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Samurai

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Musui’s History is the autobiography of Katsu Kokichi, a low-ranking samurai who resided from 1802 to 1850, during the Tokugawa Period. Having been from Edo, modern day Tokyo, and spent most his life there, except for expeditions across the country. Musui’s Story can be an interesting and unique traditional document for a number of reasons. First, it is an life which, although they were not uncommon, have only gained recognition in Japan over the last century, under Western influence (Kokichi, XVII). In addition to that, but autobiographies, especially before the 20th 100 years, are typically discussed spiritual journeys or simply by those who considered themselves exemplary, the tone of Musui’s Story suggests neither of such are authentic of Katsu Kokichi. Nevertheless , it is Katsu’s behavior great status in Edo world that makes his autobiography because culturally relevant as it is.

The Tokugawa period was characterized by interior peace, monetary growth and political stability. The effect of Neo-Confucianism during the Tokugawa period generated a admiration for morals, education and hierarchy. For that reason, there was a strict four class program. First had been the samurai, followed by peasants, artisans and merchants. These kinds of factors merged made the Tokugawa period a strange time for the Samurai. They were nonetheless in the maximum ranking social class, yet , any genuine need for all of them had disappeared with the assault. Despite their status, the samurai has lost their predominant income source and had to turn to new measures. For the most part, they will either started to be a personal advisor, joined up with a personal army, served being a bodyguard or any combination of three. Katsu Kokichi’s story is unique because he would not follow this kind of path, apart from occasionally serving as a private security. Instead, this individual often supplemented his samurai income in seedy, also criminal, techniques, such as blade dealing, racketeering, and robbery. However , because of the strict cultural classes, his status within just society was largely not affected by his criminal actions. It is this kind of interesting conundrum that relatively defines the smoothness of Katsu Kokichi.

Nowhere is this contradiction of character and class more apparent than in the Yoshiwara, the redlight district of Edo that Katsu visited. Although samurai were disheartened from coming into the Yoshiwara, many frequently did, though probably not one more than Katsu Kokichi. In fact , not only was Katsu a regular, but he seems to recommend in Musui’s Story that he was one of the respected people in the Yoshiwara. This is best seen during Katsu’s relationships with Toranosuke, an experienced swordsman who was quite new to Edo. Knowing that he’s straight advantage and fresh to the city, Katsu decides he wants to satisfy Toranosuke and take him on a travel of the Yoshiwara, in order to “shake him up a bit” (Kokichi, 111). From the bounce, it is obvious that Toranosuke was not impressed the trustworthiness of Katsu, especially when he begins naming Japan’s laziest swordsmen in an attempt to slander Katsu (Kokichi, 114). Katsu does not take offense and instead he usually takes it as being a challenge to corrupt Toranosuke. After finding out that Toranosuke does not drink, Katsu coerces him so that they might dine with each other in the Yoshiwara, despite Toranosuke’s objections. Katsu then quickly convinces Toranosuke to smoking and beverage sake, although he had earlier claimed he neither used to smoke nor consumed. Immediately after they finish eating, there is a little change in Toranosuke’s attitude about the Yoshiwara. Up to this point, he was pictured as a hesitant guest and unimpressed while using happenings with the Yoshiwara, nevertheless Katsu points out the prostitutes in the street, Toranuke’s sighs and says, “It certainly is a world apart” (Kokichi, 115). At this, Katsu becomes confident that Toranosuke is impressed with him, although Toranosuke’s actions in the text suggest this might not really be the situation

Toranosuke must have recently been really impressed because I heard from Matsurra Kanji that he (Toranosuke) was showing everyone, “I would never include believed that anyone may away recover kind of habit in the Yoshiwara. I wonder how he got to always be so popular. inch (Kokichi, 115-118)

He continues to suggest that Katsu will never come to harm in the Yoshiwara, that is how respected he could be. To me, Toranosuke seems as much awestruck as he does practically impressed. Nothing he says shows that he actually wants to be like Katsu, only that having been surprised an individual could behave that way inside the Yoshiwara.

It is this kind of contradiction that defines Katsu and promotes him frontward as one of the most unique figures in Japanese record. In a homogenous culture that strictly enforces social classes and codes, it is rare that somebody from the greatest class could act thus unruly. Katsu is the meaning of a uninterested samurai. With out organized challenges to entail himself in, he creates conflict many places he goes. In a sense, the character of Katsu is usually some sort of bizarre contrary to Robin the boy wonder Hood: a part from the top quality who engages in criminal affairs for simply no particular apart from enjoyment and private gain. Oddly, the sculpt of the publishing suggests that Katsu was none proud neither repentant, and was fundamentally reporting his story.

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