anonymous asked:

(1/2) hello! i read that you guys aren't specialized in Asian history, but bc i couldn't find promising results from my search, i have to try and ask - in 17th century Japan, there were the Emperor and the shogun, the latter of which was a military leader and was often seen as the center of power instead of the Emperor, and i'm wondering how titles work with this system?

(2/2) i searched for Japanese honorifics throughout the history and there were terms like King/Princes if translated to English, but there wasn’t info on who those were addressed to. could the shogun also be called ‘King’? if so, would their sons (both by blood and by concubines) be called ‘Princes’? were the shogun and their family considered as royalties, monarchs, aristocrats, or etc.?

Sorry for the long wait and thank you for your patients! 

First of I need to make a disclaimer! I’m not well versed in Japanese history (my knowledge is rudimentary) and I’m not very familiar with the culture or that good with the language. (My two years of studying Japanese 10 years ago doesn’t get me that far, really.) There’s simply a lot of history that hasn’t been much of a part of my education because it’s such a vast field. Therefore, this information that follows is not to be taken as absolute fact. (So if anyone is educated in Japanese history or has Japanese as their first language, do feel free to correct any mistakes I may have made!)

So, to try and answer your question, anon!

There are a lot of difficulties trying to even relate Japaneses titles to a European concept since Japan did not have the same kind of peerage as, say, England. In fact, they had no similar peerage until the mid-1800s; when the court nobility (”kuge”) and feudal lords (”daimyo”) were combined into an aristocrat with titles corresponding to the European peerage.[1] (More on the European, specifically English, peerage can be fond here). Being a shogun was heredity and the shogun would name his son as heir and it was the noble families (the landowning feudal Lords “daimyo”) which fought to hold the title and political power that came with it. The title as such was no hereditary noble title, though.[2]

When it comes to formal titles you’d have “no kimi” for Lords and Ladies. It’s used as a suffix and though not really in use today, it was common during the Heian period. You also have Tono (pronounced with a “d” rather than “t”), which means roughly “master” or “lord” and has a usage similar to the English “milord” or the French “monseigneur”. A polite title rather than a mark of nobility. You’d use “sama” for someone who outrank you. You’d use “san” for someone you don’t know very well, who are of the same or lower rank than you. “Kun” is often used for boys but can be used for girls, for example daughters or employees by their parents or seniors. When used by male friends or family, it’s a more familiar way to address someone than “san”.[3]

I am not sure how the shogun would be addressed exactly since I can’t seem to find information. I would assume that they were addressed as their title and “sama”. Or with their name and “no kimi” or simply by the word “tono”. It would likely depend on who is addressing them and in which setting. It’s a rather complex system for an outsider to be honest.

What this means is that the sons of a shogun would, if addressed in a formal way, be addressed with “san” if they are children and, maybe, “sama” as an adult. Possibly “no kimi” for an adult son of a shogun. It would also seem that the word “shogun” was not used during the Tokugawa shogunate - which is the one you are interested in. They used “kubo” (short for “kuge no kata”, “people of the noble houses”), “taiju” (great tree) or “taikun” (great prince/lord).[4] This means this is what you’d use in formal settings for other characters to address your shogun character. The Tokugawas did use “king” (kokuo) but that created problems in their dealings with China, as it suggested subordination to the Chinese emperor. Thus the usage of “taikun”. Unfortunately this still created problems in their dealings with both Korea and China and the Tokugawa shogun went back to the title of “king” with the added “of Japan” (”Nihon kokuo”).[5] Despite these different titles, they weren’t monarch, kings or princes the way a European would be a king. The words don’t carry the same connotations. They were the ones with political power, absolutely, but they were not divinely chosen as European kings were chosen by God and Chinese and Japanese emperors were Sons of Heaven. They were feudal lords (”daimyo”), similar to those in Europe.[6] 

That’s the best I can do, hope it was helpful! Good luck with your writing!

Signed, Captain.

Was this helpful, informative, fun? Why not buy Captain a coffee as thanks! Ko-fi uses PayPal for small one-time donations.


[2] Ibid.





Gintama Localizations In The Real World

Edo, the main localization of Gintama, is based on Tokyo.

Edo is the former name of Tokyo. It was the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1868. Wikipedia

The Kabuki district where our idiots live is a real tokyo district. Wikipedia

Kabukicho gate

Do you remember this shrine? (Ep 274)

Well, It’s exists.

The legendary bridge of all openings.

And the river?

Probably the one on the left.


The place where the live action started.

Jack has a gun now?!

If I see just one person saying “Why is Jack using a gun? I thought he was a Samurai”

I WILL hunt them, and I will explain them that “Samurai don’t use firearms” Is just a western misconception, and that they were actually quite popular! Hell, the samurai were perfecting these guns way before the europeans.

“BUT HONOR!!!” I hear you scream.

You know what was honorable? Winning. You do whatever you needed to do to bring victory to your leader.

And doing it with the best technology had to offer, was even better. Believe me, the Tanegashima matchlock was all the rage when it was introduced. During the Warring States Era, all major generals were very known for their use of specific types of gunners.  Notorious Badass Oda Nobunaga was freaking brilliant leading troops with very primitive matchlocks, when they were very much inferior to bows. And some time later he was even better commanding troops with arquebuses.

Date Masamune and even this little guy known only as Shogun Tokugawa Ideyasu, were famous four their use of snipers.

 Now, where does the misconception come from? Well, some years after Oda’s death. Internal conflict, and the need to use powerful firearms was very low. Hideoshi, the then daimyo , collected guns of his rivals (and peasants) and melted them to make statues. Essentially leaving only his troops to carry them.

Most of the inner conflict in japan during this age, was fought with swords for that reason. Most of the popular media, and stories of honor that Hollywood has fed you, take place during the particular times during Hideyoshi’s and later Ieyasu’s reigns. And then, retroactively adapting those situations, to show the last stages of the Warring States battles.

There were also situations like, during Hideyoshi’s invasions of Korea, ammo ran out, and for years they were forced to battle armed troops using only their blades, tactics… and some times cannons taken from european boats.

So yeah. Samurai were actually very fond of their guns. So don’t be dumb and ask that question. Inform yourself.

And come back next week when I’ll tell you why you’re stupid if you think that Samurai and Ninja are two different things (and that they hate each other)

The famous Nakajima Tea House (中島の御茶屋) of the Hama-rikyū Imperial Garden (浜離宮恩賜庭園) in Tokyo, Japan. On the left the Tsutai-bashi (伝い橋) it is about 118 meters long and is made of Japanese Cypress wood. Upper left is the Nakajima Bridge (中島橋) connecting to the Shinsenza Kamoba (新鮮座鴨場) former duck hunting ground.


Hakuouki Sengoku Chibis ~ Final Official Version! 

[Image is 1200 x 581] [2nd Image is Twitter #4, 2017-03-25]

Hijikata Toshizō ~ Oda Nobunaga (Military Unification of Japan)

Okita Sōji ~ Tokugawa Ieyasu (First Tokugawa Shogun)

Saitō Hajime ~ Date Mazamune (The One-Eyed Dragon; Lord of Sendai)

Tōdō Heisuke ~ Toyotomi Hideyosi (Military/Political Unification of Japan)

Harada Sanosuke ~  Uesugi Kenshin (The Dragon of Ichigo)

Kazama Chikage ~  Takeda Shingen (The Tiger of Kai )

Nagakura Shinpachi ~  Ishida  Mitsunari 

Sannan Keisuke ~  Sanada Yukimura [Nobushige]

Yamazaki Susumu ~ Maeda Keijirō [Toshimasu]

Iba Hachirō ~  Imagawa Yoshimoto

Sakomoto Ryoma ~ Mori Motonari 

Sōma Kazue ~  Naoe Kanetsugu

Sunset Shrine^

The vermillion-lacquered Hinomisaki Jinja was built in honor of two sibling deities with a prominent presence in Japanese mythology; Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, and her younger brother Susano, the god of storms and the sea. Thus, the shrine is divided into two parts – the Upper Shrine (Kami-no-miya) and Sunset Shrine (Hishizumi-no-miya). The current shrine was built by Tadataka Kyogoku, started in 1634 and finished in 1644 by Naomasa Matsudaira, both lords of the Matsue Domain at the order of the 3rd Shogun Iemitsu Tokugawa.

Upper Shrine ^

A lesser shrine on the Hinomisaki grounds. ^

Hinomisaki Jinja is located in Shimane Prefecture; closest city is Izumo. Photos by D.

Matsu no Ochaya (松の御茶屋), a tea house in the Hama-rikyū Imperial Garden (浜離宮恩賜庭園) in Tokyo, Japan. Originally constructed during the reign of the 11th Shogun, Tokugawa Ienari; 徳川 家斉 (November 18, 1773 – March 22, 1841). Destroyed by fire during the war, it was reconstructed in 2010.

The Musical Touken Ranbu: Speculations for the New Production and Shinken Ranbu Sai 2017

So, now that the “Musical Touken Ranbu ~Mihotose no Komoriuta~” is over and a new production has been announced, fans have been speculating about what the new production will be about. Previously, based on the main visuals, there were already theories each musical was themed according to the seasons.

Doing a bit of research on my own, I’ve compiled this post. 

(Warning: Spoilers for all the productions in the Musical Touken Ranbu.)

Keep reading

idr who said it but someone mentioned that they wondered what happened to the gz after the fall of phariah dark and i have an idea. (which is inspired by Chinese history… especially the dynasty cycle and 20th century China.)

phariah wasn’t the first ghost king, but he was the last. the secession of the throne was always passed through violence - sometimes it was by a powerful ghost, other times through the effects of a people. since ghosts have an unending existence, some reigns stretched centuries while others lasted only a few months. each reign was able to further develop the gz as a civilization, but the ghosts loyal or kin to the ruler would always receive favored treatment. sometimes the civilisations would bleed over into the real world and that’s how ancient religions were inspired (eg; zeus and odin were previous ghost kings).

phariah was a set back in terms of a lot of the growth experienced from reigns. he destroyed bureaucracies, cut back relief and aid programs, focused the military only at dissenters and left “disloyal” regions to deal with their own violence, and kept potential enemies at each other’s throats instead of his own. he promoted violence in his name as a method of propaganda and suppression and directed it at ghosts loyal to the previous ruler. the ghost zone under phariah dark was riddled with state sponsored violence, scattered/decimated opposition, and general chaos.

a small group of ghosts from the previous reign were the ones that finally defeated phariah and the fright knight. but since they were destroyed in the process, there was no entity to rally behind to form a new government, which led to regions/haunts being ruled by local lords - kinda of like the warring states period. no one ruler has been able to unite the ghost zone since the fall of phariah dark, but many have tried.

(i also just wanna add that i totally see the observers as remnants of a previous reign - one that was overtaken due to their inaction and ineffectiveness like the late tokugawa shogunate or the late qing dynasty.)

One of those Long Overdue Updates

I’ve made previous complaints about it, but back in September, my innards decided they didn’t like me, or something, and I’ve spent months now being sick off-and-on which puts a cramp in everything, and I still haven’t got a diagnosis. It’s pretty draining, and as a result, tumblr goes to the bottom of the to-do list. But I’m not updating just to complain.

I was browsing Reddit and fell in love with the Ask Historians subreddit, which is the best moderated subreddit I’ve ever seen with really high standards for answers and discussions. (I think it was the question:   How many 16th century French laying hens would be required to feed Gaston his five dozen eggs? that drew me in). I got sucked in, saw a Japanese history question relevant to my interests, and started answering. 

So, I’ve conducted an experiment over the last month, to see if the format and community could kick me back into writing and doing research. Results have been very positive, and last week, I was granted Expert Answer-er Flair for “Late Edo Period/Meiji Restoration” at Ask Historians. (Despite the name, you don’t actually have to be a historian to answer, amateur enthusiasts who can source their answers well are welcomed.) I was planning to see if I could get flair there, then revive this tumblr. So here are the posts I got the flair for:

Inflation in Tokugawa Shogunate Japan ( why samurai aren’t all rich and peasants sometimes are)

How accurate is this popular post about the first Japanese woman to go to college, Sutematsu Oyama?

How were illegitimate children or children of unmarried mothers treated in medieval Japan / during the Edo period? Maybe [NSFW]

When did refined grains (white rice/white wheat flour) replace whole grains in East Asian diets? (The history of white rice and beriberi disease)

To what degree was the Meiji Emperor personally involved in the modernization associated with his name?

and just the other day wrote a post that may interest readers here: 
If the Satcho Alliance hated the West for ending Japan’s isolationism, why did they replace the Shogunate with a Western-style government?

The audience for these answers is kind of small. Japanese history questions aren’t much upvoted on the subreddit, but the subreddit rules and culture really help me to write my best work, so I’ll probably be linking to more stuff I put out there, as well as getting back to posting here. 

On the minus side, my laptop decided it was time to break down, so I’m currently a bit restricted with just a smartphone. 


Nijo-Jo castle, in Kyoto. Established and ordered by the third great unifier of Japan - Tokugawa Ieyasu, and ultimately completed by Tokugawa Iemitsu, this great castle of Shoguns was rebuilt during the Meiji Restoration after about 68% of the original grounds were destroyed in a city-wide fire. The castle was also the site where in 1867, after 267 years of rule under the Tokugawa Shogunate, Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu formally returned the authority of rule back to the Imperial Court.

Title: The City of Nightless Blossoms // Chapter I

Series: Owari no Seraph
Pairing: Hyakuya Mikaela x Hyakuya Yuuichirou
Rating: M (18+)
Summary: The year is 1814. Isolated from the rest of the world, and under the strict military rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Japan successfully enters a period of social and economic stability, ending the political upheavals from centuries past. Even so, beneath the veneer of peace lies corruption amongst the ranks of government, excess and decadence, and the threads of the established social order slowly beginning to unravel.

Hyakuya Yuuichirou is a young samurai from the daimyo house of Hiiragi, a powerful vassal to the current shogun. Vowing his allegiance to the master who had taken him in as a child, Yuuichirou soon finds his loyalties torn when the childhood friend he’s been searching for abruptly turns up…as a member of a rebel group looking to dismantle the current regime.


Keep reading

Inspiration for Cooperations

(All names based on a tweet by @ibis5)

  • Sakura Sojiro (佐倉惣治郎) -> Sakura Sogoro (佐倉惣五郎) 
  • Mifune Chihaya (御船千早) -> Mifune Chizuko (御船千鶴子) 
  • Iwai Munehisa (岩井宗久) -> Imai Sokyu (今井宗久) 
  • Takemi Tae (武見妙) -> Takemi Taro (武見太郎) 
  • Kawakami Sadayo ( 川上貞代 ) -> Sada Yacco aka Kawakami Sayako (川上貞奴) 
  • Oya Ichiko (大宅一子) -> Oya Soichi (大宅壮一)
  • Togo Hifumi (東郷一二三) -> Kato Hifumi (加藤一二三) 
  • Oda Shinya (織田信也) -> Oda Nobunaga (織田信長) 
  • Mishima Yuki (三島由輝) -> Mishima Yukio (三島由紀夫) 
  • Yoshida Toranosuke (吉田寅之助) -> Yoshida Shoin (吉田松陰)

My analysis and thoughts under the cut (it’s a long one again):

Keep reading