Pennsic Wrapup

Greetings all!

Just got back from the Pennsic War, which was great fun if intolerably muggy. I taught two classes, a revised version of my Japanese Heraldry class and a class on the Soto Zen meal ritual, based on Dōgen’s writing on it from the 13th century. Here are the handouts, if anyone’s interested.

Mata ne!

Relaunced: Japanese Heraldry Database

I just relaunched my Japanese Heraldry Database, collecting the mon from this blog and newly expanded with mon from my Japanese Heraldry class. I hope that bringing a variety of mon together in an organized way is useful to people, and I hope to expand it in the future.

Shameless Plug: O-umajirushi Kickstarter

Greetings, all,

I’m currently running a Kickstarter to publish an annotated translation of O-umajirushi, the 17th-century Japanese heraldry compendium I’ve talked about before here. O-umajirushi is a unique source for anyone interested in historical Japanese heraldry. I’m having a lot of fun with the translation, and I’m excited to be able to share my work with such a large audience! The campaign runs through the end of the month. Cheers!

Link: Historical Artwork of Samurai Banners

I’ve been busy with many things (including crunch time for a LARP set as Commodore Perry and the Black Ships arrive in Japan) and haven’t been able to do as much research as I’d like. However, I’d like to pass on a great gallery of Sengoku samurai banners from historical sources. Thanks to Tomoyuki of the SCA Japanese Mailing List for the link.Watch movie online A Cure for Wellness (2017)

Why Fireflies Sing

Fireflies Sing is intended for my ramblings on my research into various aspects of pre-Edo Japanese culture, poetry, language, and art. It is my hope that this will help others in the Society for Creative Anachronism who hail from these parts and also inform and entertain others with relevant interests or curiosity.

You may wonder why this blog is called Fireflies Sing. The name comes from a story told about Hosokawa Yūsai, a buke (samurai-class) poet recognized as an authority on waka (Japanese poems) during the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568–1603).(WAC:119) At one point, he was participating in a renga session hosted by Jōha, called the last master of renga. (Renga is a linked verse form in which poets take turns composing stanzas.) One of the participants, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ended a stanza describing an autumn mountain scene with “naku hotaru”, which translates to “fireflies sing”. Another participant objected that fireflies make no noise, and Jōha immediately agreed. Yūsai, however, quoted from an ancient poem: “hotaru yori hoka naku mushi wa nashi” (“there are no insects singing other than fireflies”). Presented with such evidence from such a figure, Jōha had no choice but to concede the point, and the renga session continued smoothly. Yūsai later told Jōha privately that he had made up the “ancient poem”, but that keeping the gathering in a poetic mindset was more appropriate than putting truth above all else.

While I’m not going to fabricate sources to appease critics here, I do tend towards an imaginative mindset when doing research. Plus, it’s a fun story.


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