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Notes on History

Post  Masumi on Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:19 am

Masumi wrote:When she stopped dragging the foreigner, her hand slipped into the sleeves of her kimono, retrieving a bundle of rags. They would be relatively pure, she had washed them in the ocean not too long ago, and had protected them along with all her possessions from negative influence with prayers. She wasted no time pressing the rags on the center where the blood seemed to permeate from. Never had she dealt with a wound so serious, but if it was anything like the more minor wounds she had experience in, the pressure should slow the flow of blood. So much blood...*

In "Lessons Learnt," Masumi the Beggar is attempting to slow the bleeding of Thiago Lopes. Aside from impurities in the water, salt water dehydrates a number bacteria, so the fact the rags are washed in salt water (the ocean) may help disinfect the rags to a degree. Although Masumi is pretty freaked out by the blood she is observing, bleeding can actually make it look like you've lost more blood then you have. Take some water with red food coloring, and a rag you don't mind staining. Try adding a teaspoon, a table spoon, or any other amounts you wish to observe. Notice how much the "blood" spreads out. An average person could, in theory at least, lose over 2 liters of blood and still live. Therefore, the wound may not be as severe as Masumi worries about. Still, if the bullet did not exit, the process of removing if may cause more blood loss or, worse yet, an infection (of course, leaving the bullet in will also most likely introduce infection). Koch's Postulates, which confirmed the germ theory, would not be published until 1890. The first anti-bacterial drug was not released until 1910.

Japanese medicine was shaped my both Chinese and, later, Western influence. Early Japanese medicine would prescribe herbs and rituals, disease believed to be caused by impurities or the punishment of higher beings. Buddhist priests were often medical providers, believing disease were manifestations of bad karma accumulated from previous life times. Some of their literature promoted that green tea and nutrition had an effect on health. Chinese medicine made a diagnoses by reading the symptoms; medical treatments included massage, shaitsu (fingers pressed on pressure points), acupuncture, and herbal medicine that physicians often grew themselves. Western medicine would not be introduced until the 16th century. Along with the Europeans came firearms, and Chinese and traditional medicine was not enough to treat bullet wounds, so surgical techniques for removing bullets comprised the extent of the west's influence. One of the reasons that western medicine didn't have as strong of a foot hold was because its emphasis and studying anatomy and physiology contradicted the Chinese view of balance the life force (qi/chi) to treat disease. Still, western medicine offered insight, and many western medical texts had been translated by the end of the 18th century.

Source of info is Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan by William E. Deal, pages 232-237.


Last edited by Masumi on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:11 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Retitle)
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Re: Notes on History

Post  Thiago Lopes on Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:35 pm

It is said of muskets in general that you could be shot at all day by one and only notice the noise. Japanese guns, however, were of a noted craptastic quality. So far, Thiago just has to worry about infection and blood loss. He was caught off guard, and thought the wound was bigger than it was. He'll be fine as long as the wounds are cleaned.

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Re: Notes on History

Post  Masumi on Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:51 pm

Thiago Lopes wrote:It is said of muskets in general that you could be shot at all day by one and only notice the noise. Japanese guns, however, were of a noted craptastic quality. So far, Thiago just has to worry about infection and blood loss. He was caught off guard, and thought the wound was bigger than it was. He'll be fine as long as the wounds are cleaned.

That's really interesting. I wonder if it's partly because of the "runner's high." Allegedly, long stretches of exercise (such as what a soldier might experience) will release endorphins, the body's natural pain killers. Apparently that's what allow American football players and other professional athletes to keep playing even when they are injured.

Masumi is just a worry wart because of inexperience, and the way blood spreads everywhere. She's seen a number of injuries during her lifetime, but stab and bullet wounds are beyond anything she's ever experienced.
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Re: Notes on History

Post  Thiago Lopes on Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:16 pm

Well, if that were the case, then Thiago really needs his adrenal glands checked, because he blacked out shortly after getting shot.

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Re: Notes on History

Post  Masumi on Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:41 pm

My guess is he was going into shock, which can happen with even minor injuries, and may have caused him to collapse. Symptoms of shock include faintness and dizziness because the body is unable to deliver enough oxygen, making standing not an easy thing to do. The body can be very quirky when dealing with injuries.
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Re: Notes on History

Post  Thiago Lopes on Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:56 pm

Good to see we're all doing our homework here.

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Re: Notes on History

Post  Masumi on Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:20 am

Thiago Lopes wrote:Good to see we're all doing our homework here.

One of the classes I took happens to be Human Anatomy and Physiology. Smile It's why I narrate these sort of things, because I'm not sure what's common knowledge or what just happened to stick in my head.
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The Reason for Retitling

Post  Masumi on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:18 am

This thread was originally called "The Nature of Blood and Disease." I'm retitling it and re-purposing it to encompass any other history-type trivia I feel like going on a tangent on. I'm guessing most everyone else here is also doing their own versions of research, so for that matter if you feel like posting your own research results, I would welcome this.

We'll also take questions.

Wait, what? How did you get in here?

I was called in for "comic relief." ^_^

Right... >.>
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The Japanese writing system

Post  Masumi on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:23 am

This is a re-post from the old forum (which is why I use "Kyoko" as my Japanese name example).

Here's a little info on the Japanese writing system. The Japanese writing system has three main alphabets.

Kanji characters are derived from Chinese characters. Kanji is a sort of pictograph, so that a certain character correlates with a certain meaning, as opposed to a certain set of sounds like the English language. Kanji is rather tricky because of how it was adopted into Japan, and can be used to make up one or several different words with different pronunciations and different meanings. I.e. 京子

Hiragana, like kanji, is used for native or naturalized Japanese words. Unlike kanji, it is more straight forward, which is why originally Hiragana was considered to be the writing system of women, since kanji was seen as too complicated for women. For example, The Tale of Gengi was written by a noble woman named Murasaki Shikibu, originally in Hiragana. Hiragana was mainly used in informal situations such as personal letters. I.e. きょうこ

Katakana is also phonetic based, used for any foreign language or non-native words. Along with Chinese, it would appear in official documents. I.e. キョーコ

Romanji is the Romanization of Japanese, or interpreting the Japanese language with the Latin alphabet, which was first used by Portuguese missionaries in the middle of the 16 century. It fell out of use during the early 17th century except sporadically until Japan opened up again during the 19th century. I.e. Kyoko

Native Japanese names are spelled with Kanji. Kyoko is spelled with 京, pronounced "Kyo" meaning city or capital, while 子 ("Ko") means child; therefore "city-child." Still, you can have the same pronunciation using different kanji. For example, Kyoko can be spelled as 恭子 to mean "respectful child." Another note is that in the Japanese language, you say your surname first. So in America, I introduce myself as "Sharon Seiler." In Japan, I introduce myself as "Seiler Sharon." (I didn't use Kyoko as an example because she no longer uses her last name.) Any names that aren't native to Japan are typically spelled with Katakana or Romanji. So "Sharon" can be left as it is, or spelled as シャロン (I think).
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The Templars

Post  Masumi on Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:49 am

And now a small homage to the newest member, the Templars (I got the chills when I saw their entry on the new members thread. *Shivers*)

You don't know the half of it. >_<

Currently Masumi is trying to escape from a hide out full of Templars. Unfortunately, she is only armed with a broom, and whatever she has in her pockets. How do you think you'll get out of this one Masumi-san?

Hopefully not dead or otherwise maimed...

Moving on, other names for the Templars include Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, Knights Templar, Order of the Temple, or in French as Ordre du Temple/Templiers. They began roughly after the first crusade, when Hugues de Payens collected 8 knights, with a mission statement of protecting pilgrims visiting holy sites. In the day, pilgrims were being slaughtered often by the hundreds. Templars become officially sanctioned by the church in 1129. After this, they became a favored charity, receiving donations in the form of land, money and even sons to be recruits. When Pope Innocent II exempted them from the local laws in 1139, they were also exempt from taxes and could pass freely through borders (no passport for them!). One of their most famous victories came in 1117 in the Battle of Montgisard. Despite being famous for their military actions, in fact the majority of those within the Templar order are in support rolls (I hypothesize within Abstergo, over 90% of the employees are completely clueless, about 10% are involved in one way or another in Templar activities, and less than 1% have any idea what's actually going on.) The support rolls were needed to support the extensive financial infrastructure, including a system that was a precursor to banking. They had land all over Europe and the middle east, owning vineyards, building churches, and even owning all of Cyprus, making the arguably the first international corporation in history.

This wouldn't last, however. After the holy land was lost, public support for the Templars were also lost. Rumors about some of the order's secrecy created an atmosphere of distrust, which King Philup IV of France, a man deeply indebted to the Templars, leaped upon. In 1307, the majority of Templars were arrested, tortured into confession, and burned at the stake (not to unlike the infamous Salem witch trials).

Of course, the AC universe explanation is that a lot of this is fabricated to keep the truth out of the public's reach. Wink Assassin's Creed isn't the only pop culture reference to the Templar Knights. Ivanhoe, Foucault's Pendulum, The Lost symbol, and The Da Vinci Code are all popular novels that reference the Templar Order, movies include National Treasure and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Some have speculated a connection between Masonic order and the Templar Order, but there is no evidence of this; it'll be interesting to see if and how ACIII utilizes this speculated connection.
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Re: Notes on History

Post  Thiago Lopes on Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:34 am

Well, Japanese transliteration is based more upon phonetics than spelling. Ex: In English, Sharon is pronounced SHEH-ren rather than SHA-rōn. Japanese transliteration would be based around that. So it would be more like Sheren or シェレン.

It tends to get a bit complex, but here are some other examples that may help:
Charlton - Charuton
Arkwright - Akuraito
Garen - Geren
Kent - Kento
Wander - Wanda
Templar - Tempura (yes, it's homophonic with the fried food)
Assassin - Asashin
Thiago - Chiago
The - Za
Order - Oda (holyshit)


Last edited by Thiago Lopes on Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:45 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Notes on History

Post  Masumi on Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:21 am

Thiago Lopes wrote:Well, Japanese transliteration is based more upon phonetics than spelling. Ex: In English, Sharon is pronounced SHEH-ren rather than SHA-rōn. Japanese transliteration would be based around that. So it would be more like Sheren or シェレン.

It tends to get a bit complex, but here are some other examples that may help:
Charlton - Charuton
Arkwright - Akuraito
Garen - Geren
Kent - Kento
Wander - Wanda
Templar - Tempura (yes, it's homophonic with the fried food)
Assassin - Asashin

Good to know. Thanks. Very Happy
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Social Classes

Post  Masumi on Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:21 pm

Social classes weren't rigid, subject to local differences and the nature of each individual relationships. In general, though, it goes something like this:

1) Aristocrats, who pursued the arts and held kinship ties to the imperial family. However, there were periods in history when the real power was held by the warrior class.

2) Warriors, often referred to as "Bushi" or "Samurai." The warrior class include members of both aristocracy and commoners, leadership typically falling to the former. Within the hierarchy are the Gokenin who had direct contact with the shogunate, followed by the samurai (considered a social class in the Kamakura period), with the Zusa (foot soldiers) at the bottom.

Wouldn't the Assassins and Templars go here?

3) Farmers/Peasants. Myosu were the local landholders whom the proprietor of the estate collected tax from, additionally Myoshu had a right to some of that estate's income. Warrior farmers were those sometimes used as foot soldiers during turbulent periods such as the warring states period, making ascension up the social ladder possible during these times. Genin worked the land, cold be bought or sold, and were treated as members of the extended family of those who owned/controlled the land; they were considered inferior in status.

In other words, the bulk of your common, everyday people.

4) Outcastes, subdivided into hereditary outcastes (eta) and outcastes by occupation or social status (hinin, literally "non-human"), though there was little distinction between these during the feudal era. Eta were those considered ritually impure because of their occupation: the disposal or treatment of animals (e.g. tanning), and were often segregated from the rest of society. Hinin were criminals or those who did something considered outside of social roles (e.g. actors).

I would have been considered a hinin because of something I did, in this case begging. If I had been born to a family of butchers or tanners, I would be in the eta class.

Source: Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan, by William Deal, pages 109-111.

I'm not sure if and where foreigners fit into the social hierarchy. I know they were confined to Nagasaki, with their residences segregated to the artificial island of Dejima upon its construction in 1636. (Same book, page 64). I'll expand on this as I find out more.
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Re: Notes on History

Post  Thiago Lopes on Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:17 pm

I normally don't say this about Japanese history, but. . . You just taught me something.

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Re: Notes on History

Post  Masumi on Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:52 pm

Thiago Lopes wrote:I normally don't say this about Japanese history, but. . . You just taught me something.

Sweet. I originally created this thread both as partially as an outlet for my nerdiness, and hopefully for us to learn from one another. I didn't know much about Japanese history before I started role playing. Still don't know a lot, but I'm working on that. I know so far you've taught me a lot of stuff, I'm just glad I was able to return the favor for once.

With Mei's guardian deceased, I may do a post on funerals soon.
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Re: Notes on History

Post  Thiago Lopes on Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:20 pm

I didn't know much about Japanese history until I started writing my other fanfic. First, I needed to know enough to choose between the Heian (1200), Sengoku (1500-1600), and Bakumatsu (1853-1869). I chose the Bakumatsu because it was the one that caught my attention, but the other time periods will play in.

Just try not to let the research get in the way of the fun. Accuracy can be fun, but acceptable breaks from reality also exist. After all, we're talking about a series where genetic memory is a thing.


Last edited by Thiago Lopes on Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Notes on History

Post  Masumi on Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:21 pm

Thiago Lopes wrote:I didn't know much about Japanese history until I started writing my other fanfic. First, I needed to know enough to choose between the Heian, Sengoku, and Bakumatsu.

Just try not to let the research get in the way of the fun. Accuracy can be fun, but acceptable breaks from reality also exist. After all, we're talking about a series where genetic memory is a thing.

Lol, point taken.
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Women

Post  Masumi on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:51 pm

Haven't posted anything here for awhile. With things pretty quiet for Masumi till the Assassin's wrap up with the Templars (In "Like a Bull in a Tea Shop),...

I happen to prefer things quiet, thank you very much. >_<

...here's a little synopsis on women in feudal Japan.

Compared to men, at least, there isn't much information available about women. Politically, less women held positions of power than men, suggesting a subservient role. Still, the status of women did not necessarily explain the actual life experiences of women, a dynamic thing changing with time, place, and situation. During the feudal era, women were often used at various levels to unite families, as well as a commodity in the political and economic arena.

Women in were key amongst the military class to make alliances, seal agreements, or gain control. Sometimes women were passed from one family to another to serve as hostages. Some women were warriors, especially the wives of warriors who were trained in martial arts.

When a suitable male is unavailable, women will often serve as the koshu (head of the household). Regardless of gender, respect is afforded to the elderly due to ethics, so elder women had increased influence.

A peasant woman's day is filled with housework and agricultural labor to fill her day. The commoner didn't commonly have access to education until the Edo period.

A woman in a wealthy family didn't have to do such tasks as these were delegated to servants, but weren't idle, instead charged with entertaining guests, waiting on their husbands, and managing the workers in the household. Aristocratic women also had the benefit of an education, allowing them to be literate and learn other skills in preparation for marriage.

There were some alternatives to marriage. Especially talented women could make a living with trade or in a job. More common was to become a nun.

Prostitution would become institutionalized during the Edo period. High ranking courtesans might enjoy an education (i.e. calligraphy, music), fame for their beauty. Many were sold as indentured servants to the brothel, so the brothel has complete control over the lives of these women. Still, such brothels could offer better clothes and possibly even an education that an impoverished family may be otherwise unable to supply.

There is a kind of hierarchy in the brothel, courtesans are above prostitutes, who were above servants. Of course, the head of the brothel was on top of everyone.

Miko are considered to be young women who aid the older priests, often carrying a bow and arrows, sakura branch, bells and trinkets as religious accessories. In the day, you had to be a virgin to be a miko. They were known for being able to go into a trance in order to channel kami, and also functioned as soothsayers. Traveling miko were associated with prostitution services. Depending on the branch of Shintoism, sometimes women could be priests, even marry and have children on the job. Other sects of Shinotism place more restrictions on women, including their potential leadership roles. Becoming a Buddhist nun was a good strategy to get out of a bad marriage.

Most of this information I got from Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan, by William Deal. The last two paragraphs are from Wikipedia and my head. Of course, within the Assassin's order itself, they are hardly known for sticking with traditional gender roles. Wink To anyone who ever reads my notes, I am happy to take requests. ^_^


Last edited by Masumi on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:58 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Clarification)
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Re: Notes on History

Post  Thiago Lopes on Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:32 pm

Virgin prostitutes, you say?

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Re: Notes on History

Post  Masumi on Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:15 pm

Thiago Lopes wrote:Virgin prostitutes, you say?

First off, let me acknowledge that the information I have on miko is not the best of quality. I was surprised by how little seemed available.

As far as I understand it, traveling miko (called aruki miko) were born when the temples were in decline. I imagine the reason why they expanded into prostitution is that without the temple funding to support them, it was a method which allowed such a miko to survive on her own.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miko


Last edited by Masumi on Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:04 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Clarification and sourcing)
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Just a note on bowing

Post  Thiago Lopes on Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:09 am

In Japanese culture, bowing is roughly the equivalent of a handshake: a form of mutual respect that is used for introduction or sealing a deal. Consequently, a nod will suffice for all non-formal occasions. Think of a nod as the equivalent of a high five or a fist bump.

Also, eye contact is kept only for close friends/family.

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A very brief guide to honorifics

Post  Masumi on Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:32 am

The source is wikipedia, I listed approximately from least to most formal.

Criminals and suspects were often referred to with out any title.

-chan: can be used as a term of endearment (cute things, children/babies, grandparents) or diminutive (to intimidate, or to be condescending towards one's boss)

-bō: same as chan except used only for males

-kun: lower ranking coworkers or class mates, sometimes used by females towards boys they like or have known for a long time

-kōhai: often kun is used instead, the opposite of senpai, a person with junior ranking

-san: the most common honorific, sometimes used with a workplace title instead of a name (i.e. bookkeeper-san).

-senpai: upperclassman, higher ranking co-worker, a person with senior ranking

-shi: used in formal writing or in reference to someone you've never met.

-tono (pronounced as "dono" when attached to a name): roughly "milord." Supposedly between san and sama in terms of respect (thus far, I've not been using it that way... I might want to correct that.)

-sama: a more respectful form of "-san"

"Ue" litterally means above, shows a high level of respect

-sensei (or just Sensei by itself): addresses "teachers, doctors, politicians, lawyers, and other authority figures." It's also used refer to anyone who has mastery in some art or skill, or the head of a dojo (martial arts school). (Mentor-sensei? Mentor=sensei? I'm never sure whether to treat it as a name or title.)

-hakase: literally means doctor, better translates to professor, a person with high academic standing

...no kime (i.e. Akito no kime): used for lords and ladies of the court

Gozen: noble women, roughly "Lady"

(I've heard -hime used a lot in various anime to mean princess)

Kakka: heads of the state, high ranking officials, ambassadors

Hidenka: consort of the prince

Denka: non-sovereign royalty, roughly "his/her royal highness"

Heika: sovereign royalty, roughly "his/her majesty"
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Names of the full moon.

Post  Masumi on Sat May 05, 2012 6:02 am

Source is wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_moon

Each full of the month has its own name, depending on the culture. For English, this is


January- Old Moon
February- Wolf Moon
March- Lenten Moon
April- Egg Moon
May- Milk Moon
June- Flower Moon
July- Hay Moon
August- Grain Moon
September- Fruit Moon
October - Harvest Moon
November- Hunter's Moon
December- Oak Moon

May is the Milk moon, also known as the Flower Moon, Hare Moon, and Corn Moon.
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