Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"why do they on the sabbath day" - A Tragic Samurai in Edo

A Tokyo Railway Station

A Tragic Samurai in Edo

Once in a samurai era of Japan, called the Edo period, there was a young samurai living with his parents in Edo, presently Tokyo.

He did not take any part in service for the Edo samurai government while his father was a samurai who directly served the Tokugawa clan whose head was the shogun of Japan presiding over the samurai government.  The family was living peacefully in Edo with the population of one million residents, including samurais of the Tokugawa clan and those of local feudal lords as well as merchants, craftspeople, and other townsmen.

In those days, Edo was the center of consumption, since the Tokugawa regime requested local feudal lords to live in Edo with their subjects, though they were allowed to return to their home territories periodically.  Therefore in Edo, there were many samurais coming from various regions all over Japan.  And, in the 18th century, one million people were living in Edo, which made Tokyo the largest city in the world at the time.

In Edo, various cultural products were created for amusement of citizens.  Some of those cultural products are today highly appraised as Kabuki play, Ukiyoe painting, cartoons, suhi foods, etc.

The parents of the young samurai got anxious about his son who didn't go out for training of swordplay in a training hall run by a master of swordplay or learning in a school where classic literature, etc. were taught by a scholar.   The young samurai studied classic literature in their home day and night.  And he mainly read books of Confucianism that taught obedience to the parents.  Indeed, he loved his mother especially.

One day, the parents asked a son of a neighbor samurai family to take their son to a Kabuki theater.  They wanted his son to enjoy some cultural aspects of Edo.  So, the two young samurais went out to a Kabuki theater to watch a Kabuki play.  And they enjoyed the play with other audience.

But at once scene, an actor violently treated his mother played on the stage following a scenario.  It looked so real.  Then the young samurai suddenly stood up and went back to the entrance where he had put his sword to a theater clerk when entering the hall, as it was a custom observed by samurais when they entered a theater hall.  He retrieved his sword and returned to the hall.  Then he walked up to the stage and began to attack the actor playing the violent son with his sword.  The actor was cut to death.  The audience and actors got panicked.  But, finally samurai officials came in to arrest the samurai.

In the subsequent investigation, the young samurai confessed that he had not been able to bear to see the actor hitting his mother on the stage.  And he said that he could not recall what had happened subsequently.

The samurai authority gave a sentence on the poor young samurai of one year imprisonment and then harakiri suicide.  Harakiri suicide is to cut one's abdomen with a small sword by himself as a means of suicide.  And it was regarded rather as honorable death for samurai.   Severe punishment was to have one's head cut off with a sword by an executor samurai.

Before modernization and Westernization of Japan that started in the middle of the 19th century, there ware some samurais who were absorbed too much in study of Confucianism to commit a crime for his love to his mother.  But the rule of law was needed especially in Edo with the population of one million even in the 18th century.

Anyway, love to the mother and the rule by law seem to be still well observed in modern Japan of today.

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Mar 2:24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
Mar 2:25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?