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  • It's just after sunrise, and 16-year-old Mori Banshirô

  • is already hard at work practicing drills with his long sword.

  • Banshirô is an ambitious samurai in training,

  • and today he must impress his teachers more than ever.

  • Today he'll make his request to travel to the capital city of Edo

  • for a year of martial and scholarly studies,

  • and he needs their support, along with his father's.

  • The year is 1800 in the castle town ofchi,

  • capital of the Tosa domain in Japan.

  • The daimyo rules the domain, and about 1,500 samurai retainers serve him.

  • For 200 years, Japan has been at peace,

  • and the samurai, once primarily warriors, now play a much wider range of roles

  • they are also government officials,

  • scholars,

  • teachers,

  • and even masters of the tea ceremony

  • or artists.

  • To prepare for these diverse responsibilities,

  • young samurai like Banshirô study thetwin paths

  • of literary learning and the martial arts.

  • At 15, he went through the rites of adulthood and received the daishô—

  • a pair of swords.

  • The long sword is for training and combat,

  • while the short sword has a sole, solemn purpose

  • to commit ritual suicide, or seppuku,

  • if he dishonors himself, his family, or the daimyo.

  • Banshirô idolizes the legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi,

  • a renowned swordsman who lived 150 years earlier.

  • But Banshirô doesn't admire his swordsmanship alone.

  • Miyamoto Musashi was also a master calligrapher and painter.

  • That's the real reason Banshirô wants to go to Edo

  • he secretly wants to be a painter, too.

  • After finishing his practice at home, he bids his father goodbye

  • and walks to school.

  • His father is preparing to accompany the daimyo to the capital.

  • The Tokugawa shogun, head of the Japanese military government,

  • requires all the regional rulers to alternate years

  • between their castle town in the home domain and the capital city.

  • The costly treks back and forth keep the daimyo subordinate

  • and prevent them from building up their own military forces

  • to challenge the shogunate.

  • The daimyo's wife and children live in the capital full time,

  • where they serve as hostages to ensure his loyalty.

  • But the practice doesn't just affect the daimyo

  • it determines much of the rhythm of life in Japan.

  • Samurai must accompany the daimyo to Edo.

  • This year it's Banshirô's father's turn to go,

  • and Banshirô is desperate to go with him;

  • but given that he's still in training, he'll need permission

  • from both his father and the domain.

  • At school, Banshirô's first lesson is in swordfighting.

  • Under his teacher's stern eye, he pairs up with his classmates

  • and goes through the routines he's been practicing.

  • At the end of the lesson, he reminds the instructor of his request to go to Edo.

  • The instructor cracks his first smile of the day,

  • and Banshirô feels confident he will gain his support.

  • Next, Banshirô practices archery, horsemanship, and swimming

  • before his academic courses in the afternoon.

  • Courses cover Confucian philosophy, morality, and history.

  • When the instructor calls on him, he has the response on the tip of his tongue,

  • ensuring another supporter for his campaign.

  • By the end of the day, Banshirô feels confident that his formal request

  • will be approved, but the greatest challenge is still ahead of him:

  • convincing his father.

  • His father believes the martial arts are more important than the literary arts,

  • so Banshirô doesn't mention his artistic ambitions.

  • Instead, he talks about renowned sword instructors he can train with,

  • and teaching certifications he can earn to improve his professional prospects

  • back inchi.

  • Then, he makes his final, strongest argument:

  • if he goes this time and succeeds, his father can retire and send him instead

  • in the future.

  • It's this last point that finally sells him

  • Banshirô's father agrees to take him on his tour of duty.

  • In the bustle of the capital city, Banshirô will finally have the opportunity

  • to pursue his secret ambition to become a painter.

It's just after sunrise, and 16-year-old Mori Banshirô


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B1 中級

十代の侍の一日 - コンスタンティン・N・ヴァポリス (A day in the life of a teenage samurai - Constantine N. Vaporis)

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    hellojacktom に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日