TGS Guide to the Japanese Clan

The Japanese Clan is located in Ishimura, Japan.

history - Bushido & Eastern morality - biographies - references

This information was compiled by Daniel Paul Hightower during May - August 2002 and updated in October 2000.   Hopefully, information will be updated as new stories are published involving the Japanese clan.

Overview of Japanese Clan History Through September 1999

16th Century

From Brooklyn's point of view, this is his 3rd visit to the Japanese clan while Timedancing.   From the point of view of history, this is Brooklyn's 1st visit to Japan while Timedancing.   Brooklyn showed up in feudal Japan, near Ishimura, during his wanderings, and was longing to just be reunited with Sata.   A trickster figure in the area (perhaps, one of those magical foxes that appear in Japanese legend) overheard him, and promptly granted Brooklyn's wish, by sending him straight to Ishimura, but changing his appearance in so doing and even altering his memories so that he was unaware of his original past as Brooklyn - also, at that point in time, Sata's still a young gargoyle (just on the verge of adolescence), so that Brooklyn becomes a mentor-figure to her.   Brooklyn finally discovers what's going on here (due to the spell wearing off) and resumes his travels, though not before promising Sata that he will return someday.

16th Century

From Brooklyn's point of view, this is his 1st visit to the Japanese clan while Timedancing.   From the point of view of history, this is Brooklyn's 2nd visit to Japan while timedancing.   Brooklyn arrives to meet the Ishimura clan in fuedal Japan.   The brother (Ganryu) of the clan leader had broken off from the clan, taking several members with him and calling his new group "Tengu" when Brooklyn arrived, over a dispute about clan leadership.   Brooklyn manages to intervene and temporarily put a stop between the "Tengu" and the Ishimura clan.   Brooklyn met a grown-up Sata.   Unfortunately, the phoenix gate flared up taking both Sata and Brooklyn to a different place in time. Events of "Dishonor"

16th Century

From Brooklyn's point of view, this is his 2nd visit to the Japanese clan while Timedancing.   From the point of view of history, this is Brooklyn's 3rd visit to Japan   Brooklyn & Sata manage to dance back to fuedal Japan, approximately, 5 years after they left from the POV of history while Brooklyn and Sata's POV, they have been only timedancing a year.   Ganryu and his band of tengu made an alliance with a band of ronin, masterless samurai who sell their services to the highest bidder.   He is planning on stealing a statue of Budda when Brooklyn and Sata arrive.   Ganryu sets up distractions to allow the Tengu warriors to have easy access to steal the statue.   Brooklyn talks the Tengu warriors into stopping their attack to acquire the statue.   They abandon Genryu's leadership and leave with the feeling of having regained their honor.   (Their destiny after that point is currently unknown)   Genryu ends up being killed by the leader of the samurai that he aligned himself with.   Brooklyn & Sata become mated.

August 7-9, 1945

From Brooklyn's point of view, this is his 4th visit to Japan while Timedancing. From the point of view of history, this is Brooklyn's 4th visit to Japan while timedancing.   Brooklyn discovers another Japanese clan in Nagaski just days before the atomic bomb is dropped there and does not remember it until it is too late to save anybody.   Also, the Nagaski clan has not heard of the Ishimuran clan.

Between January 22 and July 9, 1996

While on a world tour, Goliath, Angela, Bronx, and Elisa arrive in Ishimura, Japan. There, they met up with the Japanese clan.   During the day, Taro kidnapped the entire Japanese clan, Goliath, Angela, and Bronx from their resting places and brought theme to a Gargoyles theme park of Yama's and Taro's designs.   When the gargoyles attempted to leave, they were blocked from leaving by Taro's men.   Yama disapproved of this and fought Taro and won so that the the Japanese clan and Goliath, Angela, and Bronx could leave.   Afterwards, Yama was banished from the clan.   Goliath, Angela, and Bronx left.

Between Late June and August, 1996

Xanatos purchases Taro's "Gargoyle World."   Taro makes a deal with the Yakuza to construct a gargoyle sanctuary beneath New York City, with the promise that the gargoyles could be made loyal to Yakuza interests.

April 29-30, 1999

Some monks travel to Ishimura to warn of an incoming attack of the Unseelie.   One of the fox spirits arrive to help the Ishimura clan by handing a monk a spell which will allow the Gargoyles in Ishimura to avoid turning to stone for one day.   The monk successfully cast the spell allowing the Ishimura clan to avoid turning to stone during the day.   The Unseelie attacked Ishimura.   Sora and several members of the Japanese clan and the villagers were killed during the attack, while many others were wounded before the Unseelie fled.

mid August 1999

Taro attempted to set up a Gargoyles Theme Park in NYC with help from the Japanese organized crime, but failed.

First week of September 1999

The Ishimuran clan was the site of the first Gargoyle World Council.

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Overview of Bushido and Eastern Morality

Bushido and Eastern Morality are not the sum total of any member of the Japanese clan.   However, it is a part of the each character's personality.

Overview of Bushido

The term "Bushido" literally means the "Way of the Warrior."   This "Way" incorporates strict ethical responsibilities with a code of physical sacrifice.   Significance to ethics: Bushido requires systematic training of mind and body, emphasizing absolute loyalty, spontaneity, collective responsibility, and personal sacrifice. This training has been adapted to business and religious practices.

Bushido is often associated with the concept of knightly chivalry in Europe, and certainly there are similarities.   Both are codes governing groups of dedicated fighting men, with an emphasis on duty, respect, honour and etiquette.   There are also distinct differences however, and it is unlikely that a Norman baron and an Okinawan samurai would have seen eye to eye on the subject of honour.   Notably, Bushido has little time for romance, and its emphasis on duty makes chivalry look decidedly wishy-washy.   However, the codes do have one major factor in common; both were only formalised after the period in which those who supposedly followed them had their heyday.

The great flowering of Bushido came in the Edo period - in a time of relative peace - not only in Yamaga Soko's writings, but also in the Buke Sho Hatto of Tokugawa Ieyasu.   This piece of legislation is widely regarded as the earliest written formulation of Bushido, albeit it does not call it by that name.   The Buke Sho Hatto, or 'Rules for Martial Families', laid down strict codes, governing the behaviour of the samurai clans in times of peace.   While it does formalise elements of the code of warfare, its primary purpose was to create a new focus for the samurai, thus reducing the chances of a rebellion against the newly formed Tokugawa bakufu.

The Buke Sho Hatto required the samurai to devote themselves to philosophical pursuits, and to a life of training and intense discipline, so as to refine and preserve the arts of war through times of peace.   The Buke Sho Hatto created the classical samurai.   Its rules laid the foundations for the creation of new schools of bujutsu - the arts of war - and for the philosophical and literary advances of the Edo period.   More importantly, it urged the samurai in peacetime to be something other than an unemployed warrior, itching for a war which would allow him to do the only thing he did well.

Duty was almost always seen as the keystone of the samurai code. It was paramount in a way that few Western cultures could rival, or even completely understand.   From Buddhism, Bushido took the notion of 'freedom from fear', that a warrior must strip himself of all fear of death, pain or defeat in order to serve his master loyally and without regard for himself.   The devotion of the samurai also relates to sutemi, an enduring, insular Japanese ethos of self-sacrifice in the service of a greater cause.   Samurai meant 'one who serves', and a good samurai was expected to set aside personal concerns in the service of his master.

All forms of loyalty and patriotism were encouraged. From Shinto, national pride; from Confucianism, an emphasis on personal relationships, not only between daimyo and samurai, but between family members and friends.   Another principle which impacted on all relationships was the maintenance of correct etiquette and propriety.   All relations - externally at least - were governed by strict, formal rules.   The ideal samurai was a rock for all his relatives and comrades to lean on, and a stalwart foe of those who would threaten Japan or the daimyo.   He observed an absolute dignity, propriety and formality in all public relations, and in the end his absolute devotion could belong only to his master, above even the law.

A samurai was also supposed to be magnanimous and generous, to aid and protect those beneath him, and to seek internal focus, and self-knowledge.   He was supposed to be respectful before all, to seek knowledge and wisdom in all things, to be compassionate and truthful, to care for the aged and infirm.   Far from these being a goal merely to aim for, the samurai was supposed to make himself a paragon, a figure for those of lesser class to look upon in wonder and reverence; a superior man through superior living, exemplifying all virtue in himself.

The principles of loyalty and sutemi combined produce the phenomenon of seppuku; ritual suicide.   Seppuku is a natural result of the principles and influences of Bushido, because as well as a way of living, Bushido was a way of dying.   The samurai who lived by Bushido did not fear death, and was supposed to die for his master if necessary.   He was also expected to maintain dignity and propriety, and his performance in all things would be seen as a measure of his master, his ancestors and his family.   Thus, a samurai's disgrace harmed far more people than merely the samurai, and seppuku was not a coward's flight from responsibility, but a shouldering of your own failure to spare those close to you.

The classic method of seppuku was hara-kiri (literally, belly-cutting).   The samurai would take his shoto - the shorter of his two swords - and draw it across his abdomen, disembowelling himself.   A second - usually a friend, comrade or retainer, would stand behind the samurai as he did this, and decapitate him with his daito (long sword).   Seppuku was traditionally practised only to avoid great disgrace, to atone for the failure to protect one's lord from death (suicide on the death of a samurai's lord was also called junshi) or as the ultimate form of protest against a superior's error.   In the latter case, disobedience to your superior would not be an option, because loyalty and obedience were so firmly ingrained in Bushido.   By committing seppuku, the samurai showed that he believed death to be preferable to following the superior's orders.   A samurai could also be ordered to commit seppuku as a death sentence.

Overview of Eastern Morality

By Jennifer Pagan

Eastern Morality is a big, vague term.   It cannot be divorced from the religions they come from.   The best ways to approach such a broad theme is by taking each philosophy and religion by itself and see how one thing connects to the other.   BUT, since Bushido is a code of ethics combined with another philosophy/religion (let it be Shinto or Zen, or another thing), and one TGS story already pointed out there's a Buddhist temple near the Japanese clan's village, we'll assume Yama's Bushido has strong Buddhism overtones.

However, that's not to say that other influential religions and philosophies (Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism and Zen) don't have a say in Bushido.   Bushido takes a lot of things from each one of these.   And, being a mix of so many different ideas, some things might contradict others.   Therefore, there are some points in which Yama (assuming that he more or less sympathizes with Buddhism teachings) would be likely to disagree.   It's our job to determine which points those might be.

Since Yama is theorized to have Buddhist overtones, let's start with Buddah.   In-depth explications follow.   Most of the information here is copy-pasted from several websites.   The websites are properly listed in the end of the page.

Buddhism

Buddhism has alternately been called a religion, a philosophy, an ideology and a way of life.   As with all the other great spiritual traditions that have withstood the test of time, Buddhism offers many different paths for people with different kinds of sensibilities, needs and capacities.

There are immutable core teachings expounded by the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, that create a collective wellspring for all forms of Buddhism.   Specifically, these are the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.   Yet these basic teachings have themselves been subject to interpretation and again have various flavors within different Buddhist cultures.

However, everybody agrees that Buddha's Four Noble Truths are:

  1. Life is suffering.
  2. All suffering is caused by ignorance.
  3. Suffering can be ended by overcoming ignorance and attachment.
  4. To suppress suffering Buddha recommended the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right contemplation.

There has never been, nor is there now, a central authority in Buddhism.   There is no equivalent to the Holy Father of the Roman Church or to anything that resembles papal law.   With no supreme arbitrator, the diversification of Buddhism has flourished.   But Buddah also left a few more points regarding morality, about things he saw as a no-no.

The Pancha Shila, or five moral precepts:

  1. Avoid killing, or harming any living thing.
  2. Avoid stealing -- taking what is not yours to take.
  3. Avoid sexual irresponsibility, which for monks and nuns means celibacy.
  4. Avoid lying, or any hurtful speech.
  5. Avoid alcohol and drugs which diminish clarity of consciousness.

To these, monks and nuns add...

  1. One simple meal a day, before noon.
  2. Avoid frivolous entertainments.
  3. Avoid self-adornment.
  4. Use a simple bed and seat.
  5. Avoid the use of money.

Full monastic life adds over two hundred more rules and regulations!

And then you have The Perfections or Virtues -- noble qualities that we should all strive to achieve.

  1. Generosity (P: dana)
  2. Moral discipline (P: sila)
  3. Patience and tolerance (P: khanti)
  4. Wisdom or (full-) consciousness (P: paa)
  5. Energy (P: viriya)
  6. Renunciation (P: nekkhamma)
  7. Truthfulness (P: sacca)
  8. Determination (P: adhitthana)
  9. Loving kindness (P: metta)
  10. Equanimity (P: upekkha)

Then he provides a lesson on friendship -- how to distinguish good friends from bad friends.   There are four types that are not really your friends, but will make your life miserable in the long run:

  1. The leech who appropriates your possessions
  2. The liar who manipulates you
  3. The boot-licker who flatters you
  4. The party-animal who encourages you to do the same

A good friend, on the other hand, is one who...

  1. is always ready to help you
  2. is steady and loyal
  3. provides good advice
  4. is sympathetic

But, of course, Bushido doesn't stop with Buddhism. Here are other philosophies/religions to keep in mind.

Shinto

Shinto was the earliest Japanese religion, its obscure beginnings dating back at least to the middle of the first millennium B.C.   Until approximately the sixth century A.D., when the Japanese began a period of rapid adoption of continental civilization, it existed as an amorphous mix of nature worship, fertility cults, divination techniques, hero worship, and shamanism.   Unlike Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam, it had no founder and it did not develop sacred scriptures, an explicit religious philosophy, or a specific moral code.   Indeed, so unself-conscious were the early Japanese about their religious life that they had no single term by which they could refer to it.   The word Shinto, or "the Way of the kami (gods or spirits)," came into use only after the sixth century, when the Japanese sought to distinguish their own tradition from the foreign religions of Buddhism and Confucianism that they were then encountering.   Thus, in its origins, Shinto was the religion of a pristine people who, above all, were sensitive to the spiritual forces that pervaded the world of nature in which they lived.   As one ancient chronicle reports: in their world myriad spirits shone like fireflies and every tree and bush could speak.

Buddhism and Shinto share a basic optimism about human nature, and for the world.   Within Shinto, the Buddha was viewed as another "Kami".   Meanwhile, Buddhism in Japan regarded the Kami as being manifestations of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.   Most weddings are performed by Shinto priests; funerals are performed by Buddhist priests.

Morality is based upon that which is of benefit to the group.   "Shinto emphasizes right practice, sensibility, and attitude."

There are "Four Affirmations" in Shinto:

Tradition and the family

The family is seen as the main mechanism by which traditions are preserved.   Their main celebrations relate to birth and marriage.

Love of nature

Nature is sacred; to be in contact with nature is to be close to the Gods.   Natural objects are worshipped as sacred spirits.

Physical cleanliness

Followers of Shinto take baths, wash their hands, and rinse out their mouth often.

"Matsuri"
The worship and honor given to the Kami and ancestral spirits.   The desire for peace, which was suppressed during World War II, has been restored.

Shinto does not have as fully developed a theology as do most other religions.   It does not have its own moral code.   Shintoists generally follow the code of Confucianism.

Confucianism

Founded by K'ung Fu Tzu (commonly pronounced Confucius in English).   He was born in 551 BCE in the state of Lu (modern day Shantung Province).   He lived during the Chou dynasty, and era known for its moral laxity.   Later in life, he wandered through many states of China, giving advice to their rulers.   He accumulated a small band of students during this time.   The last years of his life were spent back in Lu, where he devoted himself to teaching.   His writings deal primarily with individual morality and ethics, and the proper exercise of political power by the rulers.

Ethical values of Confucian philosophy have survived in modern Japan, and provide accepted standards of conduct in interpersonal relationships, and determine the citizen's sense of loyalty to government and Emperor.

Confucian ethical teachings include the following values:

Li
includes ritual, propriety, etiquette, etc.
Hsiao
love within the family: love of parents for their children and of children for their parents
Yi
righteousness
Xin
honesty and trustworthiness
Jen
benevolence, humaneness towards others; the highest Confucian virtue
Chung
loyalty to the state, etc.

Zen Buddhism

Zen is actually a part of Buddhism, but its objective is to communicate new life awareness.   Western culture is oriented primarily toward Being; Eastern culture, toward non-Being.   Being can be studied by objective logic.   Non-Being must be existentially understood; it is the principle of absolute negation that enables one to loosen bonds and turn toward limitlessness.

This culture of non-Being developed in the Far East with the points of emphasis differing from country to country.   In India it was pre dominantly intellectual and philosophical; in China, practical and down to earth; and in Japan, esthetic and emotional.   Zen linked up with these various cultural characteristics as it spread.   What then is Zen?

To define Zen is difficult.   To define is to limit to make a neat conceptual package that abstracts from the whole and gives only part of the picture.   The non-conceptual nature of Zen is apparent in the catch phrases that became popular in Sung China.   Zen trainees took their cues from such expressions as:

  1. "No dependence on words and letters";
  2. "A special transmission outside the classified teachings";
  3. "Direct pointing to the mind of man";
  4. "Seeing the mind is becoming the Buddha."

Zen is not bound by the words and letters of the sutras and satras.   It passes from mind to mind outside the classified and systematized doctrines.   It does not lean on the classified teachings.   It concentrates on penetrating to the inherent nature of man, and this is called becoming the Buddha.

Because modern man needs some sort of conceptual guideline to start out with, an effort to put Zen in sharper focus may serve a purpose.   In olden times some Zen masters responded to questions with: "Zen is Zen."   While terse and to the point, this definition hardly offers any help to modern seekers of Zen understanding.   Therefore, I venture to define Zen tentatively as follows: "Zen is a practice that helps man to penetrate to his true self through cross-legged sitting (zazen) and to vitalize this self in daily life."

This definition, of course, does not cover all of Zen.   But it does in dude the important elements.   The three basic points in the definition are:

  1. The practice of zazen.
  2. Penetrating to the true self.
  3. Vitalizing the true self in daily life.

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Brief Biographies of known members of the Japanese Clan and their allies

Japanese Clan

The Japanese Clan is a full clan, having more than 20 members.   Therefore, this is only a listing of members of the Japanese clan who have appeared in a modern story.

Kai

leader of the Ishimura clan.

Yama

betrayed the Japanese clan during the events of "Bushido" and exiled from the clan.   He is looking for a way to regain his honor to the Japanese clan.   He was mated to Sora.

Sora

Yama's mate.   She was killed during "The Darkest Hour."

Tairi

female.

Riko

female. second in commander of the Ishimura clan.

Washi

delegate from the Japanese clan to the Gargoyle World Council.

Acquaitances

The entire village of Ishimura is allied with the Japanese clan.   Here is a listing of known members of that village.

Hiroshi

member of the village

Kino

member of the village

Yanagi

member of the village

Taro

a corrupt businessman.   Grew up in Ishimura, Japan.   Later he returned when he was a businessman.   He paid for the construction of the Gargoyles Theme Park in Japan.   He attempted to capture the entire Japanese clan to sell tickets to see them, but failed.   To pay for his debts, he sold his Gargoyles Theme Park to David Xanatos.   Later, he made a deal with Japanese organized crime to set up a similiar park in NYC by capturing the Manhattan clan.   That attempt failed and Japanese organized crime severed connections with him.

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References

Stories

Gargoyles

TGS

Documents

Web Sites

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