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Thread: Tuteledge of farmers in bujutsu during edo-period.

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    Default Tuteledge of farmers in bujutsu during edo-period.

    I have read more than once that certain classical martial arts taught farmers in the art of war. The main example that comes to mind is the Katori Shinto-ryu tradition which has stated that the school wasn't open to just members of the warrior class but also farmers. The TSKSR isnt the only school (obviously) that taught farmers but it was the first that came to mind.

    I can imagine this setup working fine during the Sengoku Jidai era with plenty of farmers turning into soldiers and then going back to the paddy field, but how did it work during the Edo-period? Were farmers allowed to learn martial arts eventhough they weren't allowed to carry & own weapons?
    Fredrik Hall
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    Yes. There was no proscription against training with wooden weapons, merely a proscription against carrying two swords. High ranking farmers, and goshi (yeomen - a class between bushi and nomin) had permission to carry one sword. Maniwa Nen-ryu was primarily a goshi martial art. Araki-ryu, in mid-Edo, was taught to villagers - thus called Moro (village) Budo Araki-ryu. Machi (Town) dojos sprung up all over and merchants and artisans trained in kenjutsu.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellis Amdur View Post
    Yes. There was no proscription against training with wooden weapons, merely a proscription against carrying two swords. High ranking farmers, and goshi (yeomen - a class between bushi and nomin) had permission to carry one sword. Maniwa Nen-ryu was primarily a goshi martial art. Araki-ryu, in mid-Edo, was taught to villagers - thus called Moro (village) Budo Araki-ryu. Machi (Town) dojos sprung up all over and merchants and artisans trained in kenjutsu.
    Best
    I see, thanks! Thats a revelation for me . I always thought that the Tokugawa was very weary of the possibility of a new farmers uprising, like Ikko-ikki, and forbid any non-warrior from being trained in warfare/weapons.

    Oh, speaking of yeomen and other people with permission to carry sword, would a village headman be allowed to wear a sword? (Of course I'm assuming they werent all part of the warrior-class to begin with.)
    Fredrik Hall
    "To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." /Confucius

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    Yes, the village headman would carry a single sword - or at least, could. Tokugawa Japan was the most successful fascist state ever created - using fascism in it's real sense of state control of the populace, economy, etc. (thus, neither left nor right). The villages were organized in "gonin-gumi" - males were responsible for their own wives and kids, and groups of five males were headed by one of them, who reported upwards, to a larger level on the "pyramid," etc.
    The gradual rise of the merchant class (hooray capitalism) gradually undermined this, because the merchants, at once at the bottom of the caste structure, became wealthy, then educated, cosmopolitan, and eventually, the bushi got in debt to the merchants, which enabled merchants to buy their way up into the bushi class (fluid social boundaries), and bushi dropped down into the farmer class, by either formal renunciation of status, or de facto. This led to increasing social ferment, and that, as much as anything else, made Japan resilient enough to deal with the encroachments of the West, so that it was not colonized and socially destroyed like so much of Asia.
    (An aside: Indonesia and Japan were almost mirror-image societies, in social structure and technology at the 16th century. The Dutch turned Indonesia into a plantation, whereas Japan, by shutting itself off and then later, radically innovating kept the colonists out - which is why Indonesia today is 3rd world, and Japan is 1st.).

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    Indeed, when I first read the original post in this thread, Maniwa Nen-ryu and Sanjin Araki-ryu sprang to mind.
    Last edited by Steve Delaney; 22nd January 2008 at 00:41. Reason: irrelevant

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    I think that Kondou Isami was originally from a farmer family and was adopted after he started to study Tennen Rishin ryuu, so that implies that Tennen Rishin ryuu was also trained by other classes besides the bushi.

    From what I've read (an OLD article from Journal of Asian Studies) this kind of adoption from outside the bushi class was quite rare though. Most adoption was done from within the bushi class, younger sons from the buke families of approximately the same class. (Moore, Ray; Adoption and Samurai Mobility in Tokugawa Japan; The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 29, No. 3, 1970)

    I think another thing worth pointing out is that "Edo-period" is over 250 years -- from the turbulent early Edo-period, through the relatively peaceful era of mid Tokugawa, to the unstability of the late Tokugawa period.

    If I've understood correctly, the views on students from lower classes became more liberal in the latter part of the era. Maybe the income of the rich merchants and wealthier farmers (e.g. village heads) was an appealing opportunity for some kenjutsu teachers as the bushi class became poorer and poorer towards the end of the Edo-period.
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    In Kagoshima a method of weapons training for farmers disguised as a folk dance was created to teach rokushaku bo, sanjyaku bo (maybe sword) and a number of other implements including kama. There are still a number of variations of this dance being practiced around Kagoshima prefecture.
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    To add Mr. Amdur's remarks regarding non-bushi carrying swords.

    The special dispensation that bushi received was called "myoji-taito" 苗字帯刀, meaning they had surnames and the right to wear a katana. The katana and wakizashi were called the "daisho", but the law wasn't specifically that only bushi could wear the daisho, but rather that only bushi could wear a katana with their wakizashi. Everyone else, if they had the money (and no doubt jumped through bureaucratic hoops) could carry a wakizashi for protection. In fact there was a sword called "dochuzashi" 道中差, a short sword commoners were permitted to carry when on the road travelling.

    Myoji-taito was sometimes given to non-bushi for various reasons -- distinguished service or contribution, and things like that. Alternatively, someone might be awarded just a myoji (a surname), or just taito (the right to carry a katana). In any case, receiving either or both did not make one a bushi, nor did it make one's family a buke. Many have pointed to William Adams' Japanese name (Miura Anjin) and the fact that he owned a daisho and then assumed that he was made part of the samurai class. However, his work for the Shogunate dealt in commerce and foreign relations, not to mention that he was foreigner. What is more likely is that he was given myoji-taito as a special dispensation. (Adams' is sometimes said to have become a hatamono, but it is my understanding that there is no contemporary record of this.)
    Josh Reyer

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    Maybe William Adams wasn't hatamoto, but we all know the good Pilot John Blackthorne was.
    "Are you hatamoto? I am hatamoto."
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZealUK View Post
    In Kagoshima a method of weapons training for farmers disguised as a folk dance was created to teach rokushaku bo, sanjyaku bo (maybe sword) and a number of other implements including kama. There are still a number of variations of this dance being practiced around Kagoshima prefecture.
    Since they disguised it then I assume that weaponstraining for farmers was not allowed in Kagoshima right? Was it up to individal province who was allowed to train or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Reyer View Post
    To add Mr. Amdur's remarks regarding non-bushi carrying swords.

    The special dispensation that bushi received was called "myoji-taito" 苗字帯刀, meaning they had surnames and the right to wear a katana. The katana and wakizashi were called the "daisho", but the law wasn't specifically that only bushi could wear the daisho, but rather that only bushi could wear a katana with their wakizashi. Everyone else, if they had the money (and no doubt jumped through bureaucratic hoops) could carry a wakizashi for protection. In fact there was a sword called "dochuzashi" 道中差, a short sword commoners were permitted to carry when on the road travelling.

    Myoji-taito was sometimes given to non-bushi for various reasons -- distinguished service or contribution, and things like that. Alternatively, someone might be awarded just a myoji (a surname), or just taito (the right to carry a katana). In any case, receiving either or both did not make one a bushi, nor did it make one's family a buke.
    This is a much more complex (and more interesting) than I could imagine.
    I found one of those "dochuzashi" by the way:



    So how does Toyotomi Hideyoshis Sword-hunt and the separation-edict fit into all this?
    Fredrik Hall
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    How about http://www.koryu.com/guide/ichiden.html Asayama Ichiden-ryu heiho as another example of a koryu with close links to the farming class?

    It's an interesting topic for me, the role of agriculture workers in Japan. It has been presented before, often in popular media, as a strict split between bushi and non-bushi, but it seems to me that the class stratification was a bit more complex than this. Even through the strict regulations of the Tokugawa period, it seems that there were all sorts of exemptions and exceptions allowable. Goshi is just one example. And I think that farmers were considered a higher class than the merchant/artisans until late in the period. Anyhow, the local responses of the landed gentry, of the food suppliers, to the citified government is interesting.

    Hideyoshi's sword edict is to me a classic example of pulling the ladder up after one's own ascent, since he was from the farm class himself. But it also laid the ground work for the Tokugawa fascist state Ellis mentioned.
    Last edited by nicojo; 22nd January 2008 at 14:34.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred27 View Post
    This is a much more complex (and more interesting) than I could imagine.
    I would say that since I started studying up on Japanese history, particularly in Japanese, just about every conception I had about samurai has proven...well, if not wrong, then certainly much more nuanced.

    I found one of those "dochuzashi" by the way:
    Carried by the great Tanikaze, it would seem.

    So how does Toyotomi Hideyoshis Sword-hunt and the separation-edict fit into all this?
    The sword-hunt was part of Hideyoshi's plan to divide the classes into castes, disarming the farmers so that only bushi had weapons, as well as de-arm the populace. Initially he banned farmers from having even wakizashi, but by the mid 1600s the country was at peace and commoners were carrying wakizashi again, and the restriction on sword carrying was only on the katana.

    That's kinda what I mean about all my conceptions being wrong. Initially my image was "Samurai carry swords and commoners can't!" Then I find out that during the Sengoku period any man of age could carry a katana, and that even in the Edo period commoners carried wakizashi for travel. It turns out that my image was correct for basically only one 80 year period in the roughly 700 years of "samurai" history.
    Josh Reyer

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    Here's a good article (although a bit old) mentioning the changes in japanese military hierachy http://web.uvic.ca/ehnorman/PDFs/Soldier%20Peasant1.pdf

    It mentions that the Satsuma clan had 20 000 goshi on it's lands, all of wich bearing sword. It seems they acted mainly as enforcers of law upon the lower peasentry (who revolted more often than we think, but for that matter much less in Satsuma) and responsible for counter espionnage against the bakufu.

    And if you have acess to JStor, this is also a good one: https://132.203.244.152/http/0/www.j...earchUrl=http%

    It explains the relationship between merchants and samurai. It seems that buying a goshin title was common place for wealthy merchants, and that city elders had the right to wear the daisho and a surname (myoji taito) and even to be permitted an audience with the daimyo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellis Amdur View Post
    This led to increasing social ferment, and that, as much as anything else, made Japan resilient enough to deal with the encroachments of the West, so that it was not colonized and socially destroyed like so much of Asia.
    (An aside: Indonesia and Japan were almost mirror-image societies, in social structure and technology at the 16th century. The Dutch turned Indonesia into a plantation, whereas Japan, by shutting itself off and then later, radically innovating kept the colonists out - which is why Indonesia today is 3rd world, and Japan is 1st.).
    This part of your post Ellis has me so intrigued. I had never noticed the fact that Japan was not as affected by the Western influence as other Asian countries. Can you elaborate as to how the social structure prevented colonization? At least I think that's what you meant =/

    And what did the Japanese "radically innovate"?
    -John Nguyen

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    Dear Max,
    thank you for posting the two links. Could you please post the name of the second article? I have access to JSTOR but the link you provided leads to a secure VPN.

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    Karsten
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