ASIA212Varley

Whereas the pillow book is biting witty and up to

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Unformatted text preview: -pressed to win. But if we fight with clever scheming, the military force of the eastern barbarians will be capable of no more than breaking sharp swords and crushing hard helmets. It will be easy to deceive them, and there will be no fear. Since the aim of warfare is ultimate victory, Your Majesty should pay no heed to whether we win or lose in any single battle. So long as you hear that Masashige alone is alive, know that your imperial destiny will in the end be attained.”19 A master of the style of guerrilla warfare developed by Japanese warriors—especially those of the central and western provinces—from about the time of the Mongol invasions, Masashige shrewdly advises Godaigo to ignore the results of particular battles, since final victory in the war is the only thing that really matters. At the same time, Masashige pledges that, so long as he still lives, the emperor’s “imperial destiny . . . will be attained.” It is chiefly Masashige, in fact, who keeps the fires of Godaigo’s loyalist 110 The Canons of Medieval Taste movement burning in the central provinces until the anti-Hòjò forces swell to a size sufficient to destroy the Kamakura shogunate, and for his achievements he is well rewarded by the emperor. Later, when Ashikaga Takauji turns against the Restoration, Masashige again rallies to Godaigo’s side. But this time, the Taiheiki tells us, the emperor ignores Masashige’s advice about paying no heed to victory or defeat in any single battle (and the advice’s corollary of not risking too much in or expecting too much of any battle) and insists instead that Masashige and other loyalist commanders take a do-or-die stand against Takauji at a place called Minatogawa on the Inland Sea near today’s Kobe. Masashige goes to the Battle of Minatogawa in 1336 knowing that he will die; and, when the tide of battle turns against them, he and his brother commit suicide by stabbing each other. Before their deaths, the brothers, in words that were destined to stir the souls of imperial loyalists through the ages, including World War II’s kamikaze pilots, expre...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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