Hello Don,

    Well, I am here and have access to a vast linguistic resource... Also, I had no idea that shinan had a sense related to the martial arts until you brought the matter up. I looked around and lo and behold: it was being used wrongly!

    I have a suspicion, which I cannot confirm at present, that M Ueshiba was referred to as 'Kaiso' because of the connection with Onisaburo Deguchi.

    Best regards,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

  14. #29
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    You didn't know of that usage of "shinan" Professor?

    I guess I've seen too many jidaigeki and chambara movies and TV shows. Almost every time there is a duel somebody is being introduced as "Nani nani Ryu menkyo kaiden, nani nai Han no bugei shinanyaku" or something.

    This is usually just before he's humiliated by the wandering ronin with the eypatch and the red fundoshi.
    Earl Hartman

  15. #30
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    Originally posted by Earl Hartman
    You didn't know of that usage of "shinan" Professor?

    I guess I've seen too many jidaigeki and chambara movies and TV shows. Almost every time there is a duel somebody is being introduced as "Nani nani Ryu menkyo kaiden, nani nai Han no bugei shinanyaku" or something.

    This is usually just before he's humiliated by the wandering ronin with the eypatch and the red fundoshi.
    Please dispense with the title, which I use only as some indication that I know just a little of what I write about.

    Well, I liked the last Zatoichi production with Beat Takeshi and I am looking forward to seeing Yoji Yamada's new "Kakuji-ken Oni no Tsune" when it comes out on DVD . I hate to admit it, but this, apart from "Tasogare Seibei", is the only jidai-geki stuff I have seen since "Seven Samurai" and a couple of others by Kurosawa. I managed one episode of "Shinsengumi" last year and a couple of "Musashi" the year before. I suppose I ought to look once at the present offering, which is about Yoshitsune, I believe.

    Actually, I see enough gendaigeki in the classroom, though they don't normally kill each other—they just massacre the language.

    Peter G.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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