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42

Wow, where to start. Basically, ignore anything in the previous answer regarding Europe and shields. As far European metallurgy goes, pattern welding was in use as early as the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The technique continued to be used up until about the end of the viking era (mid 11th century) when quenching and tempering basically took over. As a ...


28

The usual explanation is that Japanese culture believed the soul resides in the abdomen. Since the ritual of seppuku or harakiri is usually meant to provide an honourable death, cutting open the abdomen was an act that "bares the soul", so to speak. The Meiji educator Dr. Nitobe Inazō wrote in his famous Bushido: the Soul of Japan that: [T]he choice of ...


17

There were several reasons why this could not or would not happen. 1. Shoguns were appointed officers of the state Although one might describe the Shogunate as hereditary (in the same sense that the Crown of the Holy Roman Empire was "hereditary"), the office of Shogun was technically an Imperial appointment. Powerful samurai clans lobby the Imperial Court ...


17

The questions (answered separately below): So why wasn't the rest of the world, the world off the steppe, using it? I mean, maybe it didn't reach the classical world until the Huns brought it there, but why weren't the Japanese and the Ayyubids and the Byzantines and everyone else in the faintest contact with the steppe using steppe bows, instead of their ...


16

It's the same reason why Europe was more religiously tolerant in Roman times (except to Christians). Namely, a lack of religious exclusiveness in their native beliefs. When Buddhism was transmitted to Japan, for example, the local population have no trouble reconciling Buddhist doctrines with their native Shintoism. The Shinto kami were integrated into ...


14

Realistically speaking a reasonably knowledgeable Japanese person would've been able to spot Japan on a world map, based on the islands' relative position to Korea and China. This is probably true since at least the 400s. They were, after all, able to engage in extensive trade and diplomacy with the mainland. Their grasp of geography couldn't be that far off ...


11

You are referring to the medieval Japanese legal doctrine of kenka ryō sebai (喧嘩両成敗), literally, in quarrels, punish both sides. The prescribed punishment varied, but use of the death penalty indeed predates the Tokugawa rise to power after 1600. The earliest example is a law promulgated in April 1445 that mandated beheading. 喧嘩口論堅被停止訖、有違背族者、不謂理非、双方可為斬罪、...


9

That appears to be a maru-ni-mitsu-kashiwa (丸に三つ柏) crest, also known as a maru-ni-makino-kashiwa (丸に牧野柏). It is an encircled, three-leafed version of the kashiwa crest designs, one of the Big Ten styles of crests. These crests features an underlying design derived from the leaf of a Daimyo Oak tree. In Winter, dead leafs of a Quercus dentata tree do not ...


9

Question: Why didn't the Steppe bow spread further? Short Answer: Compared to other types of bows, the Mongol bow was especially labor and skill intensive to produce. It took significant collaboration of skilled craftsmen to manufacture over a long period of time (up to two years). Compared say to an English long bow which could be turned out in a ...


7

It would be incorrect to say, ' ... China and Japan used a completely opposite rationale in assigning the fiefdoms and were both well chosen for the country'. It did happen this way but for the Japanese, it developed as a result of a weakened central government. The classical Chinese Imperial system was based largely on kinship, and family tended to live ...


7

The meaning of "barso" is clearer than its origin. Samuli Kaislaniemi analyzed it in his PhD thesis Reconstructing Merchant Multilingualism : Lexical Studies of Early English East India Company Correspondence, pp. 256: RC uses barso in the sense 'little barrel' (cf. Farrington 1991:805). Etymology uncertain; does not appear in PD It., Pt., or Sp. (cf. ...


6

The Takeda attack destroyed the first palisades, but was unable to break through much further. Their army ended up smashing themselves against the second line. I can see how that could be described as "sappers" failing before the Oda defences. On the other hand, the battle was most likely not a cavalry charge. Despite popular mythology, riders made up less ...


6

It's most likely illness. Takeda Shingen's death has been reported as pulmonary tuberculosis in the Buke Jiki, 武家事紀, and as throat or stomach cancer in the Kōyō Gunkan 甲陽軍鑑. There's a theory that he was killed by a bullet or bullet wound, but this is generally regarded as a popular myth. It is only found in pro-Tokugawa writings (i.e. propaganda) produced ...


6

China is a large country with even larger borders. Enemies are likely to come from far away, and they are likely to be people that are "unlike" you. So you want your "last line of defense," nearest the capital, to be manned by your closest friends, to give you the best chance to survive when the external enemy comes. On the other hand, a distant enemy can be ...


5

Sakai did not exist as a geopolitical entity in your specified timeframe. Therefore, in one sense the "kind of political institution" that existed in 5th-6th century Sakai was of the non-existent variety. The medieval city grew out of the earlier manors of Sakai, which debuted in recorded history as late as 1304. This was on a court document assigning ...


5

The people already living in the Ezo, the Ainu, were no joke militarily, and tangled regularly with the Mongolian Empire on Sakhalin, and later, the Ming in the Amur Valley. It's not clear the Japanese could have taken the island completely if they wanted to, not before they modernized in the 19th century. This also highlights another point - the islands ...


5

It is important that a shield is primarily a defence against missile fire, and only secondarily a defence against melee weapons. As noted here (page 107) the quality of Japanese armour, combined with the failure to utilize crossbows and the relative weakness of their strung bows, meant that a samurai was well protected against missile fire by his armour: ...


4

I think your presumption that Japanese power through military force was not employed in Ezo during Edo is wrong. You may read about Sakushin's revolt and it's suppression in 1669. UPDATE: 9-18-2017 Here's a much better source Shakushain's War describing the rebellion and going into great depth about the background leading up to and following the ...


4

Before I begin to answer your question a little information is required to set the appropriate background of discussion. In 1259 the Koreans, the Goreyo at the time, capitulated to the Mongolian forces and signed a treaty making Korea a vassel of the Mongol horde than led by Möngke Khan. Subsequently in 1260 Kublai Khan comes to power inheriting his fathers ...


3

TL;DR Chinese and Japanese feudal lords are very different in origin. The King of Zhou is tied to his subjects over trust and ritualistic relationships and had to assume most subjects are trustworthy, but the Japanese shogun ruled more by military might had better assume that many subjects are rebellious. Chinese feudal lords are, well, closer to the feudal ...


3

There are several images of the layout on the Japanese Wikipedia page for Osaka Castle: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%A4%A7%E5%9D%82%E5%9F%8E. In the grouping of three images on the right, the top left shows the castle under Toyotomi rule. The top right shows the layout in the "early Edo period." https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ja/b/b4/...


3

Pole arms/spears were the favored weapon on a true battlefield for 95% of cultures. Knight, samurai, Greeks, etc. The Romans are a bit of an exception in that the pilim wasn't their primary. But a soldier would still own a pole arm. A sword is more like a pistol. A reliable side arm for close quarters or if your primary weapon breaks (or jams.) but when a ...


3

Given there is an accepted answer, and (I believe) there remains some misconception in answers provided here, I hope to clarify a few points about the usage of defensive shields in Japanese warfare and other related matters. Also, to help Kentaro Tomono (who seem to be particularly interested). Before going through a list of misconceptions (below), the main ...


3

The O-Yumi, a large crossbow essentially acting as a siege weapon was used, but the typical crossbow itself was eschewed; the samurai did not like the crossbows as much as their Yumi, which were also considered spiritual tools. Additionally, there were complaints about the issues in training soldiers to use the crossbows and technological issues present in ...


3

As a rule, no. Samurai, by definition, were servants of their lord. The word samurai means to attend or to serve. If you are "surviving", meaning living off by yourself in the woods somewhere, you are not attending your lord are you? Feeding and supporting samurai was a huge expense for lords and it was expected by the samurai that they would be fed and ...


2

Armor basically does the same job as a shield, and Japanese armor is extremely advanced even without the use of metals, plus the Ashigaru were most of the time given the long spear like the pike but minor differences. I forget the name but anyway, or the bow, some were bands of raiders that used swords, taken from fallen foes, and like the samurai following ...


2

It's probably fair to say that Nobunaga was the founder of the three line formation in Japan. That is, it's quite possible that he discovered it independently of European commanders. That's more plausible than to believe that the information "traveled" from Europe to Japan or vice versa, (given the communications of the time). By 1575, arquebuses had been ...


2

I looked at other requests for family mons (as suggested by the help section) and found this excellent lengthy discussion on Family crests with lots of links and description. This answer led me to the information I am looking for. Thank you, Semaphore♦ and Tyler Durden and user64617! Meaning of samurai crest / symbol


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