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A Samurai Funeral???

 
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Katamori
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject: A Samurai Funeral??? Reply with quote
We all know what happens to us when we die. What happens to a Samurai that Passes away or is killed in battle? If he or she passes peacefully, are there funeral arrangements? What is the funeral like? Is there an embalming procedure? Is there a grave? Are there ceremonies to mark his or her passing. And if a samurai is killed in battle does his body get returned to his family and a funeral arranged? Or does he get picked up or left to the vultures? Maybe a mass burial in the field or to the side? Are the bodies burnt? Are the weapons, armor, and even the samurai’s horse buried with him. Are there samurai graves stones and grave yards?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
{p. 34}

Between the ancient Japanese funeral customs and those of antique Europe, there was a vast difference,--a difference indicating, as regards Japan, a far more primitive social condition. In Greece and in Italy it was an early custom to bury the family dead within the limits of the family estate; and the Greek and Roman laws of property grew out of this practice. Sometimes the dead were buried close to the house. The author of La Cité Antique cites, among other ancient texts bearing upon the subject, an interesting invocation from the tragedy of Helen, by Euripides:--"All hail! my father's tomb! I buried thee, Proteus, at the place where men pass out, that I might often greet thee; and so, even as I go out and in, I, thy son Theoclymenus, call upon thee, father! . . ." But in ancient Japan, men fled from the neighbourhood of death. It was long the custom to abandon, either temporarily, or permanently, the house in which a death occurred;

{p. 35}

and we can scarcely suppose that, at any time, it was thought desirable to bury the dead close to the habitation of the surviving members of the household. Some Japanese authorities declare that in the very earliest ages there was no burial, and that corpses were merely conveyed to desolate places, and there abandoned to wild creatures. Be this as it may, we have documentary evidence, of an unmistakable sort, concerning the early funeral-rites as they existed when the custom of burying had become established,--rites weird and strange, and having nothing in common with the practices of settled civilization. There is reason to believe that the family-dwelling was at first permanently, not temporarily, abandoned to the dead; and in view of the fact that the dwelling was a wooden hut of very simple structure, there is nothing improbable in the supposition. At all events the corpse was left for a certain period, called the period of mourning, either in the abandoned house where the death occurred, or in a shelter especially built for the purpose; and, during the mourning period, offerings of food and drink were set before the dead, and ceremonies performed without the house. One of these ceremonies consisted in the recital of poems in praise of the dead,--which poems were called shinobigoto. There was music also of flutes and drums, and dancing; and at night a fire was kept burning before the house. After all this had been

{p. 36}

done for the fixed period of mourning--eight days, according to some authorities, fourteen according to others--the corpse was interred. It is probable that the deserted house may thereafter have become an ancestral temple, or ghost-house,--prototype of the Shintô miya.

At an early time,--though when we do not know,--it certainly became the custom to erect a moya, or "mourning-house" in the event of a death; and the rites were performed at the mourning-house prior to the interment. The manner of burial was very simple: there were yet no tombs in the literal meaning of the term, and no tombstones. Only a mound was thrown up over the grave; and the size of the mound varied according to the rank of the dead.

The custom of deserting the house in which a death took place would accord with the theory of a nomadic ancestry for the Japanese people: it was a practice totally incompatible with a settled civilization like that of the early Greeks and Romans, whose customs in regard to burial presuppose small landholdings in permanent occupation. But there may have been, even in early times, some exceptions to general custom--exceptions made by necessity. To-day, in various parts of the country, and perhaps more particularly in districts remote from temples, it is the custom for farmers to bury their dead upon their own lands.

{p. 37}

--At regular intervals after burial, ceremonies were performed at the graves; and food and drink were then served to the spirits. When the spirit-tablet had been introduced from China, and a true domestic cult established, the practice of making offerings at the place of burial was not discontinued. It survives to the present time,--both in the Shintô and the Buddhist rite; and every spring an Imperial messenger presents at the tomb of the Emperor Jimmu, the same offerings of birds and fish and seaweed, rice and rice-wine, which were made to the spirit of the Founder of the Empire twenty-five hundred years ago. But before the period of Chinese influence the family would seem to have worshipped its dead only before the mortuary house, or at the grave; and the spirits were yet supposed to dwell especially in their tombs, with access to some mysterious subterranean world. They were supposed to need other things besides nourishment; and it was customary to place in the grave various articles for their ghostly use,--a sword, for example, in the case of a warrior; a mirror in the case of a woman,--together with certain objects, especially prized during life,--such as objects of precious metal, and polished stones or gems. . . . At this stage of ancestor-worship, when the spirits are supposed to require shadowy service of a sort corresponding to that exacted during their life-time in the body, we should expect to hear of

{p. 38}

human sacrifices as well as of animal sacrifices. At the funerals of great personages such sacrifices were common. Owing to beliefs of which all knowledge has been lost, these sacrifices assumed a character much more cruel than that of the immolations of the Greek Homeric epoch. The human victims[1] were buried up to the neck in a circle about the grave, and thus left to perish under the beaks of birds and the teeth of wild beasts. The term applied to this form of immolation,--hitogaki, or "human hedge,"--implies a considerable number of victims in each case. This custom was abolished, by the Emperor Suinin, about nineteen hundred years ago; and the Nihongi declares that it was then an ancient custom. Being grieved by the crying of the victims interred in the funeral mound erected over the grave of his brother, Yamato-hiko-no-mikoto, the Emperor is recorded to have said: "It is a very painful thing to force those whom one has loved in life to follow one in death. Though it be an ancient custom, why follow it, if it is bad? From this time forward take counsel to put a stop to the following of the dead." Nomi-no-Sukuné, a court-noble-now apotheosized as the patron of wrestlers--then suggested the substitution of earthen images of men and horses for the living victims; and his suggestion was approved. The hitogaki, was thus abolished; but compulsory as well as voluntary following of the

[1. How the horses and other animals were sacrificed, does not clearly appear.]

{p. 39}

dead certainly continued for many hundred years after, since we find the Emperor Kôtoku issuing an edict on the subject in the year 646 A.D.:--








JAPAN, AN ATTEMPT AT INTERPRETATION
by
Lafcadio Hearn
The Macmillan Company, New York [1904]

"The Religion of the Home"
http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/jai/jai05.htm
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Katamori
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:45 am    Post subject: Samurai Funerals Reply with quote
This is a very interesting article. Thanks for passing it on.

Quote:
Some Japanese authorities declare that in the very earliest ages there was no burial, and that corpses were merely conveyed to desolate places, and there abandoned to wild creatures.

Another interesting fact;

At an early time,--though when we do not know,--it certainly became the custom to erect a moya, or "mourning-house" in the event of a death; and the rites were performed at the mourning-house prior to the interment. The manner of burial was very simple: there were yet no tombs in the literal meaning of the term, and no tombstones. Only a mound was thrown up over the grave; and the size of the mound varied according to the rank of the dead.

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Katamori
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:55 am    Post subject: Japanese superstitions on Death Reply with quote
Many Japanese superstitions are associated with death. For example, you should never stick your chopsticks straight up and down in your rice bowl because that is how it is done at a death. You should always lay out your futon so it is pointed south. Your pillow should never point north. This is the position of a body of a dead person at a Buddhist funeral. Some superstitions are considered foolish and funny, but those concerning death are taken very seriously. If you are the middle person in a picture with two others in it, you will soon die or suffer a hard tragedy. Many people in Japan cover their bedroom mirrors at night for fear that a woman from another world will come through and take them away forever.
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spankoka
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yes, my ex was always fussy about the futon and pillow thing. The funny thing was she didn't seem to have much sense of direction otherwise.
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kitsuno
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:01 am    Post subject: Re: Japanese superstitions on Death Reply with quote
Katamori wrote:
If you are the middle person in a picture with two others in it, you will soon die or suffer a hard tragedy.


Some of these are just nutty, like the above. That must be a modern thing since cameras were only introduced to Japan at the end of the 19th century. The only nutty thing I've observed firsthand was the taping of ziplock bags of salt to random walls and doors to keep out the "evil spirits".
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Katamori
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 4:59 am    Post subject: Human and Animal Sacrifices Reply with quote
human sacrifices as well as of animal sacrifices, At the funerals of great personages such sacrifices were common. Owing to beliefs of which all knowledge has been lost, these sacrifices assumed a character much more cruel than that of the immolations of the Greek Homeric epoch. The human victims[1] were buried up to the neck in a circle about the grave, and thus left to perish under the beaks of birds and the teeth of wild beasts. The term applied to this form of immolation,--hitogaki, or "human hedge,"--implies a considerable number of victims in each case.

Quote:
Some of these are just nutty, like the above. That must be a modern thing since cameras were only introduced to Japan at the end of the 19th century. The only nutty thing I've observed firsthand was the taping of ziplock bags of salt to random walls and doors to keep out the "evil spirits".

Katomori replies; They sure are nutty. It is a modern thing, I just neded to share that with you all. So I'm just wondering about what happens to a Samurai warrior that falls in battle. Is he tossed to the side and left for bird food or is he returned to his family, or even buried in a mass grave? What if he was a commander? Would he be buried with his weapons or even his horse?

Check out this link.

http://www.storyanime.com/Resources/Funerals.htm
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kitsuno
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The formatting of your post is also quite nutty.
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Katamori
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:35 am    Post subject: Posts Reply with quote
Yes sorry I'll clean it up. In all respect as I bow.
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