The Samurai in 100 Objects: The Fascinating World of the Samurai as Seen Through Arms and Armour, Places and Images

The Samurai in 100 Objects: The Fascinating World of the Samurai as Seen Through Arms and Armour, Places and Images

by Stephen Turnbull


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From lowly attendants (samurai literally means ‘those who serve’) to members one of the world’s most powerful military organizations, the samurai underwent a progression of changes to reach a preeminent position in Japanese society and culture. Even their eventual eclipse did not diminish their image as elite warriors, and they would live on in stories and films.

This proud and enduring tradition is exemplified and explored by the carefully selected objects gathered here from Japanese locations and from museums around the world. These objects tell the story of the samurai from acting as the frontier guards for the early emperors to being the inspiration for the kamikaze pilots.

The artifacts, many of which are seen here for the first time, include castles, memorial statues, paintings and prints associated with the rise of the samurai along with their famous armor and weapons. The latter include the Japanese longbow, a thirteenth century bomb and the famous samurai sword, but not every artifact here is from the past. In a Japanese souvenir shop was found a cute little blue duck dressed as a samurai complete with helmet, spear and surcoat, dressed authentically as the brutal samurai Katō Kiyomasa, who was responsible for a massacre at Hondo castle in 1589!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473850385
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 07/10/2017
Series: In 100 Objects Series
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Stephen Turnbull took his first degree at Cambridge and has two MAs (in Theology and Military History) from Leeds University. In 1996 he received a PhD from Leeds for his thesis on Japan’s ‘Hidden Christians’. In its published form the work won the Japan Festival Literary Award in 1998. Having lectured widely in East Asian Studies and Theology he is now retired and holds the honorary positions of Lecturer Emeritus at Leeds University, Research Associate at SOAS and Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Akita International University. His expertise, including an extensive picture library, has helpedwith numerous media projects including the award-winning computer strategy game Shogun Total War, and in 2010 he acted as Historical Adviser to Universal Pictures for the movie 47 Ronin. Tanaka 1587 is his 80th book to be published.

Table of Contents

Introduction viii

1 The Eastern Gate of Fort Akita 2

2 An Ivory Carving of Samurai 4

3 An ebira or Quiver 6

4 A Samurai Helmet 8

5 Picture Scroll of the Later Three Years' War 10

6 Sword of the tachi Style 12

7 Spiritual Guardian Nio 14

8 Head Inspection 16

9 Itsukushima Shrine 18

10 Minamoto Yoshitsune's Helmet 20

11 Tomoe Gozen 22

12 A Heike Crab 24

13 A Mongol Bomb 26

14 The 'Chrysanthemum on the Water' Crest 28

15 The Temple Door of the Nyoirinji 30

16 Wooden Statue of Ashikaga Takauji 32

17 The Scroll Boki Ekotoba 34

18 A wakizashi Sword 36

19 The wako 38

20 The Temple of the Golden Pavilion 40

21 Marishiten 42

22 Helmet Crest of Fudo Myo-o 44

23 Sword of katana Style 46

24 Castle Tower of the Sengoku Period 48

25 Spear 50

26 Arquebus 52

27 Hanging Scroll of Uesugi Kenshin 54

28 Hanging Scroll of Kosaka Masanobu 56

29 Wooden Statue of Matsu Hime 58

30 Itagaki Nobukata's War Fan 60

31 An ashigaru's okegawa-do 62

32 Painted Screen of the Battle of the Anegawa 64

33 The War Drum of Hamamatsu Castle 66

34 Torii Sune'emon 68

35 Battle Standard in the Form of a gohei 70

36 Stone with the Face of a Devil 72

37 Cannon of Otomo Sorin 74

38 Battle Map of Tanaka Castle 76

39 The Kai Shrine and Yufu Korekiyo's Grave 78

40 The Red-Walled Temple 80

41 Bronze Statue of Bernardo Nagasaki 82

42 Kato Yoshiaki 84

43 Konishi Yukinaga 86

44 The Siege of Haengju 88

45 Armour of Kobayakawa Takakage 90

46 Statue of a Siamese War Elephant 92

47 Matsumoto Castle 94

48 Painted Screen of the Siege of Ulsan 96

49 The Fujito Rock 98

50 The Bloody Ceiling of the Hosen-In 100

51 Painted Screen of the Battle of Sekigahara 102

52 Red Armour of the li Family of Hikone 104

53 Armour of Tachibana Muneshige 106

54 Statue of Arima Harunobu 108

55 Samurai and Cherry Blossom 110

56 The Ehon Ryukyu Gunki 112

57 Nakijin Gusuku 114

58 Silver Catfish Tail Helmet of Maeda Toshinaga 116

59 Nam ban Helmets of the Tachibana Family 118

60 The Uto Tower of Kumamoto Castle 120

61 Battle Standard in the Form of a shakujo 122

62 Miyamoto Musashi 124

63 Nimai-do Armour of King James I 126

64 The kokka anko Bell of the Hokoji 128

65 Statue of Tomura Yoshikuni 130

66 Ema of Sanada Yukimura 132

67 The Hachisuka Navy 134

68 Surcoat and Armour for a daimyo 136

69 Shoki, The Queller of Demons 138

70 Armour of yukinoshita-do Style 140

71 Ema of Yamada Nagamasa 142

72 Secret Christian Tea Bowl 144

73 Grave of Matsukura Shigemasa 146

74 'Strange Helmets' 148

75 The Art of Swimming in Armour 150

76 Ainu Ear Mound 152

77 Mansenshukai and the Water Spider 154

78 Hanging Scroll of the Matsuura Army 156

79 Oishi Yoshio's Baton of Command 158

80 Fire Helmet 160

81 Sword Guards 162

82 A Conch Shell Trumpet 164

83 Helmets with Antlers 166

84 Helmet in the Style of a Human Head 168

85 Horse Armour 170

86 The Training Pole of the Jigen-ryu 172

87 Hayashi' Picture of a Catapult 174

88 The Torture Rope of the Shinsengumi 176

89 Statue of Katsura Kogoro of Choshu 178

90 An Imperial Activist from Tosa 180

91 Armourof the Satake Family 182

92 Photograph of Ikoma Chikayuki 184

93 A Boshin War Graveyard 186

94 The Statues of the Omura Drummer Boy 188

95 A Bullet Hole 190

96 Oka Castle in Oita prefecture 192

97 An Armour of mogarni haramaki Style 194

98 'Cherry blossom' Suicide Plane 196

99 Akechi Mitsuhide and Fukuchiyama Castle 198

100 A Cute Samurai 200

Picture Credits and Locations 203

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