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Official Samurai History Book List and Discussion; Books you are currently reading, want or have. Must reads, hidden gems, etc
Topic Started: Mar 7 2018, 07:57 PM (674 Views)
AnimalSquabbles
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Peasant
I'm fascinated by the Mongols and the Sengoku period of Japan. I have been reading/watching every book/video I come across in regards to both topics for a long time now. I've recently started to branch out in order to learn more about the onin and genpei war and my search has led me to stumble upon this community. I've now discovered a few books i never heard of prior to finding this community, i also own books i dont see mentioned on here.

I'd like to consolidate all book discussion into this one hub for anyone like myself who's looking to pick up books. Whether you're looking for books on a certain topic, sharing your collection, or reviewing a current read, all book discussion is welcome.

CURRENTLY READING "In Little Need of Divine Intervention" by Thomas D. Conlan. I believe i've seen Conlan mentioned on here before. Anyway, Takezaki Suenaga fought in both Mongol invasions of Japan and had scrolls commissioned to depict his actions in both engagements. This reprints his scrolls with translation into english. Just started today and am thrilled it exists.

WANT As some of you may have seen, I very much want an english translation of the "Koyo Gunkan". Until that is a thing, my attention is on "The Chronicles of Nobunaga" by Ota Gyuichi and translated into english by J.S.A. Elisonas and J.P Lamers. The price being in the $200-$300 will delay that though :(

General Questions
- i've read "Tokugawa Ieyasu: Shogun" by Conrad Totman but a book with the same title by Sadler seems to be the most referenced book in regards to Ieyasu, any comparitive insights?

- any english books focused on Honda Tadakatsu?


BOOKS ON THE MONGOL INVASIONS OF JAPAN

"Ghenko, The Mongol Invasion of Japan" by Nakaba Yamada
Possibly the most indepth, however a good portion of it is on the relationship between the Mongols and Korea.

"Khubilai Khan, His Life and Times" by Morris Rossabi
Has a chapter covering Khubilai's failed invasions of Japan then another retrospective on whether or not his failed invasions of Japan and Java were a result of his poor decision making while falling into an alcoholic depression following the death of his favorite wife and son.

"Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet" by James P Delgado
Enjoyable read that covers the invasions as well as the search and discoveries of the sunken Mongol Armada ships
Edited by AnimalSquabbles, Mar 7 2018, 08:26 PM.
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ltdomer98
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AnimalSquabbles
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CURRENTLY READING "In Little Need of Divine Intervention" by Thomas D. Conlan. I believe i've seen Conlan mentioned on here before.


Yeah, he's a hack. Totally knows nothing. :lulz: (He's my PhD advisor).

Quote:
 
Until that is a thing, my attention is on "The Chronicles of Nobunaga" by Ota Gyuichi and translated into english by J.S.A. Elisonas and J.P Lamers. The price being in the $200-$300 will delay that though :(


It's good. That said, they suffer from an infatuation with Ota Gyuichi much like Fujimoto Masayuki does. There are some problems I've found with the translation (as with any translation, to be fair), though the only part I've really looked at in detail to compare is the section on Nagashino, and I can't fairly expect them to interpret things the same way I would. They do at least try to think about which parts of Gyuichi's account are good and which aren't (the earliest parts are almost useless in terms of "facts.")


Quote:
 
- i've read "Tokugawa Ieyasu: Shogun" by Conrad Totman but a book with the same title by Sadler seems to be the most referenced book in regards to Ieyasu, any comparitive insights?


Can't stand the Totman book. Sadler is so dated it's comic, but everyone in English ends up copying him for a long time. Morgan Pitelka's Spectacular Accumulation is good but not a bio of Ieyasu per se. The academic trend is to get away from Big Man Biographies so I'm not sure if anyone's going to tackle him anytime soon.

Quote:
 
- any english books focused on Honda Tadakatsu?

None that I'm aware of.


Quote:
 
"Ghenko, The Mongol Invasion of Japan" by Nakaba Yamada
Possibly the most indepth, however a good portion of it is on the relationship between the Mongols and Korea.

"Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet" by James P Delgado
Enjoyable read that covers the invasions as well as the search and discoveries of the sunken Mongol Armada ships


These two are on my list to get to eventually, so post a thread with your thoughts if you like.
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退職させていただきます。
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AnimalSquabbles
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ltdomer98
Mar 8 2018, 07:47 AM

These two are on my list to get to eventually, so post a thread with your thoughts if you like.
Well i'd like to re read them before going into an actual review, but ill briefly share my overall takeaways.

Ghenko was somewhat underwhelming to me. Maybe i put my expectations too high though. After reading the OSPREY campaign book on the Mongol Invasions of Japan, i found the Ghenko and figured it to be the premier source for info on Mongols vs Japan. Instead, a third of the book is on Korea (Koryu) interaction with China and the Mongols. Another third of the book begins the preliminary dealings with Mongols and Japan correspondence with Korea as intermediary. Once, you get past that it does go into very deep detail on the skirmishes that happened on the Mongols campaigns in Japan. A bit of a dry read though.

Lost Fleet was an easy read. It jumps around covering multiple topics which include the 3 waves of individuals that set out in search of the fleet, ship construction (especially at time of the invasion), the expeditions and discoveries and the invasion itself. The narrative analysis seems to validate that the invasion/ships were poorly made in a rush and led to their failure.

Both seem essential if you interested in the Mongol invasion.
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AnimalSquabbles
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I'm currently reading "Battle of Okehazama 1560: Hell Awaits" by Les Paterson. I'm not sure what this book is. It's obviously based on a true historic event. All the people in the book, such as Oda Nobunaga, Takeda Shingen etc were real life individuals. The descriptions of events and battles are historically true... but there's dialogue and conversations between the characters as if it were a novel. There's no possible way to know what was said word for word in these private moments. Plus, Imagawa Yoshimoto has been confronted by his brothers ghost several times.
Edited by AnimalSquabbles, May 17 2018, 07:04 AM.
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hashiba_hideyoshi
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Togishi
AnimalSquabbles
May 17 2018, 07:03 AM
I'm currently reading "Battle of Okehazama 1560: Hell Awaits" by Les Paterson. I'm not sure what this book is. It's obviously based on a true historic event. All the people in the book, such as Oda Nobunaga, Takeda Shingen etc were real life individuals. The descriptions of events and battles are historically true... but there's dialogue and conversations between the characters as if it were a novel. There's no possible way to know what was said word for word in these private moments. Plus, Imagawa Yoshimoto has been confronted by his brothers ghost several times.
I'm pretty sure it's meant to be fiction.
Les is (was?) a regular here in the Archives. I think he goes by "owari no utsuke". I vaguely recall him mentioning he was writing a novel at some point.

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AnimalSquabbles
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hashiba_hideyoshi
Aug 9 2018, 12:25 AM
AnimalSquabbles
May 17 2018, 07:03 AM
I'm currently reading "Battle of Okehazama 1560: Hell Awaits" by Les Paterson. I'm not sure what this book is. It's obviously based on a true historic event. All the people in the book, such as Oda Nobunaga, Takeda Shingen etc were real life individuals. The descriptions of events and battles are historically true... but there's dialogue and conversations between the characters as if it were a novel. There's no possible way to know what was said word for word in these private moments. Plus, Imagawa Yoshimoto has been confronted by his brothers ghost several times.
I'm pretty sure it's meant to be fiction.
Les is (was?) a regular here in the Archives. I think he goes by "owari no utsuke". I vaguely recall him mentioning he was writing a novel at some point.

Thanks. I wasn't too familiar with the term, but i guess "historical fiction" fits.
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owari no utsuke
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Izu no kami
I am still here. The book is a historical fiction. The names of the area and KIA list is from the Okehazama locals. I am part of the Arimatsu Okehazama Preservation Committee as well. I know the locals. I visit the battlefield and the research center on a yearly basis. As for Yoshimoto's brother's ghost, found that in a history magazine Saigen Nihonshi April, 30th, 2002. Local historian now 100 years old Wataru Kajino has something on it too in Jimoto no Koro Katatru Okehazama Shimatsuki.

As for English readings, I am reading Neil McMullins 1977 thesis Oda Nobunaga and the Buddhist Institutions. He published a book in 1984, Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth Century Japan. I did send Kitsuno a copy of the thesis.

Yes, I am working on another one, Nobunaga and Dosan (Saito Dosan). Blessed by the Okehazama board for taking me to the Muraki Castle site and Teramoto area.
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Parallel Pain
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Are you going to use the traditional narrative (that Dosan was an oil merchant) or the new research (Dosan's father started out as a monk, but became a powerful retainer of Mino's Nagai family, and Dosan continued to climb from there)
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owari no utsuke
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Izu no kami
I am going the traditional route and explain it in the epilogue. The Rokkaku letter about Dosan's father was written four years after the Battle of Nagargawa (1560). Yoshitatsu, in my opinion still had bad blood about his father. That same year, 1560, Yoshitatsu marries his daughter to the Rokkaku. Since it is possible that Yoshitatsu is the senior partner of the deal, he probably ordered the Rokkaku to write up something about his grandfather to destroy Dosan's legacy. I actually discussed this with the monk at Jozaiji Temple in Gifu. He said no one has ever thought about that.

It gets better. Earlier this year I found out that the Rokkaku sent an army to help out Nobunaga at the Battle of Okehazama. It was discovered that one of the Rokkaku's retainers was killed in action and some of the relics are at Chofukuji Temple near the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield. Yoshitatsu probably knew this and made a deal with the Rokkaku to keep Nobunaga in check.
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AnimalSquabbles
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owari no utsuke
Aug 10 2018, 07:28 AM
I am still here. The book is a historical fiction. The names of the area and KIA list is from the Okehazama locals. I am part of the Arimatsu Okehazama Preservation Committee as well. I know the locals. I visit the battlefield and the research center on a yearly basis. As for Yoshimoto's brother's ghost, found that in a history magazine Saigen Nihonshi April, 30th, 2002. Local historian now 100 years old Wataru Kajino has something on it too in Jimoto no Koro Katatru Okehazama Shimatsuki.

As for English readings, I am reading Neil McMullins 1977 thesis Oda Nobunaga and the Buddhist Institutions. He published a book in 1984, Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth Century Japan. I did send Kitsuno a copy of the thesis.

Yes, I am working on another one, Nobunaga and Dosan (Saito Dosan). Blessed by the Okehazama board for taking me to the Muraki Castle site and Teramoto area.
Awesome. Despite my confusion, i did enjoy it. What was the source of "Hell Awaits!"? Is that quote attributed to Nobunaga somewhere. Powerful quote im thinking on embroidered on my jiu jitsu belt.
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owari no utsuke
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Izu no kami
"Hell Awaits" is a song by the metal band Slayer. Just had a nice ring to it.
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Parallel Pain
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Artisan
owari no utsuke
Aug 11 2018, 03:53 AM
I am going the traditional route and explain it in the epilogue. The Rokkaku letter about Dosan's father was written four years after the Battle of Nagargawa (1560). Yoshitatsu, in my opinion still had bad blood about his father. That same year, 1560, Yoshitatsu marries his daughter to the Rokkaku. Since it is possible that Yoshitatsu is the senior partner of the deal, he probably ordered the Rokkaku to write up something about his grandfather to destroy Dosan's legacy. I actually discussed this with the monk at Jozaiji Temple in Gifu. He said no one has ever thought about that.

It gets better. Earlier this year I found out that the Rokkaku sent an army to help out Nobunaga at the Battle of Okehazama. It was discovered that one of the Rokkaku's retainers was killed in action and some of the relics are at Chofukuji Temple near the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield. Yoshitatsu probably knew this and made a deal with the Rokkaku to keep Nobunaga in check.
Very interesting. So your hypothesis is that both Dosan and his dad were actually normal (if low ranking) samurai, and that being monks and oil merchants were actually something Yoshitatsu made up?

Also do we know how many men Rokkaku sent and why?
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AnimalSquabbles
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owari no utsuke
Aug 11 2018, 11:26 AM
"Hell Awaits" is a song by the metal band Slayer. Just had a nice ring to it.




Well, that's utterly disappointing. lol
Edited by AnimalSquabbles, Aug 12 2018, 04:56 PM.
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AnimalSquabbles
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I'm debating picking up "Japonius Tyrannus" as well as "The Tale of the Genji"
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owari no utsuke
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Izu no kami
I just received a message from the Kajino family who are caretakers of the Arimatsu Okehazama Battlefield. If the Rokkaku did send an army to aid Nobunaga, it was less than 1,500 men. According to documents at Chofukuji Temple at Okehazama, 1,500 and war dead 272.
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Parallel Pain
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Wow. 1,500 men and 272 dead is no joke. That's almost 30% dead. And the final assault on Yoshimoto was with only 2,000 men according to the Shinchōkōki.

It sounds like either the final assault was mostly done by Rokkaku's men.

Or Rokkaku's men participated in the defenses of the forts around Ōdaka, allowing Nobunaga to concentrate his own men. This could explain the high casualty, as such high casualty rate usually comes from a defeat.

Or there were combat events not recorded in the Shinchōkōki.

This also raises the question why Rokkaku aided Nobunaga, and how did 1,500 men cross Mino into Owari (wasn't Yoshitatsu technically at war with Nobunaga?)
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owari no utsuke
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Right after the Battle of Okehazama, Yoshitatsu made an alliance with the Rokkaku. I am still trying to figure out where the Rokkaku did their fighting. I have other sources about the Rokkaku's participation at Okehazama. I should have something soon.
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