June 05, 2014
Poseidon of the East (22)
This year's Japan Booksellers Award went to Murakami Kaizoku no Musume ("Daughter of the Murakami Pirates") by Ryo Wada. The novel takes place a century after the events described here, when the three Murakami pirate clans faced off against the warlord Oda Nobunaga.
After the assassination of Oda Nobunaga, the Kurushima clan sided with Nobunaga's successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, triggering a four century-long family feud.
These Inland Sea pirates were more like seafaring organized crime families than the "Blackbeard" sort. Besides their legitimate businesses, they controlled key sea routes and took a cut of the action (legal and illegal), offered "protection," and rented out their "services."
Describing the territory of the Komatsu clan, Shouryuu uses the colloquial expression, "the size of a cat's forehead" (neko no hitai), meaning a small, cramped space.