May 01, 2014

Poseidon of the East (17)


Seioubo, "Queen Mother of the West," translates literally as "west + queen + mother" (西王母).

The Taira were defeated by the Minamoto at the naval battle of Dan no Ura in 1185. This brought an end to the Genpei War, after which the emperor was little more than the shogun's puppet for the next seven hundred years.

The Ouchi clan reached the apex of its power during the reign of the Ashikaga shogunate. Serpent of Time takes place following Ouchi Yoshihiro's failed revolt against the Ashikaga at the end of the 14th century.

The status of the second brother is unclear. Most likely he was a "hostage." This exchanging of family members as "insurance" was common practice during the Warring States period. When warlords came to blows, the hostages were often the first the pay the price.

With the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate, the exchange of hostages was formalized as the sankin koutai ("alternate attendance") system, according to which governors had to leave their families behind in Edo whenever they returned to the provinces.

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