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Book Report/Review sample - The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan
Pages 7 (1757 words)
Furin Kazan means "Wind, Fire, Forest, Mountain," the symbols used on the war banners of the Takada clan (Amini 2002). This Yasushi Inoue's novel follows Yamamoto Kansuke from his days as an ambitious, but lowly ronin in 1543 to his rise as chief strategist for the powerful Takeda clan as they subdue one rival clan after another
This may explain the "banner" element in the title which points to a need to be unified under one roof.
Warlord Takeda Shingen wanted to expand his territory and he employs the ambitious and mysterious Kansuke who becomes the brain behind the victories. The setting was feudal Japan, 1543 to 1562. Specifically, Kansuke as a samurai dreams of a country united, peaceful from sea to sea. He convinces Takeda, the lord of Kai domain, to kill the lord of neighboring Suwa and take his wife as a concubine. He then convinces the widow, Princess Yu, to accept this arrangement and to bear Takeda a son. Pledging them his life, he spends years using treachery, poetic sensibility, military and political strategy to expand Takeda's realm, advance the claim of Yu's son as the heir, and prepare for an ultimate battle with the forces of Echigo (Yasushi: Riley 2006).
The samurai of traditional Japan were among the most important characters of Japan's history. These honorable warriors fought almost all of the major battles and wars until the end of traditional Japan in the 1800's. Without the samurai, the struggles for power, and the numerous unifications brought about by the most powerful of the daimyo, Japan could not be what it is today (Amini 2002). It is debatable however, if these samurai values form the national character of the Japanese now (Hayford 2007).
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