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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

THE SEARCH: FOR KENJIRO'S GRANDMOTHERS (Part 2)

FEMALE SAMURAI




The Japanese term for female samurai is onna-bugeisha.  Usually these women were from the upper class, and were trained to protect the household when the men were away.  However, they also regularly joined their husbands in battle.  Empress Jingu (above) and Tomoe Gozen (right) were two who were particularly famous, the former, who lived around AD 200, before the samurai concept, leading a conquest of Korea (maybe), and the latter, active around 1200 as a true swordswoman and archer in the Kyoto area.  The traditional weapon for women, though, was the naginata (below), a pole with a blade.

There is an alphabetical list of noteworthy female samurai in The Samurai Archives.  However, all of them lived mostly in the Tokyo area into Kamakura and down to Kyoto.  I haven't yet found any female warrior in northern Honshu.  Almost certainly, Kenjiro's grandmothers would have lived in Akita Prefecture.  The added note that one of them might have been something like a Robin Hood adds another degree of impossibility to reality, for most of the famous female warriors were married to or somehow related to shoguns or the very high class.  The added fact that Japan was at peace in the 1800 to 1850 period adds a further element of doubt.  But the search will go on.





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The Dow Jones Industrials fell 107 to 10,341, while world markets mostly down, with the Japan Nikkei dropping 157 to 9069.  Gold jumped $9/toz to $1256 and crude oil is just under $74/barrel.

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Tropical Storm Malou at 40 MPH made landfall over Matsue, is close to Fukui and should be over Tokyo by tonight.  Tropical Storm Hermine just made landfall 40 miles south of Brownsville at 60 MPH.  That disturbance south and east of the Big Island is moving west, while a new storm seems to be forming off Africa between Dakar and Cape Verde.

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