June 13, 2012
Posted by on
‘Those who succeed and those fail are both destined to die.’
Is the ability to know the future a bless or a curse? Can that ability make a true samurai, one who doesn’t complain when being tortured, one who is willing to die for the sake of honor and loyalty, but is considered common to cry when feeling moved or happy?
(Blurb from the Indonesian translated book)
I was in the middle of reading a book for my Once Upon a Time challenge when my friend, out of nowhere, lent me Samurai – Kastel Awan Burung Gereja (the translation for Cloud of Sparrows). At first, I wasn’t that tempted to read it as I don’t really like translated book. But somehow, the book was calling me to read it. My defense finally broke down and put aside the book I was reading before. I have to say that I am glad I put that book down and started reading this one
Samurai never stops fascinating me…it was the era where killing another human being is not a big problem, especially when you are a nobleman…however, we can’t see that era as barbaric era because there were honor, loyalty and orderness laying side by side with the countless killing and decapitating.
The story took place in 1861, the time when Japan who has been isolated for centuries finally opened a bit to the outside world…of course with a lot of arguments between the noblemen. We can safely said that the book is historical fiction.
Okumichi no Kami Genji was the last in his Clan. He was the young Lord Akaoka. He was known to people as an incompetent leader because he liked playing with geisha and always tried to put emphasize on his outer appearance. But Genji was actually a very great leader, he had amazing talent to judge people’s characters. He knew how to use the situation to his or his clan’s benefit. He is also very compassionate. Okumichi clan had ability to foreseen the future, it might not be the future soon to come but also a future where they were no longer alive to see it. Read more of this post
June 8, 2011
Posted by on
“Among flowers, the cherry blossom (Sakura);
among men, the samurai”
Though based on an actual incident, many details have been lost to history, and, as a result, several version of the forty-seven ronin story have been told. But the fact remains that they were given the death penalty for their deed, which, at that time, so embodied the Japanese’s ideal of the noble samurai’s devotion to his lord that the forty-seven ronin were enshrined at Sengoku temple beside their beloved master. Thus came to a dramatic close the final chapter of what has been acclaimed the most famous vendetta in the annals of Japan
As I have said before, I read this book because Keanu Reeves and Hiroyuki Sanada are going to play in a movie called 47 Ronin, however I should tell you that the movie is not based upon this novel because both book and movie are based on true event that took place in early 18th century.
The legend happened 300years ago, the details of the event were not clear but the remains of the legend were clear enough to be remembered from one generation to another generation. The legendary event had been turned into songs, poems and traditional theatrical performance called Kabuki. John Allyn tried to deliver his version of what had happened at that time.
Here is the legend:
In 1701, Asano Takumi no Kami Naganori, the Daimyo of Ako, along with other Daimyo were called by the reigning Shogun, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, to his castle. In the Shogun Castle, Lord Asano had injured by Kira Kōzuke no Suke Yoshihisa, the master of ceremony. The penalty for drawing katana (sword) in the castle was death. Because of his noble blood, he was allowed to die in the most honorable way which was to commit seppuku. But, Kira was not killed and that fact brought wrath inside the heart of the samurai who served under Lord Asano. The shogun confiscated Lord Asano’s castle in Ako and all the samurai in the castle became Ronin (masterless samurai). Read more of this post