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Samurai History Papers

Friday, September 17, 2004 Posted: 12:00 AM JST

Ridgeback Press has published the first release of Samurai History Papers this month. SHP is a quarterly newsletter from Romulus Hillsborough, author of Ryoma and Samurai Sketches. It focuses on the history and culture of the leading men of the Meiji Restoration.

The Meiji Restoration centered around the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1868, and the restoration of political power to the emperor. Mid-19th-century Japan saw immense political upheaval, bloody inner-fighting among samurai, and the end of three centuries of feudalism. This brought forth some of the most fascinating men in Japan's history.

They modernized Japan, but also laid the foundation for the militarism of WWII and the post-war birth of Japan as an economic powerhouse. The Meiji Restoration is now considered "the dawn of modern Japan". Knowledge of this history is essential for understanding how and why Japan has evolved into the nation that it is today.

Even so, the Meiji Restoration has often been neglected and misrepresented by writers of the English language. When this history is represented seriously and accurately, it is often in a dry academic format. Since the publication of his first book about the revolutionary Ryoma, it has been the objective of Hillsborough to present this period accurately and realistically in a vivid literary format. He continues this objective in Samurai History Papers.

SHP is especially interesting to enthusiasts of Japanese history and culture, military history enthusiasts and students and teachers of these subjects.

SHP is published quarterly and delivered by e-mail. An annual subscription costs USD 25.00.

More information about Samurai History Papers, including a summary of contents, is available at www.ridgebackpress.com.

Keywords: book_news

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18 comments so far post your own

1 | At 06:48am on Nov 30 2004, nelda wrote:
... sorry probably I will look like dumb but... I am searching for the history of samurai and I want to know if they still are samurai in japan .... if there is I would like to know what do they do today... in japan ... please can you help me.... I hope you can answer me.... thanks for your attention.. I'll wait for your answer... goodbye...
2 | At 03:06am on Dec 02 2004, lexxie wrote:
Are there still samurai?
3 | At 08:23pm on Feb 24 2005, Kjeld Duits wrote:
No there are no samurai anymore. They were "faded out" during the second half of the 19th century (the Meiji restoration).
4 | At 10:40am on Mar 02 2005, Michelle wrote:
I am looking for history about the samurai during and at the end of the tokugawa period. Where can I find this??
5 | At 09:34am on Mar 08 2005, kev wrote:
If you want to see some interesting stuff you should look up the Shinsengumi, and the few squad leaders. It is all historical events and you can see how they were in a anime series called Rurouni Kenshin. The story is fictional but based on historical events.
6 | At 04:11am on Mar 29 2005, Kevin Hildebrand wrote:
Are there any women samurai?
7 | At 04:22am on Mar 29 2005, Kevin Hildebrand wrote:
Did China Have anything that was an enemy to the samurai? If so,what were they called? And How were they diffrent to the samurai? And how did they become enemys in the first place? Thanks for reading.PLEASE ANSWER!!!!
8 | At 06:49am on Mar 29 2005, Kjeld Duits wrote:
Kevin: Yes, there were female warriors in Japan, although they were extremely rare. One of the most famous is Tomoe Gozen, the legendary 12th century female warrior who fought with her husband and became a nun after his death. She is portrayed by famous maiko in Kyoto during the Jidai Matsuri every year. See photo here.

For Chinese warriors you have to ask on a site about China, I am afraid. iKjeld.com is about Japan. China (or really the Mongols) did try to invade Japan several times during the 13th century.

Two times a Mongol invasion was thwarted by a huge typhoon (the origin of the word "Kamikaze", "wind of the gods"). In 1281 some 142,000 Mongol troops tried to invade Japan in Kyushu and there were large battles between the two sides.
9 | At 06:56am on Mar 29 2005, Kjeld Duits wrote:
For a list of books about Samurai, check our Amazon Shop. If you purchase through the shop you help keep this site online, so helpful information like the above will always be available to you.

10 | At 04:50am on Mar 30 2005, Kevin Hildebrand wrote:
Thanks for anwsering my questions! But I have a few more.

1.Where there any samuras of diffrent color? Like White,Black,or Indian?

2.Why is it bad for a samurai's hair to be cut when it is long?

3.My mom wants to know why parents misshape female baby's feet? Is there a reson for that? It sounds nasty!

4.Was there anytime when samurai and ninja teamed up? And any other time when samurai and ninja were at war with each other or fighting?

11 | At 09:37am on Mar 30 2005, Kjeld Duits wrote:

1. Europeans did not arrive in Japan until the late 16th century, soon after Japan was closed for international contact. Foreigners were not allowed to enter the country until the US pressured Japan to open its borders again in 1853. In other words, it was impossible for people of non-Asian ancestry to have been a samurai.

2. Cutting the knot and growing the hair on the side of the head signified that the samurai had lost a battle.

3. Tying feet was a Chinese custom that was ended after the Communist revolution in that country. It was never practiced in Japan.

4. The history of ninja is clouded in mystery, but they can be described as "special forces" and spies. They were often for hire for any lord that needed their services. They also assisted for political reasons. The later Shogun Tokugawa was assisted by a large group of ninja to escape to Edo (now Tokyo). He was so grateful that he named one of the gates of Edo Castle after their leader and installed the group as a special security force for the castle.

All of this can be found in books. Do you have a good library near your home?
12 | At 09:41am on Mar 31 2005, Somasu wrote:
There are still samurai in Japan today, although thier limits of sword carring is restricted there are officail samurai in monistaries in Japan (in places like Kyoto). They are not the same as their ancestors but they are still of the samurai warrior class and are trained in the martial arts.
There is still hope...
13 | At 06:35am on Apr 18 2005, Deathquiff wrote:
you may think i'm a freak or sumthin but i LOVE the samurai hairstyle. ive been searching and i have no idea how to do it, could you tell me? cheers
14 | At 07:38am on Sep 23 2005, Anthony wrote:
Hi,I would like to know if there are still samuria's in japan, and i would like to know how to find them, as i want to become one, i respect how they lived, they were very brave and couragous. Thx
15 | At 09:10am on Sep 23 2005, Kjeld wrote:
Anthony, I am afraid you were born about 150 years too late. There are no samurai anymore, just like there are no knights in Europe anymore either.
16 | At 04:55am on Oct 14 2005, Lindsay wrote:
I'm just looking for information on Samurai's. Where can I find this information. (I'm from America)
17 | At 12:16am on Jan 08 2006, Joan Barsotti wrote:
I'm writing a story about a Japanese girl, Okei Ito, who came to America in 1869 as part of the Wakamatsu Tea & Silk Colony. If a samurai, Matsunosuke Sakurai, led Okei and Mrs. Schnell and her daughter out of Wakamatsu and headed toward Niigata in October of 1868, could they have encountered any dangerous animals? or would the 'dangerous animals' simply have been Meiji's soldiers? Any ideas about this? Thank you,
18 | At 08:03am on Oct 09 2006, cassie wrote:
I'm trying to look up things that samuria used everyday. also trying to find how they made samuria swords, and the stories behind it all. hope to here from you soon. thanks
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