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Old 05-30-2008, 07:56 AM
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Post The Regulations of Imagawa Ryoshogun

Bit more for you Bushido-goers here. This is "The regulations of Imagawa Ryoshogun", one of the more prominent writers of the Bushido Scrolls, and also one of the later ones. (The first bushido writings predate this by over 300 years.)

You can assume to know this stuff ICly word for word, literally...if you're a Bushi.


Imagawa Sadayo
(1325-1420 A.D.)

Imagawa Sadayo was one of the most remarkable men of his age. he ranked as a leading general and strategist along with Kusunoki and Kitabatake, and as a poet and scholar became a prominent figure in the court-dominated literary world, composing both historical works and poetry.
The Imagawa were a cadet family of the Ashikaga(this means they were accepted as family by the Ashikaga, whom were a greater clan at the time although the actual blood relations were probably slim to none), taking their name from their manor at Imagawa in Mikawa Province. Imagawa's father had supported the Shogun Takauji and had been rewarded with the governorship of Suruga Province. Here the clan settled and in time formed marriage ties with the Court nobility.
Imagawa's military career began with the dispute of the Northern and Southern Courts. He chose to back the Northern Court and by 1361 had defeated Hosokawa Kiyouji at the fighting in Yoshino. Returning to Kyoto, he shaved his head and entered in reliogion, taking the name of Ryoshun. By 1370, the bakufu had lost control of most of the island of Kyushu and sent Ryoshun to serve as military governor to pacify the area. To this task he devoted the next decade of his life, at the same time continuing his literary interests and contacts with his teacher, Nijo Yoshimoto.
In 1395 it was suggested to the Shogun Yoshimitsu that Ryoshun was by far too powerful and held rebellious intentions. Thus he was recalled to his governorship in Suruga where he devoted most of his remaining years to literature and poetry.
Ryoshun as the author of a number of literary works and documents, among them the Michiyukiburi, a travel diary including some of his own poetry;the Nan Taiheiki, an historical work;and the present text: The Regulations, writtin in 1412 for his younger brother Tadaaki. Also called the Imagawa Wall Inscriptions, the regulations has been respected and studied as a text on proper morality within the Bushido Scrolls up until WWII, and used during the Edo period as a basic text in temple schools. Written in kanbun, it sets down the classic view in Bushido that a Bushi must be a man of both military skill and of letters-that lacking one, he will lack both. As a Buddhist, Ryoshun proscribed the wanton taking of life, but as a member of the Bushi, he held great respect for his choice of life. As a Confuscian, he cited the Chinese Classics and demanded respect for one's family, as well as stressing the concept of loyalty and duty to one's master. In him we see the ideal of the Bushi at it's most balanced stage.

The regulations of Imagawa Ryoshun
(As accurate as possible translations of the actual text, I have included notes and help here and there in paranthesis)

Without knowledge of Learning(referring to the twelve steps that teach one to truly "Learn" and never to cease learning that are the initial trials of Bushido), one will ultimately have no military victories.

Cormorant fishing and falconing are pleasure that uselessly destroy life. They are forbidden.

It is forbidden to pass the death sentence on a man who has committed a minor crime without full investigation.

It is forbidden to use favoritism and excuse a man who has committed a major crime.

It is forbidden to bring about one's own excessive prosperity by means of exploiting the people and causing the destruction of shrines.

It is forbidden to tear down one's ancestors' family temples and pagodas, thereby embellishing one's own domicile.

It is forbidden to forget the great debt of kindness one owes to his master and ancestors and thereby make light of the virtues of loyalty and filial piety.

It is forbidden that one should, acting disrespective of the way of Heaven, attach little importance to his duties to his master. brothers, sisters and wife and be overly attentive to his own business.

It is forbidden to be indiscriminate of one's retainers' good or evil actions and to distribute unjust rewards and punishments.

Be mindful of the fact that, as you know the works of your own retainers, the master knows yours in the same way.

It is forbidden to disrupt the relationships of other people, and to make others' anguish your own pleasure.

It is forbidden to put others' profit at a loss and, recklessly embracing one's own ambition, increase one's own power.

It is forbidden to be disregardful of one's own financial status, and to live either too far above or below it.

It is forbidden to have contempt for wise retainers and prefer flatterers, and to have one's actions be influenced by these conditions.

One should not be envious of someone who has prospered by unjust deeds. Nor should he disdain someone who has fallen while ahdering to the path of righteousness(refering to Bushido).

It is forbidden to be given up to drinking and carousing and, in gambling and the like, to forget one's family duties.

It is forbidden to be prideful of one's own cleverness and to ridicule others about everything.

When a person comes to one's home, it is forbidden to feign illness and thus avoid meeting him

It is forbidden to enjoy only one's own tranquility, and to retire a man without adding to him some stipend.

It is forbidden to be excessive in one's own clothing and armor, while his retainers(not necessarily servants, but those who learn from you or follow you to some extent) go about shabbily.

One should be highly reverential of Buddhist priests, and treat them with correct manners.

Regardless of a person's high or low position, it is forbidden to disregard the law of karma, and to simply live in ease. (By saying "the law of karma", he means to say that you shouldn't simply lay around while others do all the work or get their hands dirty.)

It is forbidden to erect barriers within one's own domain and thus cause distress to travelers both coming and going.

(End of literal translation of actual text.)

In 1492 a young Bushi signing the Bushido Scrolls as "Jito" noted that he believed Ryoshogun's philosophies and "the regulations" to be a sign of him having been brainwashed, that he was a blind servant to the Shogun, referencing his regulations concerning service to one's master, and the regulations concerning "not increasing one's own power", effectively assuring that despite his own worthiness of being shogun, he never would be. "Jito" went on to use this as a backing for writing new regulations of governing that he believed made Ryoshogun's obsolete.

The christian samurai known as "Manji" later countered this thought in 1515, given access to the bushido scrolls by saying: "It is well known that Ryoshogun could have many times taken the position of Shogun by force or political power alone - furthermore it is known that he had such thoughts while pacifying the island of Kyushu in 1370, but decided against it for a pursuit more important, possibly simply to write these scrolls - and to justify the merging of Buddhism and Bushido by enabling the Anthill*; to suggest Ryoshogun was a man who did anything for any reasons other than his own which he resolved after suitable contemplation is futile, and stupid.", Manji restored "the reggulations" to active Bushi philosophy with this.

*Anthill = Manji is referring to the "Anthill" philosophy of Buddhism, which is a sort of pyramid-like sense of how society should work to be successful. He is saying that there can't even be a successful shogun at all if there are not successful and loyal vassals. He is suggesting that Ryoshogun was teaching a way of being both a vassal and a Shogun, and that when the regulations referring to a master are applied to the Shogun himself, that his master is infact the people, as is written in the anthill philosophy of early tao-buddhism.

The anthill philosophy in a nutshell - The queen is at top, the breeders, then the soldiers, then the workers. They all need eachother. That is to say that a fully functional society is circular.

(Direct translation of actual text starting again now. This part is basically Ryoshogun's "epilogue" after the regulations themselves. A postscript of sorts. Again, I've added help here and there in paranthesis.)

It is natural that training in the martial arts is the Way of the Warrior (Bushido), but it is most important to put them into actual practice. First, it is clearly written in the Four Books and the Five Classics as well as in the military writings* that in protecting the country, if one is ignorant of Learning he will be unable to govern. From the time one is young, he should associate with companions who are upright, and not even temporarily be taken in by friends of low character such as debaucherers or thieves. Just as water will conform to the shape of the vessel that contains it, so will a man follow the good and evil of his companions. This is so true. Therefore it is said that the master who governs his domain well loves wise retainers, while the man who exploits the people loves flatterers(Those who would correct you rather than deny you seeing a mistake when you make one, and flatter you instead). This means that if one would know the heart of the master, he should look to the companions whom the master loves(A man with flatterers is a self-involved man of low character. A man with wise retainers is a man who knows Learning). One should truly take this to heart. To prefer friends who are superior to him, and to avoid those who are his inferiors, is the wisdom of the good man. However, considering this to be true, it will not do to be overly fastidious in one's choice of people(to be over judgemental or critical of people). This is simply saying that one should not love those who are evil(Notice the examples of people with "low character" he used above he called Debaucherers and thieves). This is not limited to the man who governs the country , for without the love and respect of the masses, all matters are difficult to achieve.

First of all, a Bushi who dislikes battle and who has not put his heart in the right place even though he has been born in the house of the warrior, should not be reckoned among one's retainers(That is to say that a man who does not understand why bloodshed is sometimes necessary, or has no passion for fighting to protect should not be respected as an authority on the subject). Many famous generals have made the admonition. Next, if one would wonder about the good and evil of his own heart, he may think of himself as good if many people of both high and low positions gather at his door. And, even if one invites many people, and still they neglect him he has no comrades, he should think of his own conduct as being incorrect.
Yet, I suppose there are two ways of having the gate crowded with callers. There are also occasions when the people are fearful of the master's inquity, are exploited by the high-handedness of his retainers and oppressed by the plots of his companions, and will gather at the gates of the authorities complaining of their afflictions with explanations of their distress. One should be able to discern such situations well and to correct the arbitrariness of his retainers. He should enturst himself to the wise sayings of the ancients and follow the conditions of the law(Basically, don't become corrupt and don't let any of your vassals become corrupt).

A man who is said to be a master should, in the same way that the sun and moon shine on the grass and trees all over the land, ponder day and night with a heart of compassion into the matters of rewards and punishments for his vassals both near and far, and even to those officials seperated from him by mountains and sea;and he should use those men according to their talents. It is possible that there are many cases of men becoming leaders of samurai, and yet being negligent and lacking wisdom and ability, and thus incurring the criticism of men both high and low(he means to put the right men in the right position, and there is no demeaning or detached sense when he says "use those men". He dosn't mean like a tool). Just as the Buddha preached the various laws in order to save all living beings,** one must rack one's brains and never depart from the Ways of both Warrior and Scholar. In governing the country is dangerous to lack even one of the virtues of humanity(benevolence),righteousness(, etiquette and wisdom. In adhering to correct government(an uncorrupt government), there will be no rancor from the people when crimes are punished. But when the government makes its stand in unrighteousness and the death penalty is passed, there will be deep lamenting. And in such a case there will be no escaping the retribution of karma(Simply said, kill men or have men killed unjustly and it's going to come back on you).
There is a primary need to distinguish loyalty from disloyalty and to establish rewards and punishments. It is meaningless to divide up the administration of the domain if one's vassals commit useless acts in their own interests, have no ability in the martial arts, and do not sustain their underlings. And though one can say that the treatment of his vassals in the division of the fiefs has not differed since the time of his ancestors, differences in conduct and authority are dependent on the frame of mind of the present master(You will not live forever, so don't be selfish. Make a mark that will progress the country and the people after you are dead - that will live forever).

Being born into a family that has from the beginning earnestly known Bushido, it is truly regrettable to wastefully tamper with the domain, support no soldiers, and receive the scorn of all.

Thus is the above written.

(End direct translation of actual text)

*The basic Confucian texts is what he's referring to. The four Books are the Analects, the Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean and the Book of Mencius. The five classics are the Odes, the Book of History, the Book of Rites, the Book of Changes, and the Book of Spring and Autumn Annals.
**According to Mahayana Buddhism, the buddha shakamuni preached in various ways so that sentient beings of all levels would be able to understand and reach Nirvana, which is essentially Buddhist heaven.

Note: While he does use words like "fiefs", "filial piety", "underlings" and the like he does it with a state of progression. Someday those same people will be in his station, or surpasses. A cycle as such - and so is the law of Karma mentioned before.

Extra Note: Ryoshogun was infact one of the few pure Bushido philosophers to write on the scrolls before Bushido was completely perverted by Shogunate misconstrual (using bushido just to keep people subservient), and the complete merger with Buddhism and Taoism that resulted in order for it to survive. He wrote this only a hundred years or so before pure Bushido "died".
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: The Regulations of Imagawa Ryoshogun

great content.
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:01 PM
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Default Re: The Regulations of Imagawa Ryoshogun

I'm not even done reading... but this is very helpful.

I should probably do some more research to get the idea of the time period right. I love Japanese history, but most of my knowledge is of the Bakumatsu... just a few hundred years too late to be helpful for this setting XD
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