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Looking for Help with learning about Traditional Japan

Good Karma

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Hello i am working on a project that i do not wish to speak too much about. I would like an English speaking person, who know about or has a tool that I was unable to find, that has information about very old and traditional methods of how things where done in feudal japan. I prefer talking on Skype but if you are not able to i understand that, we can talk on here through PM. most of what i will be asking is about peasant life in the 12th to 16th century. it does not need to me super exact. if they didn't have something back then but in theory could have made it as they had the tools and materials its fine. a "Touch of Modern" will be acceptable as long as it wont make too many people scratch their heads. You may reply with questions that i will try to answer as long as they are not compromising to my project. sorry for being so vague. PM me if you think you can help.
 

nice gaijin

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Sorry I'm not too familiar with that period. If you have specific questions about how certain things were done, like family life, caste systems, public works and warfare, we can try to help you find the answers here.

I'm sure it'll be a nice story/anime/game
 

Good Karma

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i suppose what I'm looking for, at this point, is a list of things you would find in a house at that time from all different classes.
 

Mike Cash

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This has the feel of turning into a game of Twenty Questions while we try to pry enough information out of you in order to be able to answer your questions. You can either be forthcoming and perhaps get help, or you can be cagey and coy and get ignored. Aspiring authors ignorant of Japan and wanting us to be their technical/linguistic consulting staff are by and large the most frustrating and tiresome posters we get and we're a bit weary of them.

You want to ask some straight-up and to-the-point questions, fire away. You want to ask something as broad as a full inventory of the household items of every social class across four or five centuries of Japanese history, get ready to hear the sound of crickets.
 

Glenski

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most of what i will be asking is about peasant life in the 12th to 16th century.
That covers a pretty big period of time, as I'm sure you realize.

i am working on a project that i do not wish to speak too much about.
Sounds like a book, movie, TV series, or college homework assignment. I'm guessing (and hoping) it's not homework. Plenty of people come here to ask about stuff for their book projects. I don't think you have anything to fear about people stealing your ideas, if that's what you were thinking.

information about very old and traditional methods of how things where done in feudal japan.
Again you are covering a huge ground here. Educational system? Governmental system for city, prefecture, country? Monetary system? Plumbing? Public baths? What exactly do you want to know?

if they didn't have something back then but in theory could have made it
What are you referring to? Home building materials? Pottery production? Paper making? Toilet and sewer layouts? Length of chopsticks in a home? Police ID badges? Bridge construction? Canned goods? Contraceptives?

My immediate reaction is to tell you to talk to historians, librarians, and museum curators. Have you done that yet? They are the best experts, not anonymous people on an internet forum. It appears that you may be from California, in which case you should consider contacting such places as the U of CA Berkeley or San Diego campuses for their Japanese Studies departments and any resources they can offer.
 
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Good Karma

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That covers a pretty big period of time, as I'm sure you realize.
I hope i Quoted this correctly... yes i do i started a list right after having made my 2nd post. i will post it after this.

Sounds like a book, movie, TV series, or college homework assignment. I'm guessing (and hoping) it's not homework. Plenty of people come here to ask about stuff for their book projects. I don't think you have anything to fear about people stealing your ideas, if that's what you were thinking.
sorry for that.

Again you are covering a huge ground here. Educational system? Governmental system for city, prefecture, country? Monetary system? Plumbing? Public baths? What exactly do you want to know?
Some of those things sound good to cover. but i will post my list first and go from there


What are you referring to?
Home building materials? Pottery production? Paper making? Toilet and sewer layouts? Length of chopsticks in a home? Police ID badges? Bridge construction? Canned goods? Contraceptives?
I did not realize they had sewers.. we can talk about that later if need be

My immediate reaction is to tell you to talk to historians, librarians, and museum curators. Have you done that yet? They are the best experts, not anonymous people on an internet forum. It appears that you may be from California, in which case you should consider contacting such places as the U of CA Berkeley or San Diego campuses for their Japanese Studies departments and any resources they can offer.
No i have not done this it a solid idea though I'm on that so fast =)

As for my list so far.


Please confirm all my names are correct (if given, if not please name them), give me social class examples and any additional information that you think would be useful or interesting.


What are Japanese candles called: Warōsoku (please Confirm)

Is this the only style of candle in Japan:

What are Japanese Lanterns Called (i know there are different kinds tell me many and their purpose):

Give me as many examples of traditional japanese traps as you can. i.e. for a bear or fox:

What would you call an old Japanese “Cobblestone” path:

Ofuro is a Japanese styled bath (please Confirm), what was the lowest social class that would have had that and how would a peasant use to wash?:

Shikibuton (please Confirm that’s a bed), is that what a peasant would have slept on:

What class would have a Zaisu Chair:

What would you call a traditional blanket/s (Futon?):

Zabuton (Pillow?):

Shoji (Paper wall), is there a specific wood that is used with this style of Window/Wall:

Randoseru (Leather Backpack) was this used back then:

Kinchaku (Bag), Inrou (Wood "Bag") is there is differences in class/ sex that would carry this:

Every wooden box seems to be a Tansu.. i.e. crates and chests even “Cabinet” like storeage. Is this correct? Is there an explanation for this?:

What would different stalls be called that sell goods on the streets:

Is Kotatsu Futon traditional?:

What about Kotasu (Heat Table):

Engawa is a wooden floor that wraps around a house (like a deck kinda) im just bring this up as it is an interesting thing to me to have a “deck” that does that. If you can give me any interesting facts about it that would be great:

Also Engawa can you explain this better? The underlined confuses me.. Sorry (An engawa is an outer corridor that wraps around a Japanese house. These were traditionally used as a separator between delicate shoji and outer storm shutters. When the storm shutters are shut, engawa feel something like a secret passageway that circles a house and can be extremely narrow. In some cases, large houses have a wide engawa that resembles a wrap-around veranda when the storm shutters are open.) is there an outer Amado that seals the deck?:

Did outter Ranma (window)have system to close? What happened in winter:

Would a Genkan (Entrance) be in a peasant's house.

How far back can Sudare (Shades) be traced?:
 

Glenski

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People at your local universities should have no trouble pointing you to sources of information to answer those questions. Good luck.

P.S. Most writers invest money in reference books to locate such info, too. Just read the acknowledgements page of their books to see who they thank for providing help, and don't forget to do the same with your book, movie, manga, series, whatever.
 

Glenski

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You suppose??? Listen, I've been acknowledged in a few books as a source for information, and it's extremely nice to have that after putting the effort that I did to help the authors. In fact, it's not just nice, but it's professional!

Keep that in mind when you go around asking for assistance for this and any future project.
 

joadbres

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One of the things you will need to be careful with is using the correct names for things as they were used at the time, so that your descriptions don't sound strange or anachronistic.

For example, although the term warosoku has apparently been in use for a long time, the "wa" part of it simply refers to Japan, and is used to contrast Japanese candles with other styles of candles imported from other countries. In the era you are working with, the common man would not have said "warosoku" to describe a candle. As far as I can tell from a brief web search, the popular term at the time was simply "rosoku". (Actually, more specifically, spoken Japanese has changed over time, and the pronunciation in the past would have been closer to "rafusoku", but it is hard to know accurately when exactly the sounds changed, so you are probably better off using modern pronunciations.)

One more example: the term randoseru was a comparatively recent borrow (from Dutch in the late 19th century), so certainly would not have been used during the eras you are working with.

As for your question about the underlined passage regarding engawa, I am not sure what part you don't understand. The engawa is INSIDE the storm shutters, and encircles the rest of the house. When the shutters are shut, it becomes like a dark, narrow interior passage, which is why it was described as "secret".

A few more notes: a zabuton is a pillow for sitting on, but not for sleeping. The term "futon" generically refers to any type of padded bedding, and becomes "buton" when preceded by a word describing the more specific type (such as zabuton). The shikibuton is below the sleeper, and the kakebuton above.
 

joadbres

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You suppose??? Listen, I've been acknowledged in a few books as a source for information, and it's extremely nice to have that after putting the effort that I did to help the authors. In fact, it's not just nice, but it's professional!
I think the "suppose" referred to buying reference books and such. I doubt the OP was contemplating using people as sources without crediting them. No need to fly off the handle.
 

mdchachi

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I think the "suppose" referred to buying reference books and such. I doubt the OP was contemplating using people as sources without crediting them.
That's the way I read it too. fwiw.
 

Glenski

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Doesn't matter if it was the books or the personal acknowledgement he was "supposing". Seems like neither one had entered his mind, which is pretty odd to me.
 
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