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#1 Peter Bleed

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 03:24 AM

Maybe this is old news, but I just discovered a site called
japaneseweapons.net
It seems worth being aware of. Not terribly original, but it has good stuff on tanegashima and more recent arms.
Peter
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#2 watsonmil

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 04:02 AM

Dear Peter,
Shigeo Sugawa ... the author or webmaster or whatever the correct term is, is well known as the only Author to publish a book on the Japanese Matchlock in English. He is basically a collector, ... and not really a scholar ( he might have a different opinion of himself ). I personally have found him un-approachable. Some of his writing has inaccuracies. However having said that, ... we English speaking students would be at a great disadvantage without his book. The only real Japanese authority ( scholar ) regarding the Tanegashima is Sawada Taira with his book Nihon no Furuju ( in Japanese ). It would be nice to have an English translation, ... but none so far and I am not even positive he is still alive. By the way he is also sometimes in error which I proved in restoring the Automatic Pan Opener Pistol by Munetoshi. I am hoping one day to obtain a copy of his work even if it is in Japanese, ... but being difficult to find I've had little luck. DO YOU HEAR ME PIERS DOWDING ??
... Ron Watson

#3 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 04:58 AM

A copy of Sawada Taira's Nihon no Furuju came up this week but a collector in Sweden managed to snap it up! :lol:

Justin Grant has a copy, I believe. They tend to be worth more now than when they were new. (15,000 JPY?)

The situation is pretty much as Ron describes it. For lack of anything in English, Sugawa's book that Peter mentions above is a good starting point, but as has often been mentioned on this site, it was published with a marked lack of proof-reading and needs to be taken with many pinches of salt. Eric has asked me to list everything that is inaccurate, but the thought of such a job fills me with gloom.

Sawada Taira is very forceful, but another difficult character and although I am tempted to contact him once again (yes, he is very much alive) with a view to translating his book, I have been advised to keep my distance and quote from it in a new work, which is mostly what he did with the older Japanese texts on the subject. I would have to be more thorough in attribution of quotes, which may be difficult as much of his book contains none. I do have strong contacts with two equally large collectors here, so there is no lack of source material when the time reaches maturity.
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#4 estcrh

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 06:58 AM

Dear Peter,
Shigeo Sugawa ... the author or webmaster or whatever the correct term is, is well known as the only Author to publish a book on the Japanese Matchlock in English. He is basically a collector, ... and not really a scholar ( he might have a different opinion of himself ). I personally have found him un-approachable. Some of his writing has inaccuracies. However having said that, ... we English speaking students would be at a great disadvantage without his book. The only real Japanese authority ( scholar ) regarding the Tanegashima is Sawada Taira with his book Nihon no Furuju ( in Japanese ). It would be nice to have an English translation, ... but none so far and I am not even positive he is still alive. By the way he is also sometimes in error which I proved in restoring the Automatic Pan Opener Pistol by Munetoshi. I am hoping one day to obtain a copy of his work even if it is in Japanese, ... but being difficult to find I've had little luck. DO YOU HEAR ME PIERS DOWDING ??
... Ron Watson


Ron, I have to disagree with you on a few points. In my personal opinion he is much more than a "collector", whether you think he is a scholar really depends on how you define that word. I would call him an authority on the subject of not only Japanese matchlocks but many other Japanese weapons. He is the author of several books as well as a member (director) and contributor of numerous essays in the "Japan firearms History Society" http://www.fhaj.jp/ , his website is is very informative, I know of no other Japanese national who as taken the time and effort to disseminate information to the West by not only writing a book in English but also hosting a web site with an English version.

I think it is safe to say that inaccuracies occur in just about any book, in any subject no matter how well researched, the important question about Sugawa's book should be is it accurate for the most part and are the inaccuracies small or are they large enough and frequent enough to discredit his book. Since you have way more experience than I do on this subject can you point out any of the inaccuracies, I have read the book and use it for a reference but I have not seen anything that raised a red flag.

As far as Sawada Taira being the "only authority" on the subject I would have no way to verify that information due to the fact that as far as I know he has not published ANYTHING in English, unlike Sugawa, so I would have no basis to judge his knowledge. Since I do no speak Japanese, Tiara's information may as well not exist to me, which is unfortunate. Piers holds Taira in very high regard and as the person who has done the most to send information accumulated in Japan our way I believe that Piers must be correct, hopefully we non Japanese speaking enthusiasts will be able to judge for ourselves some day.

Shigeo Sugawa's web site, Japanese version.
http://www.xn--u9j37...a539qcybpym.jp/
Shigeo Sugawa's web site, English version.
http://japaneseweapons.net/

Sawada Taira's web site and English version of his book "Nihon no Furu-Ju" (still waiting!!!).

#5 estcrh

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 07:11 AM

The situation is pretty much as Ron describes it. For lack of anything in English, Sugawa's book that Peter mentions above is a good starting point, but as has often been mentioned on this site, it was published with a marked lack of proof-reading and needs to be taken with many pinches of salt. Eric has asked me to list everything that is inaccurate, but the thought of such a job fills me with gloom.

Piers here is what I said, I was not asking for a list of "everything" that was inaccurate, just an example showing why people should be wary of Sugawa's book.

Piers, you have mentioned this before, can you give us some specifics, he seems to do a lot of research and the Japanese version of his website has a lot of information, is this just the feeling you get from other authorities in Japan or are there glaring examples of Sugawa being obviously wrong?




Sawada Taira is very forceful, but another difficult character and although I am tempted to contact him once again (yes, he is very much alive) with a view to translating his book, I have been advised to keep my distance and quote from it in a new work,

No harm in trying, at least his is still alive, why would anyone advise you to keep your distance? You have much more patience for non logical people than I will ever have!!!

#6 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 09:33 AM

Fair enough, Eric. I have just opened my copy and started to compare it with the original Japanese.

In the intro he says the book "contains 60 pages of color photos featuring 50 Japanese different matchlocks divided according to locale and style...." My first sense of unease starts here. He does not mention Schools of Gunnery (Ryu-Ha), but simply 'style', and further reading strengthens this sense that he has missed the significance of Ryu-Ha completely. This is supported in the Contents page, where p. 28 promises to introduce "Flat-butt guns". Check the pics on pages 28 and 29 and it is clear that these are Tazuke School guns, but the text makes no mention of this vital piece of information. He has classified them stylistically it is true, as having flat butts, but Tazuke-Ryu guns had a series of special features that he has not picked up on.

On page 1 he explains how guns were carried in 'The Lord's Parade' to the Capital and how this was illustrated in Nishikie.
(I think he probably means Ukiyoe ?) Many of the English words used avoid the proper Japanese word (such as Edo for Capital, Sankin-kotai for Lord's Parade, Jingasa for warhelmet, etc.) which I think he should have included.
The English text suggests that each each soldier carried a big gun in a box and also another lighter one over his shoulder. This is an awkward translation; the original text is clear that big guns were carried separately in wooden boxes, and each soldier carried a single covered long gun over his shoulder. He shows a lacquered leather Doran hipbag (for carrying Hayago quick-loading tubes and other equipment) but calls it "a bag for carrying balls etc." and says the Tomoe Mon is the same on the gun and gun case "and on the similarly-marked bag", which it isn't. The Mon on the Doran is a three-petal Katabami flower. OK a small mistake, but there are lots of these and it is often disconcerting to the point where the meaning can be lost.

Otherwise no objections with page one. Nice illustrations, good cheerful start.
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#7 Malcolm

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 09:57 AM

Good morning all,

Stepping in with a litttle Devil's Advocation, I think Nishiki-e could be a reasonable term to use for coloured woodblocks.

Certainly during the Meiji period, woodblock printed images of events, western fashion items and machinery were referred to as Nishiki-e.

The term "Shinbun Nishiki-e" 新聞錦絵 has been used to describe the Russo - Japanese War images.

Cheers

Malcolm


#8 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:05 AM

Page 2, the Table of Contents. No mention of gunnery schools, but among the styles of gun you find pages 34-35 on 'round-barrel' guns. Well, most smithing areas of Japan produced barrels in a variety of styles according to the client's order, and most areas had examples of rounded barrels. I am not sure what point he wishes to make by classifying guns by the smoothness and roundness of their barrels.

Page 3 is a Prologue and describes his own story and feelings. No objection here.

Page 4. Satsuma guns. Nice pics of some representative Satsuma guns. But then we get a statement like this: "their ramrod holes are not cut on the outside." I know what this means, but does the first-time reader? Surely this could have been written better. Possibly the translator did not understand what he was describing.(?) Listing the features of Satsuma guns he says "screwed-on firepans" but there is no further explanation as to what this means or whether it is significant, the same as other guns, or in some way different. Here was a Golden Opportunity to explain about the significance of screws and how Japanese guns do not normally have them, and what they do have, and why Satsuma had screws etc., but nothing.

He continues to say that few of these guns exist in good condition today, but the reason he gives is "perhaps due to the matchlock's fading popularity from the early part of the 19th Century, as the Western gun started to become prevalent." Well, the same could be said for all Tanegashima-style guns, nothing peculiar to Satsuma/Shimazu guns. (We all know that there were other genuine reasons, relating to the climate of south Kyushu, woodworm, and the treewood and iron used for Satsuma guns that made them prone to early deterioration, but he doesn't mention this.)

His final sentence on page 4 says: "From the famous battle of Sekigahara in 1600 to the end of the Edo Period (1868), this style of gun portrays the unique character of Satsuma." (I think it should be obvious that guns were being produced in Satsuma from very early on, the first battle where Tanegashima-style guns were used, was by Shimazu in Osumi at the seige of Kajiki Castle Kyushu in 1549. Those early guns tended to be close to their origins in style, so the probability that Satsuma guns took their characteristic shape long before Sekigahara must be high.) IMHO. :)
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#9 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:10 AM

Hello Malcolm, I thought you might pop in! :lol: I bow to your knowledge here.
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#10 Malcolm

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:57 AM

:thanks:

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#11 estcrh

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 01:27 PM

Piers, now this is the type of commentary that only you could do, since I and other non Japanese speakers can not compare the two books we can only go by what we read in the English version. Unfortunately this lack of sources is keeping people from expanding their knowledge of the subject. Leaving aside the translation problems and the difference between the Japanese and English versions what about the technical information, the names of the parts etc, are their differences between Sugawa and Taira.

#12 Justin Grant

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 07:18 PM

Ron,

Here is the book I have that Piers refers to. Is this the book you speak of? If so, I can loan it to you. It took months to source this book, he would not deal with me directly, so I had to pay for an intermediary to get it.

Posted Image

Posted Image
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#13 watsonmil

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 07:37 PM

Dear Eric,
Ah, ... nitpicking are we ? You are getting as bad as the Nihonto purists. In my posting I actually extend to Shigeo Sugawa a great deal of credit for having published in English. " Some of his writing has inaccuracies. However having said that, ... we English speaking students would be at a great disadvantage without his book. " Along with some of the inaccuracies pointed out by Piers ... ( Piers, .. I along with you have been silly enough to bend to Eric's post ) and re-read Sugawa's book. If we are going to worry about DETAIL ... I would like to point out that his description of loading a Tanegashima or practically ANY muzzle Loading firearm requires the use of a wad between the powder and ball, ... or at the very least a PATCHED ball. In the case of the Tanegashima for the first shot at least a wad is ALSO rammed down the barrel AFTER the ball to hold the bloody ball from rolling out the barrel ... ( smooth bore remember ). This last wad is usually not necessary after the first shot as the fouling inside the barrel provides enough friction to hold the ball in place. He makes no mention of this and believe me it is IMPORTANT.

Quickly looking at his on-line site, ... I notice he writes : " The barrels of Japanese matchlocks usually are seated very deeply in the gun stocks and are held securely by three or four bamboo pins. " He fails to mention that a goodly number of Tanegashima have brass stock rings ( dougane ) rather than pins holding the barrel to stock. Also while we are on the subject of his web site, ... his photographs of Seki guns and Mino guns portray the exact same firearms. Granted they come from the same area, but it is never the less confusing to those without a knowledge of Japanese localities.

Yes, ... I am also guilty of nitpicking, as I am guilty of making an error in my own writing on ANY subject. NOW, ... having wasted a goodly part of my morning catering to silliness, ... I base my criticism or rather statement that Sugawa to ME is more of a collector rather than a scholar in the fact that I at least have found him un-approachable. This is not the way of a scholar. I have written him BOTH in English and Japanese on more than one occasion and finally gave up as no response was forthcoming. In contrast, ... I have written to the curator of the Tokugawa Museum, and also the Curator of Japanese Arms at ... I believe it was the Tokyo National Museum and in both cases I received lengthy replies and my observations were noted and acknowledged. These to me are the actions of scholars.

There we go, ... I hope I have answered your objections/disagreements Eric .

... Ron Watson

#14 estcrh

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 10:24 PM

Dear Eric,
Ah, ... nitpicking are we ? You are getting as bad as the Nihonto purists. In my posting I actually extend to Shigeo Sugawa a great deal of credit for having published in English. " Some of his writing has inaccuracies. However having said that, ... we English speaking students would be at a great disadvantage without his book. " Along with some of the inaccuracies pointed out by Piers ... ( Piers, .. I along with you have been silly enough to bend to Eric's post ) and re-read Sugawa's book. If we are going to worry about DETAIL ... I would like to point out that his description of loading a Tanegashima or practically ANY muzzle Loading firearm requires the use of a wad between the powder and ball, ... or at the very least a PATCHED ball. In the case of the Tanegashima for the first shot at least a wad is ALSO rammed down the barrel AFTER the ball to hold the bloody ball from rolling out the barrel ... ( smooth bore remember ). This last wad is usually not necessary after the first shot as the fouling inside the barrel provides enough friction to hold the ball in place. He makes no mention of this and believe me it is IMPORTANT.

Quickly looking at his on-line site, ... I notice he writes : " The barrels of Japanese matchlocks usually are seated very deeply in the gun stocks and are held securely by three or four bamboo pins. " He fails to mention that a goodly number of Tanegashima have brass stock rings ( dougane ) rather than pins holding the barrel to stock. Also while we are on the subject of his web site, ... his photographs of Seki guns and Mino guns portray the exact same firearms. Granted they come from the same area, but it is never the less confusing to those without a knowledge of Japanese localities.

Yes, ... I am also guilty of nitpicking, as I am guilty of making an error in my own writing on ANY subject. NOW, ... having wasted a goodly part of my morning catering to silliness, ... I base my criticism or rather statement that Sugawa to ME is more of a collector rather than a scholar in the fact that I at least have found him un-approachable. This is not the way of a scholar. I have written him BOTH in English and Japanese on more than one occasion and finally gave up as no response was forthcoming. In contrast, ... I have written to the curator of the Tokugawa Museum, and also the Curator of Japanese Arms at ... I believe it was the Tokyo National Museum and in both cases I received lengthy replies and my observations were noted and acknowledged. These to me are the actions of scholars.

There we go, ... I hope I have answered your objections/disagreements Eric .

... Ron Watson


"Ah, ... nitpicking are we ? You are getting as bad as the Nihonto purists." "Piers, .. I along with you have been silly enough to bend to Eric's post." "NOW, ... having wasted a goodly part of my morning catering to silliness"

Ron, I do not appreciate being talk to and about in those terms, I would NEVER do that to you, I asked the same questions to both you and Piers because of your much greater experience on this subject, this is a book which due to the fact that it is the only one of its kind I have to recommend to people who have an interest in Japanese matchlocks. Both you and Piers have expressed reservations on the content of this book, Piers has said this on several occasions, I am simple trying to get some details of what you both think is wrong with this book and what if anything may be correct.

My questions are not an attack, they are quite serious, sorry you feel that way but it should not be like pulling teeth to get an answer which may help people in the future decide whether to ignore certain parts of the book or maybe not to use this book at all, also if someone were interested in writing a book on this subject the kind of critique both you and Piers has to offer is important. Ron if I wrote for example that Ians book or Anthony Bryants book had inaccuracies and you asked me for some details due to the fact that you did not have enough knowledge of the subject I would be more than happy to accommodate you without sarcastic remarks...but anyway thanks for adding some details to your doubts. I do appreciate all of your posts on this subject, you have added quite a bit of detailed knowledge, it is unfortunate that the only book on this subject in English is a poorly translated (now we know that thanks to Piers answer) with technical inaccuracies (you have pointed out a few of these).

This book along with Perrin's book which although not a technical book but a historical overview which has received similar criticism about being inaccurate in its content leaves people who speak only English with some apparently bleak choices. Either read these books and try to guess what is right and what is wrong or read nothing. If people who have a more advanced knowledge of the subject do not dissect these books and point out the good and the bad how would anyone else know the difference, until someone decides to become the next Sugawa or Perrin we are stuck with these books, hopefully someday a book will be written with the correct historical information and the correct technical information all in one book.

Ron, I wrote to Sugawa and he answered my question right away, when I wrote to Anthony Bryant he did not, but I do not think that is a reflection on scholarship, if someone is indeed a scholar then they are a scholar, whether they are a rude scholar or not, just my personal opinion.

#15 Justin Grant

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 11:03 PM

I am dipping my tow in this heated pool,. only to say I do not believe Sugawa is a scholar or that his works are scholarly. To be such, in an academic fashion, they should be peer reviewed, and given approval. Not my rule, but an academic rule. That does not rule out the validity of his work, but had he gone thru this process, many of the items that are being picked on would have been uncovered.

Even Ian makes reference to "hangers" in his books, so they do happen to the best of them, as this proves, but this also does not render the work meaningless.

I think what Piers is saying is that to be a scholar, Sugawa would have or should have dug deep into each area, but he did not, he glossed over the areas. It is a good book, and as Eric says, the only one in English. His second book is not in English and when I asked him why, he said he did not have the desire. He claims to have a gun signed by the same person as my long gun, but he won't provide mei pics or details of what he thinks about it. He is the only person I know that has one signed like mine, so I was hoping to learn more about it and mine, but no luck. C'est la vie.

Regardless of his standing in the Hinawaju community at large, he is one of the better known players.

I have the other book in question, and it is not hard to translate, if you spend the time. The same reoccurring words appear time and time again, so just like memorizing Nihonto mei, if you put these kanji into memory, you can start to make sense of the book. Nothing good comes easy.

I'd be the fist to offer up $ to anyone that wants to translate Taira book, but I manage with it, and actually find the translation hunt fun. But I'm odd like that.
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#16 watsonmil

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 12:13 AM

Dear Eric,
Yes indeed I was rather rude and it really did not hurt me in the least to re-read Shigeo Sugawa's book. Is his English book so full of MAJOR errors, ... I would have to say no. Could he have or could his translator/interpreter have done a better job ... yes. I don't think he meant his book to be a scholarly work but rather a primer or introductory book on a subject little appreciated or understood in the West ( and even less so in my opinion in Japan ). Perhaps I am somewhat biased in my opinion of Sugawa in that I expected at least a cursory reply to my snail mail letters of some years ago, .... but even with my bias, I would find it difficult to rate his book as scholarly. It is an excellent primer no more no less.

Eric, ... I accept that my reply to your queries was on a whole indefensible and I extend my apology. I must however in defense say that I took your post as a bit of a personal attack rather than just genuinely questioning my reasoning. It is still does not excuse my rudeness and for that I am sorry.

... Ron Watson

#17 estcrh

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 05:28 AM

Dear Eric,
Yes indeed I was rather rude and it really did not hurt me in the least to re-read Shigeo Sugawa's book. Is his English book so full of MAJOR errors, ... I would have to say no. Could he have or could his translator/interpreter have done a better job ... yes. I don't think he meant his book to be a scholarly work but rather a primer or introductory book on a subject little appreciated or understood in the West ( and even less so in my opinion in Japan ). Perhaps I am somewhat biased in my opinion of Sugawa in that I expected at least a cursory reply to my snail mail letters of some years ago, .... but even with my bias, I would find it difficult to rate his book as scholarly. It is an excellent primer no more no less.

Eric, ... I accept that my reply to your queries was on a whole indefensible and I extend my apology. I must however in defense say that I took your post as a bit of a personal attack rather than just genuinely questioning my reasoning. It is still does not excuse my rudeness and for that I am sorry.

... Ron Watson

Ron, as always my intent is to obtain answers to questions, I would never intentionally attack you, Piers or anyone else I am discussing subjects like this with, but I may have come off that way in my attempt to get some seriously needed answers, and I apologize if I appeared to be doing that (it would not be the first time!). Only you, Piers, Ian and possibly a few other English speaking people in the world have any idea what you are talking about when it comes to Japanese matchlocks and openly share your accumulated knowledge, sometimes it is incredibly hard to get something as simple as a term clearly defined due to the lack of adequate resources, its very frustrating. I am not sure when this book was first published but I think it is at least 15 years old, and nothing has been written in English since then, Perrins book is around 28 years old, how can the information about any subject be improved and updated at this rate. If not for the information contained on forums like this, the subject of Japanese matchlocks would be stuck in time.

#18 estcrh

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 07:46 AM

I am dipping my tow in this heated pool,. only to say I do not believe Sugawa is a scholar or that his works are scholarly. To be such, in an academic fashion, they should be peer reviewed, and given approval. Not my rule, but an academic rule. That does not rule out the validity of his work, but had he gone thru this process, many of the items that are being picked on would have been uncovered.

Justin, and who is qualified to do a peer review of a book on Japanese matchlocks? It is not like you can take a class on them, or submit your thesis to professors who are knowledgeable on the subject. If this review was to take place in Japan we would hardly know about it, and who could do it in the English speaking world. Using your definition is Taira a scholar and is his book scholary?

We can review Sugawa's book right here and see if it is actually a brilliant work that is ahead of its time or if it is a con job..maybe some were in between.

First the cover, a great shot of a samurai firing a matchlock (Sugawa perhaps?).
Posted Image

Next the introduction.
Posted Image

I do not see anything objectionable here, does anyone else?

#19 watsonmil

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 07:58 AM

Dear Eric,
I had at one time discussed co-authoring a book on the Tanegashima with Piers. Given the high cost of printing and the VERY limited interest such a book would get ... kind of put us/me off on following it up. Publishing a book is a very expensive proposition and I at least can ill afford to lose a wad of money.

The only alternative I have bantered around is something a friend who specializes in Grenades ( also of limited collector interest ) put together some years ago and that was to write the book and have the necessary photographs and text printed by a commercial printer on decent stock but with 3 holes punched with the intent of allowing the buyer to place the pages in a three ring binder. It would not be pretty, ... but to me at least it would be an economical way of disseminating the knowledge before one or the other of us are too old or worse dead. This I have not discussed with Piers. We had bantered about asking Ian ( although we never approached him ) to contribute. By doing a book in this fashion one need only print up a limited number until sold out and then print up another batch of pages. It would even work out to add a supplement as new information becomes available. To do this project myself would be very difficult as I have no mastery of either spoken or written Japanese and I am not so sure that I am even scholarly enough on the subject to tackle it.

In the meantime I will try and write an article now and then for the NMB and give opinions for what they are worth. It is better than not doing anything ... even though I sometimes come across as a crusty old man.

... Ron Watson

#20 Brian

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 08:17 AM

It's not expensive at all to publish a book nowdays. If you can do the design and writing on a pc, and convert to the correct pdf format, you can print and sell through Lulu with little expense besides your time and effort.
Markus could provide some info I am sure. Digital printing has come a long way, and would easily be satisfactory for this kind of work.
The co-operation of some Japanese collections would have to be sought though, so I suspect Piers would have some hard footwork to do too :)

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#21 estcrh

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 10:29 AM

Dear Eric,
I had at one time discussed co-authoring a book on the Tanegashima with Piers. Given the high cost of printing and the VERY limited interest such a book would get ... kind of put us/me off on following it up. Publishing a book is a very expensive proposition and I at least can ill afford to lose a wad of money.

Ron, publishing an e-book is very inexpensive, you can circumvent the traditional publishing concerns and still have your information and images in a readable form. Here is a link to Lulu as an example. If making a profit is not the primary concern but leaving a lasting legacy of your accumulated knowledge is important to you I would seriously suggest looking into some of the alternates to the old fashioned printing press.
http://www.lulu.com/publish/ebooks/

#22 estcrh

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 04:34 AM

I made a slight mistake, Sugawa's book appears to be at least 25 years old and Perrin's book is at least 35 years old.

#23 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 05:00 AM

To clarify my stand on Mr Sugawa's book, anyone reading it needs to be ready with several large pinches of salt, as there are many textual and factual mistakes in it.

Eric, you asked me for examples, so I simply took the first four pages at random, with the good bits, and the slips, big and small. There are bigger omissions and whoopsies further into the book. In an ideal world it would need re-editing and I would do it, but living on a minimal pension, I have enough trouble keeping my wife at bay over any work I do for free. (E.g. I am supposed to be a volunteer at the Osafune Sword Museum, but she resents the fact that they do not pay me, and the result is that I feel fettered/hobbled.)
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#24 estcrh

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 05:11 AM

Fair enough, Eric. I have just opened my copy and started to compare it with the original Japanese.

In the intro he says the book "contains 60 pages of color photos featuring 50 Japanese different matchlocks divided according to locale and style...." My first sense of unease starts here. He does not mention Schools of Gunnery (Ryu-Ha), but simply 'style', and further reading strengthens this sense that he has missed the significance of Ryu-Ha completely.


Piers on page 11 schools are specifically mentioned although "Ryu" is not used. Pages 37-41 are all about the "Inatomi school". Starting on page 37 titled "SHOOTING IN OLD DOCUMENTS" there are 7 sections about the Inatome school such as 4:INOTOME SCHOOL PURPOSE and 5:INOTOME SCHOOL INSTRUCTIONS". I know of no other book in English which contains this type of information, there are even illustrations from an Inatome manual.

Page 11.
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Inatome school manual illustrations, page 39 and page 41.
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#25 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 05:44 AM

Yes, I need to read the book again, Eric, and provide a list of footnotes.

Interesting where he talks about flat-butt guns there ("was probably the representative style of a particular group"), but he does not put two and two together. The name of the founder is in his own short list just above that, i.e. Tazuke (he calls him Tatsuke though).

Inoue guns are instantly recognizable, by the way, and an illustration of those is a must in any text.

His heart is in the right place, and to give him credit, he does go into some detail on two schools of gunnery in Book 2 of his Japanese version, Ogino (without illustrations of their distinctive butts) and Seki.

Oh, and he does call them Ryu-ha in the Japanese, BTW.

For a better illustration and breakdown of Ryu-ha, see Sawada Taira's book, Nihon no Furuju.

PS Inatomi is the correct reading of the Kanji for the famous founder Ichimusai Inatomi, but the local pronunciation of those Kanji at the time seems to have been "Inadome".
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#26 estcrh

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 07:15 AM

Yes, I need to read the book again, Eric, and provide a list of footnotes.

His heart is in the right place, and to give him credit, he does go into some detail on two schools of gunnery in Book 2 of his Japanese version, Ogino (without illustrations of their distinctive butts) and Seki.

Oh, and he does call them Ryu-ha in the Japanese, BTW.

For a better illustration and breakdown of Ryu-ha, see Sawada Taira's book, Nihon no Furuju.

PS Inatomi is the correct reading of the Kanji for the famous founder Ichimusai Inatomi, but the local pronunciation of those Kanji at the time seems to have been "Inadome".


Piers, I am not trying to break your balls here but you are considered to be somewhat of an expert on this subject by many people, whether or not you would accept that label and since this is the only book in English on the subject your views on it are held in high regard. You have said on several occasions that

"anyone reading it needs to be ready with several large pinches of salt"

This term can be seen as being very derogatory, it is a slightly more polite way of saying that someone is a exaggerator or a liar and that their words should not be believed.

pinch of salt (plural pinches of salt)

A small amount of salt.
(figuratively) Caution, doubt, consideration.
Take anything he tells you with a pinch of salt, he's an inveterate liar and mixes truth with his fiction liberally.


Maybe you do not mean it in this context but I think since this is currently the only book on this subject in English it would be to every ones advantage to take the time to show in more detail what is and is not accurate information, not just you but anyone who has a comment about this book whether negative or positive. In the future we will then have a permanent book review that will allow anyone who happens to read this book to see for themselves what parts of this book they can safely believe.

As for the term "Inatomi", that seems to be what some Japanese authorities use, here is a chart of gunnery school books from "Rekihaku", the bi-monthly magazine of the National Museum of Japanese History. "Inatomi School" is how they describe it. By the way, the National Museum of Japanese History has some excellent resources on the subject of Japanese gunnery in English, which is quite unusual.

http://www.rekihaku.... ... tness.html
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#27 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:55 AM

Eric, where I grew up the expression means to not believe something 100%, but to keep a healthy measure of doubt at least until things can be confirmed. I certainly have no desire to call him names, slang him off, etc., and have praised him where praise is due. Actually I am beginning to think that we should take any book on Nihonto swords or Teppo with a pinch of salt, some pinches larger than others.

There are people in Japan who have issues with him, and conversely he surely must have fans on his blog site, but personally whenever I have been in communication with him in the past I have had no problems with the guy. None.

Re Inatomi. Check your spelling in 3 places. Not 'Inatome' or 'Itatome'.
稲富 祐直 いなどめ すけなお ("Inadome")
http://ja.wikipedia..../wiki/稲% ... 0直

Inatomi is the 'correct' way to read those Kanji today, but as Wiki says, and probably very few know or even care, piece of useless information, they were pronounced differently back then by him and presumably his disciples.

PS Nice chart, nice find. (Kyuchu Syu must refer to Kyushu Shu I am guessing.)
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#28 estcrh

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 09:42 AM

Re Inatomi. Check your spelling in 3 places. Not 'Inatome' or 'Itatome'.
稲富 祐直 いなどめ すけなお ("Inadome")
http://ja.wikipedia..../wiki/稲% ... 0直

Piers, thanks, spelling taken care of. Getting to some of the more important information in the book we have this illustration showing the individual parts of a Japanese matchlock, for me having accurate descriptions of the parts is very important. This book was at one time the only resource in English that I know of which provided names for these parts, now of course we have forums were we can exchange information but that has occurred fairly recently. So how did Mr Sugawa do in this department, any comments?

Larger image (for the vision impaired). http://media-cache-e... ... 4e9f28.jpg
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#29 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 10:19 AM

The chart is good, Eric.

Three little notes.
1. He calls the serpentine the 'hammer' arm in English, which is from a later age in that it is not really evolved into a hammer just yet, as it should unlock and fall lightly allowing the burning match to touch the pan hole.
2. He adds the modern readings for the Saki-meate and Moto-meate for modern Japanese readers, but those words Shosei and Shomon were not to my knowledge in use back then.
3. The Romanization is slightly different in places to what we usually see. E.g. the alternative word for Karuka he writes as "Sakujuo", when it should be Sakujo (or possibly Sakujou), and for rivet/pin he writes Biyou when we might write Byo, etc.
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#30 estcrh

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 11:16 AM

The chart is good, Eric.

Three little notes.
1. He calls the serpentine the 'hammer' arm in English, which is from a later age in that it is not really evolved into a hammer just yet, as it should unlock and fall lightly allowing the burning match to touch the pan hole.
2. He adds the modern readings for the Saki-meate and Moto-meate for modern Japanese readers, but those words Shosei and Shomon were not to my knowledge in use back then.
3. The Romanization is slightly different in places to what we usually see. E.g. the alternative word for Karuka he writes as "Sakujuo", when it should be Sakujo (or possibly Sakujou), and for rivet/pin he writes Biyou when we might write Byo, etc.


Piers, notice how he even got the "amaooi kusabi" in there? Any idea who actually translated this book into English, whoever did it probably was responsible for at least some of the peculiarities in the spelling of words. I think we should do our own visual glossary with all of the proper terms, that is if we can agree on which terms are the most commonly used.




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