His father, Katsu Kokichithe subject of the autobiography, Musui's Storywas the ill-behaved head of a minor samurai family. Katsu developed the reputation as an expert in western military technology. Under the advice of Dutch naval officers, Katsu served as head naval cadet at the Nagasaki Naval Academy between and
As it Musuis story Katsu Musuis story, brawling, indulging in the pleasure quarters, and getting the better of authorities, it also provides a refreshing perspective on Japanese society, customs, economy, and human relationships.
From childhood, Katsu was given to mischief. He ran away from home, once at thirteen, making his way as a beggar on the great trunk road between Edo and Kyoto, and again at twenty, posing as the emissary of a feudal lord.
He eventually married and had children but never obtained official preferment and was forced to supplement a meager stipend by dealing in swords, selling protection to shopkeepers, and generally using his muscle and wits.
Katsu's descriptions of loyalty and kindness, greed and deception, vanity and superstition offer an intimate view of daily life in nineteenth-century Japan unavailable in standard history books.
Musui's Story will delight not only students of Japan's past but also general readers who will be entranced by Katsu's candor and boundless zest for life. Attractively translated by Teruko Craig, it depicts the life of a man born into a family with the hereditary privilege of audience with the shogun, yet he shamelessly consorted with the riffraff of Edo, ran a protection racket, lied, cheated, and stole Craig is to be commended for the felicity of her translation and for her clear presentation of a complex social order in the Introduction Anyone interested in Japanese history and society or in how people interact with each other in whatever age or place will enjoy reading this book.
Teruko Craig has my applause for selecting what may be a unique document, translating it so gracefully, and supplying it with an informative introduction and annotation. Teruko Craig is to be commended on the vivid picture of this slice of Tokugawa life.
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Musui lived an adventurous life, full of swordfights, family squabbles, thievery, prostitution, and get-rich-quick schemes. Musui hopes that his story might help others, especially his ancestors, avoid the mistakes he made.
Musui is born to a concubine, given up to a wet nurse, and only at . His father, Katsu Kokichi, the subject of the autobiography, Musui's Story, was the ill-behaved head of a minor samurai family.
Musui’s Story: A Transition From Isolation to Interaction The varying social interactions between status groups in Katsu Kokichi’s autobiography, Musui’s Story, convey a shift from the hierarchically strict Heian/Kamakura epochs to the more socially open late Tokugawa period.
A series of picaresque adventures set against the backdrop of a Japan still closed off from the rest of the world, Musui's Story recounts the escapades of samurai Katsu Kokichi.
As it depicts Katsu stealing, brawling, indulging in the pleasure quarters, and getting the better of authorities, it also provides a refreshing perspective on Japanese society, customs, economy, and human relationships.
Musui’s Story or Mafia’s Story: A Different Reading of Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai. Fred Smithberg Armstrong State University (Savannah, Georgia) Contemporary Japan is often advertised as one of the safest and crime free countries on earth.