‘Realising he was fighting a losing battle, Hojo burnt the monasteries and returned to his castle where, along with 34 family members, and two hundred and twenty retainers, he committed mass suicide.’
I’m used to medieval nobles like Vlad Dracula and Dan the 2nd dying in battle, being unafraid of death as long as their adrenaline was up, but to casually go back to your castle and gut yourself, and force the rest of your family and your servants to do the same, is pure Japan. Maybe pure Ancient Egypt too, I’m not sure.
Actually, it may have been common in many cultures for the servants to die too, but…where’s the sense in killing off your next of kin?
Even in the context of medieval Japan, it doesn’t make sense.
The reputation and continuation of your Clan was considered paramount, but it was also a matter of honour to kill yourself after losing a battle.
Contradiction: killing yourself and your family does not help you to continue your Clan. Unless you’re killing off your cousins?
But then, other warriors would surrender and join the other side in order to preserve their Clan.
I think that happened a lot in the warring period, which I’ve just found out about from a book I picked up in the library.
Most history of most countries is pretty brutal, but 1430’s – 1620’s was the time you couldn’t go anywhere in Japan without being mugged, raped or slaughtered.
Same goes for Romania.
That was all a long time ago now.
I lived in Japan and they’ve definitely mellowed since the 1400’s. And become more creative too. Look at how many weird folktales they’ve got. Look at all that manga.
Have you ever read or seen Yuki Onna [Snow woman]? Continue reading