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A Samurai's Escapade The Story Of Music, A Katsu Kokichi Autobiography
Musui’s Story is the autobiography of Katsu Kokichi, a low-ranking samurai who lived from 1802 to 1850, throughout the Tokugawa Period. He was from Edo, contemporary day Tokyo, and spent most his life there, except for excursions across the country. Musui’s Story is an intriguing and special historical document for a number of motives. Very first, it is an autobiography which, even though they have been not unheard of, have only gained recognition in Japan over the last century, under Western influence (Kokichi, XVII). Not only that, but autobiographies, especially ahead of the 20th century, are usually written about spiritual journeys or by these who deemed themselves exemplary the tone of Musui’s Story suggests neither of these are accurate of Katsu Kokichi. However, it is Katsu’s behavior and his status in Edo society that tends to make his autobiography as culturally relevant as it is. The Tokugawa period was characterized by internal peace, financial development and political stability. The influence of Neo-Confucianism during the Tokugawa period led to a respect for morals, education and hierarchy. For this purpose, there was a strict four class technique. 1st were the samurai, followed by peasants, artisans and merchants. These aspects combined created the Tokugawa period a strange time for the Samurai. They have been nonetheless in the highest ranking social class, nevertheless, any genuine need to have for them had vanished with the violence. In spite of their status, the samurai has lost their predominant supply of income and had to turn to new measures. For the most part, they either became a political advisor, joined a personal army, served as a bodyguard or some combination of the three. Katsu Kokichi’s story is unique simply because he did not stick to this path, except for sometimes serving as a bodyguard. Rather, he frequently supplemented his samurai earnings in seedy, even criminal, methods, such as sword dealing, racketeering, and theft. Even so, simply because of the strict social classes, his status inside society was largely unaffected by his criminal activities. It is this intriguing contradiction that seemingly defines the character of Katsu Kokichi. Nowhere is this contradiction of character and class a lot more apparent than in the Yoshiwara, the redlight district of Edo that Katsu frequented. Despite the fact that samurai had been discouraged from entering the Yoshiwara, a lot of often did, even though most likely none much more than Katsu Kokichi. In reality, not only was Katsu a typical, but he appears to recommend in Musui’s Story that he was one particular of the most respected men and women in the Yoshiwara. This is very best seen throughout Katsu’s interactions with Toranosuke, an knowledgeable swordsman who was relatively new to Edo. Realizing that he is straight edge and new to the city, Katsu decides he wants to meet Toranosuke and take him on a tour of the Yoshiwara, in order to “shake him up a bit” (Kokichi, 111). From the jump, it is clear that Toranosuke was not impressed the reputation of Katsu, specifically when he begins naming Japan’s laziest swordsmen in an try to insult Katsu (Kokichi, 114). Katsu does not take offense and as an alternative he takes it as a challenge to corrupt Toranosuke. Following locating out that Toranosuke does not drink, Katsu coerces him so that they may dine collectively in the Yoshiwara, regardless of Toranosuke’s objections. Katsu then speedily convinces Toranosuke to smoke and drink sake, though he had earlier claimed he neither smoked nor drank. Right away after they finish eating, there is a small alter in Toranosuke’s attitude about the Yoshiwara. Up to this point, he was portrayed as a reluctant guest and unimpressed with the happenings of the Yoshiwara, but when Katsu points out the prostitutes in the street, Toranuke’s sighs and says, “It surely is a globe apart” (Kokichi, 115). At this, Katsu becomes convinced that Toranosuke is impressed with him, despite the fact that Toranosuke’s actions in the text suggest this may not be the case Toranosuke have to have been really impressed due to the fact I heard from Matsurra Kanji… that he (Toranosuke) was telling every person, “I would by no means have believed that any individual could away with that type of behavior in the Yoshiwara. I wonder how he got to be so well-liked.” (Kokichi, 115-118) He continues on to recommend that Katsu will never ever come to harm in the Yoshiwara, that is how respected he is. To me, Toranosuke seems as significantly awestruck as he does literally impressed. Practically nothing he says suggests that he in fact wants to be like Katsu, only that he was shocked somebody could behave that way in the Yoshiwara. It is this contradiction that defines Katsu and pushes him forward as 1 of the most special figures in Japanese history. In a homogenous culture that strictly enforces social classes and codes, it is rare that an individual from the highest class would act so unruly. Katsu is the definition of a bored samurai. Without organized battles to involve himself in, he creates conflict most locations he goes. In a sense, the character of Katsu is some sort of bizarre opposite to Robin Hood: a member from the high class who engages in criminal affairs for no specific except enjoyment and private achieve. Strangely, the tone of the writing suggests that Katsu was neither proud nor repentant, and was generally reporting his story.
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