The Journal of Japanese Studies

 

Abstract

DAVID SPAFFORD
An Apology of Betrayal:
Political and Narrative Strategies in a Late Medieval Memoir

The first in English to investigate eastern Japan in the fifteenth century, this study analyzes a memoir, Shōin shigo, and its account of an incident of familial strife that shook the Kanto in 1495. The memoir subtly recasts the clash between lord and vassal to defuse allegations of disloyalty and betrayal, affording us in the process an unusually close view of the personal ties that drove political relations. Casting aside the stereotype of the opportunistic and self-serving warrior (canonized in the Edo period), this essay argues that the memoir represents an imaginative attempt to recast the “warrior house” in ways that transcended blood ties.

Volume 35, Number 2 (Summer 2009)
© 2009 Society for Japanese Studies


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