A small book of wood block printed pages circulates around Kosaten Shiro, along with a few copies at the messenger’s way station and the Lion prisoner camp. It only contains a few pages that are sewn together, and the plain cover reads in bold text: THE YOJIMBO.
Issue 4 Year: 997
HONOUR AND GLORY: THE YOJIMBO ISSUE 4
AN ANALYSIS OF THE FIRST BATTLE OF SOUTHERN KOSATEN
As requested by Daidoji Ryoma, I Daidoji Hanzo, of the Iron Crane and student of Leadership and Sun Tao have compiled as best I can of what occurred in the previous battle, and offer this short analysis of it.
In the broadest sense, this battle can be thought of as a draw. However it was not a draw due to the incompetence of the Crane who maneuvered as quickly as they could given the time constraits upon which they operated. (As opposed to the Lion which in a show of perfidy were clearly ready to march even before the failed negotiations at Shiro Matsu showing a lack of a good faith)
In the opening maneuvers, the strong cavalry screen of the Lion did temporarily blind the Crane from accurately guessing their main force placement. However, the Lion promptly threw this away with a blind charge into the Crane ranks rather than manoeuvring and surrounding the force so that it would be forced to retreat. It was from Lion folly rather than skill that the battle was waged.
To Matsu Ginbachi-sama’s credit, he took advantage of this surprise swiftly, building momentum where otherwise it would have petered out in disastrous defeat.
That said, the tendency of the Lion to resort to headlong charges in lieu of more complicated tacitcs would be carried on until the Lion commander, Matsu Ginbachi was nearly dispatched for it. His taisa proceeded to maneuver more carefully, requiring Akodo Goemon to break off the charge on the Lion to reinforce Matsu Ginbachi-sama before the final press could be made.
In the end, if not for Kitsu Ise Ieuji-sama deciding that the fifth charge was the best plan, the Lion likely could have claimed a strategic victory even if they had retreated from the field. However, Kitsu-sama did decide to charge, instead allowing the Crane forces to inflict enough damage that rather than withdraw in good order for a new battle in a few days, the Lion now require weeks to recover.
Time will tell if the skill of the Akodo War College will allow the Lion to put together a better strategy than ‘find them and throw everything we have at them’ but until then, on the balance the Crane have an advantage tactically and strategically.
-DAIDOJI HATTORI HANZO
HONOR AND GLORY
CRANE VICTORY AT BATTLE OF IIZUME FIELDS
Charging Matsu waves break against rock of Daidoji defences.
The virtue of the Crane lays in their patience, for their armies are well stocked, heavily armed, and prepared for an event of a long siege.
The Daidoji forces rested amongst the gentle knells of the battlefield, along several ad-hoc fortifications. Against wave after wave of Matsu spearmen, their resolve never wavered and the days theirs.
Weary Lion flee the fields in panic, using any means to retreat down river, leaving behind much needed supplies and captives. This is the day the Crane have taught the Lion a valuable lesson they are not soon to forget.
TAXATION AND PROSPERITY
LETTER FROM GUNSO OF THE YOJIMBO
The prosperity of taxation is now perceived and acknowledged by all samurai of importance to be the most useful and most productive source of the Empire’s wealth, and has become a primary object of our care: justification for war.
It has been found that in provinces where commerce floruishes, land has risen in value. All orders of society- the assidous merchant, the laborious husbandman, the industrious craftsman– look forward with eager expectation and growing enthusiasm to the pleasing reward of their toils.
Look to the Lion and we must see the effects of turning away from matters of propsertiy. How apt is a spirit of ill-formed jeaolousy to lead samurai away from the plainest truths of reason and conviction: A Clan cannot long exist without revenues, otherwise it must resign its independence and sink into a degraded condition.
Should they continue on their path, they will fall with a depressive weight upn the land. It has been already intimated that excises, in their true signification, are too little in unison with the feelings of the people, to admit of great use being made in their provinces.
They have been compelled to owe obligations to the succors of other Clans for the preservation of their essential interests, and thus unable upon the strength of their own resources, sustain a long or continued war.
Meanwhile, the Strength of the Crane can safely rely upon its duties from imports, its agriculture, wealth, and taxation to sustain the health of its armies and welfare of their lands.
-DAIDOJI HIRAMICHI RYOMA
Artwork Title: “Matsu Koharu’s Retreat” New Lion military formation
Triptic of three images on mulberry paper, Edition 1/1
ANNOUNCEMENT: GREAT VICTORY FESTIVITIES TO HONOUR IMPERIAL OBSERVERS
An exhibition of new Crane talent, set to highlight creativity from the Daidoji army will be held this week. A feast will commence to commemorate this occasion, with a wild hunt, games, and more. Specifics to follow in the coming days.
THE RUSTLING LEAVES
The leaves sing a melody when passing through a forest. I’m sure my readers could a lifetime writing haiku that describe the sounds and would prefer to discover these sounds, rather than being told so straight fowardly what it is.
Commodity prices spike: The sheer amount of equipment left behind in the Lion defeat has caused prices of steel and copper Igots to soar as the Lion forgeries desperately try to restock after their losses. Supply trains traveling from Matsu Shiro reportedly double their ashigaru caravan guards to secure precious cargo in route to the South
Seeds of Doubt: There is an Officer amongst the Crane who has trouble reconciling their duties with Honor. Will they find their Centre before their superiors take notice?
Shrine in Peril: As a recipient of rice from Crane lands to feed the masses, the Shrine of Kenro-ji-Jin is ripe for exploitation should the Lion armies require immediate resupply following their defeat. The monks who tend the shrine have already begun work to reinforce their position by building fortifications in anticipating such an eventuality. Others suggest this is only to offer protection against bandits, but time will reveal everything.
Bridal Kimono ruined: Artisan bridal kimonos are being found in the forest, ruined by animals. Are there Kitsune lhiding, in search of a mortal partner?
Expert strategists: Taisas Doji Koeben-sama and Daidoji Ienagi-sama were seen having a heated discussion in the critical moments before the final battle formations. Steel was nearly drawn, but suddenly, orders were given and their joint coordination was believed to play a crucial point in the battle’s outcome.
THE NATURE OF COMPASSION
A discussion, by Daidoji Isamu
Greetings. I am Daidoji Isamu, shugenja of the Asahina, and priest writing for the Yojimbo on spiritual matters. I feel honored to have been selected.
I thought I might start with the virtue of Bushido that often gets forgotten during war. There’s a lot of discussion about one’s Courage, doing one’s Duty, and of course, the Honor we owe to our lords. Samurai die on a battlefield, so why would anyone worry about their Compassion? Our righteous fury, knowing that we will drive the enemy before us, should be enough to be the only thing that matters on a field of war, isn’t that right?
First, while we are extorted to show no emotion, Compassion reconnects us to our fellow man, samurai or heimin, so we do not go down the roads many forget, which is essentially becoming soulless creatures only made to kill and only made for war. We serve the Son of Heaven at his whim, but the Empire does not need soulless siege engines. Compassion reminds us that all others are not things that we are here to simply fight and struggle against. That a samurai, through his code of Bushido, is more than a heimin who just picked up a sword and decided he’d fight in an army one day.
Next, and more practically, we are the servants of Heaven. We also have servants, so we can do our duties. If we do not care for our servants, they will no longer to be able to do their work and we will flounder. We care for our heimin because it allows them to do the work we need. You care for your fellow soldier on the battlefield because you may need him to help shoulder a burden for you someday.
Those heimin that just got their fields burnt? They might have created rice to feed an thousand samurai. If you’re asking why someone would write about Compassion during war time, then if you cannot take it in the spirit of doing your duty under Heaven, then hold on to the fact that it has a practical purpose in war.
It is always worth remembering while our life is in fact war, that war is a transition state. Peace may be mutually agreed upon by generals as soon as tomorrow, and you are no longer at war with another clan. How you treated members of that clan: heimin, samurai, lords are what that clan will remember in the coming days. Your legacy is also what your enemies or former enemies say about you. Do not sully yourself by showing cruelty over Compassion. You are samurai, an honorable and radiant being, not being of clay and crude matter.
I would next warn you that a lack of any of the virtues of Bushido opens a door to our darker impulses, our worst nature and darkest states, and from there, everything from sins like Regret to dark things that can walk through that door. It is a reality in the world in which we live that there are things that wait for us in our dark moments and sometimes we don’t let them in, but they affect us because they noticed. Our greater spiritual enemies take advantage of the fact that we are sometimes not vigilant. Do not allow this to be you, remember yourselves even in war.
Last, I would entreat you all to hold on to each other, no matter how tedious it seems. Remind each other of the other’s company, and you are not fighting this war or serving Heaven alone. It is the often the simplest way that one can hold onto Compassion.
I could probably go on for a while. I should not. If anyone has any questions about spirituality or spiritual topics they’d like me to address, come find me, Daidoji Isamu, and this one may decide to answer it here, if not personal. Until next time, the Fortunes bless you and the Kami keep you in balance.
-DAIDOJI ISAMU, Asahina Shugenja
Artwork: Daidoji Tsubasa fighting in overwhelming odds to take down Matsu Shinbaru
Title: WE BEAT THEM ONCE, WE WILL BEAT THEM AGAIN. UTZ BANZAI KAKITA TSUBASA
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