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japanese history discourse

kuchi

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this is a thread not too ask questions but too trade information, sort of like the philosophy coffee shops in the states, for those with predisposed knowledge too talk too others who know but may have a different opinion. im not sure how much all of you know about japanese history, but i suspect only the well read or the japanese will be posting here. i know maciamo will be posting on several subjects at least.

also, since i grew up in the states i lack subtle things in my knowledge base that im sure those that grew up with japanese history classes do not. so if there are voids in what i discuss please forgive me because i can't translate japanese so i must accept the biases of those that do.

i figured we would start with the minamoto brothers who over-through the taira...yoritomo, yoshitsune, and noriyori (sry about any spelling errors as i don窶冲 read japanese and must accept others words for it). what do you think happened between the brothers that yoritomo would order yoshitsune killed. as I have not read either the heike monogatari (sp?) nor the azuma kagamei (sp?) im curious to hear what other people who have think.
 

senseiman

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Interesting question.

From what I've read, Yoshitsune was a much better commander than Yoritomo, who viewed his half brother as a threat to his own power. Some of the greatest victories of the Minamoto over the Taira like the battle at Ichinotani were actually won by Yoshitsune, not Yoritomo. He may also have been jealous of Yoshitsune's popularity. Killing off potential rivals, even those with close family ties, was a not uncommon practice in those days and prior to ordering Yoshitsune's death, Yoritomo had already killed off several of his fellow clansmen for similar reasons.

The Heike Monogatari and the era of the Genpei wars are among my favorite subjects in Japanese history. My wife's hometown is at the base of Yashima on Shikoku, which is where the Taira fled to with the emporer Antoku after they were forced by the Genji to flee Kyoto. It was also from Yashima that the Heike armies set sail in 1185 to meet their final defeat at the hands of the Minamoto in the inland sea.
 

mad pierrot

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This sounds like a good idea for a thread. I've got a few questions myself. For starters, I'd like to know if anyone here knows anything about the Ainu. Are there any historical documents pertaining to run-ins the Japanese might have had with them in the conquests of Tohoku and Hokaido?
 

senseiman

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The Japanese fought numerous wars with the Ainu in northern Japan (near modern day Sendai) in the 8th century. The Ainu were fairly fierce warriors it seems, as they inflicted several major defeats on the Japanese and forced the court to totally re-organize the system of military service before they were able to hold the Ainu in check.

I'm not sure if there are any existing contemporary documents related to this as it was so long ago. But I'm sure there must be something out there.
 

senseiman

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Actually, now that I think about it, if you look at the Nihongi or the Kojiki they contain the legendary stories of the Japanese conquest of the native people's of western Japan in the centuries leading up to the founding of the capital in the Yamato alluvial plain. Its not quite the same, but those people were likely related to the Ainu.
 

kuchi

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senseiman said:
Interesting question.

From what I've read, Yoshitsune was a much better commander than Yoritomo, who viewed his half brother as a threat to his own power. Some of the greatest victories of the Minamoto over the Taira like the battle at Ichinotani were actually won by Yoshitsune, not Yoritomo. He may also have been jealous of Yoshitsune's popularity. Killing off potential rivals, even those with close family ties, was a not uncommon practice in those days and prior to ordering Yoshitsune's death, Yoritomo had already killed off several of his fellow clansmen for similar reasons.

The Heike Monogatari and the era of the Genpei wars are among my favorite subjects in Japanese history. My wife's hometown is at the base of Yashima on Shikoku, which is where the Taira fled to with the emporer Antoku after they were forced by the Genji to flee Kyoto. It was also from Yashima that the Heike armies set sail in 1185 to meet their final defeat at the hands of the Minamoto in the inland sea.

that is how i have always felt about it, for facts and motives i use are that noriyori refused too lead troops after his brother and that there was a written account by yoshitsune in a letter (i cant remember what its called right now) given too one of yoritomo窶冱 retainers explaining his bafflement over his treatment. the fact that he eventually sided with a minamoto sided with yoshinaka (before his defeat) suggests that there might be more too the story, or perhaps it was an act of desperation against a brother with a jealous blood-lust. what are your feelings on this? and please try not too agree too much, a one-sided discussion is most often a brief and boring one lol.


and as for the aniu, i am not pleased too say i dont know much more than a few things about their practices and that the hokkaido was flooded with emigrants - and japan is currently drafting new laws too protect them.
 

senseiman

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Kuchi - I'm afraid I'm going to have to do some brushing up on the subject before I can make an intelligent reply beyond what I already said. Its been a while since I last read anything about it and most of the details have slipped my mind. The only references I have at hand are a Japanese version of the Heike Monogatari and George Sansom's "A history of Japan from ancient times to 1334". I'll get back with a detailed response later! Promise!
 

kuchi

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sounds good, as long as i get an intelligent answer (hence the name of the thread) ill wait indefinately.
 
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