Musui's Story

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Newsletter for October 6-10

Musui 's Story is a samurai 's autobiography that portrays the Tokugawa society as it was lived during Katsu Kokichi 's life (1802 - 1850). Katsu Kokichi (or Musui) was a man born into a family with hereditary privilege of audience with the shogun, yet he lived a life unworthy of a samurai 's way, running protection racket, cheating, stealing, and lying. Before we discuss how Musui 's lifestyle was against the codes that regulated the behavior of the samurai, it is essential that the role of the samurai in Japanese society be understood.
The Japanese society was divided into four classes: samurai, peasants, artisans, and merchants. The samurai was a class of warriors, emerged from Japan during the constant
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At his arrival at Mishima, he claims being a retainer in the service of Harima-no-kami of Mito in order to intimidate the guards. According to the book, Mito was one of the three highest-ranking collateral houses of the tokugawa family.
Musui will deliberately continue his transgressions during his adult years. He kept visiting the Yoshiwara repeatedly in many occasion, he traveled without permission, dealt with merchants, and became materialistic. At one occasion, he even shamelessly pulled a big farce (p. 135) of committing seppuku, which was considered as a sacred samurai ceremony, in order to get money from peasants. What is striking in all this is that he shows no indication of regret for his act, but instead describes the whole situation with pride.
Definitely, during his entire life, Musui did not live a life worthy of a samurai ethical standards expected from all tokugawa samurai. He lied and stole. And throughout his autobiography, he describes his encounters with thieves, beggars, priests, merchants, gamblers, confidence men, as if he were taking proud of his actions, presenting himself as a hero, instead of a disloyal samurai. He displays in the text no sorrow, regret, nor repentance, but pride instead.
The peaceful Tokugawa period presented problem to many samurai, and Musui 's life is just one of the many examples of lives that those samurai lived. Samurai had no battles to fight. Many had low income or jobless
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