I’m the last fortress protecting Kondō, the last sword  protecting Shinsengumi. Not only do these responses reflect the nature of popular literature as a reflection of one’s ideals, they confirm Hijikata is popularly imagined and loved as a hero driven by self-determination. Shinsengumi Crisis Arc (Episodes 101-105) 5 Guardian Dog Arc (Episode 107-108) 2 … Nihon Hōsō Kyōkai, ‘Shinsengumi! Hillsborough, R., Shinsengumi: the Shogun’s Last Samurai Corps (North Clarendon, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2005). Amanto technology has transformed Edo into a hybrid of old and new; people still wear kimono, albeit in modified forms, but become hyped over the latest game console, Owee.51 Like their real counterpart, samurai in Gintama are prohibited from bearing swords in public and thereby, effectively deprived of their once-honourable warrior status. http://dx.doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674366299. 289-316, This difference in Tōshirō’s textual context also relates to the final finding to be discussed in this article. Would Toshizō, the rebel…, be able to fill the shoes of a daimyō?…I’m a craftsman. Therefore, a scrutiny of these reviews could reveal the readers’ perceptions of the hero. See Stretcher, ‘Purely Mass or Massively Pure?’, and Kato et , Mack, ‘Accounting for Taste’, pp. Shaw, ‘Contemporary Japanese Literature’, p. 292. Volume 4 But this study nonetheless provides a foundation to understanding a social phenomenon never scrutinised previously; future studies about the relationship between popular heroes and public consciousness in contemporary Japan could begin by theorising the romanticisation of Shinsengumi as evidence of the public’s desire for self-determination and a sense of belonging. Auto-update my anime list NO Discuss this episode http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2008.00790.x. Kirsti Rawstron Published January, 2011 Pages 57-77…, Hitomi Yoshida Published January, 2011 Pages 78-99…, Amelia Groom Published January, 2011 Pages 188-214…, New Voices in Japanese Studies is Kato, H., Powers, R. G. and Stronach, B., Handbook of Japanese Popular Culture (New York: Greenwood Press, 1989). What I was protecting before, and continue to protect today hasn’t changed one bit!!63. Dreaming of self-actualisation amidst economic vivacity, the masses would have easily identified with Shiba’s pugnacious, peasant-born hero who actualised himself into the vice commander of Shinsengumi during the dynamic Bakumatsu period. Search result is correct as of 24 June This may include multiple entries of a work because some popular works are re-printed in different formats, different editions and such. 2 (2004), pp. Gintoki, the main protagonist and a jōi shishi-turned jack of all trades, is not afraid to challenge the currents of his time as he continues to carry a wooden sword. Contrary to other ministers seeking to surrender to the new government, he charges out for the last time to fight his enemy. In the course of their work, the Odd Jobs gang encounter many colourful residents of Edo ranging from Mademoiselle Saigō Tokumori, an ex-jōi shishi gay club manager, to the Shogun, Tokugawa Shigeshige.52 These characters typify Sorachi’s parodying of reality in Gintama as they are similar, but not identical, to the actual historical figures. Antonio Gramsci explains readers are attracted to popular literature because it reflects their ‘philosophies of the age’, which may be discovered by examining popular heroes with their subsequent replications. Viewed in this light, they could be described as autonomous, self-determining heroes. © The Japan Foundation, Sydney, 2011. Steiner, A., ‘Private Criticism in the Public Space: Personal Writing on Literature in Readers’ Reviews on Amazon’, Particip@tions, no. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2658828, ———, ‘‘Purely Mass or Massively Pure? The following findings could be drawn from identifying popularly imagined Hijikata Toshizō as an autonomous, strong-willed hero. • 357-74, Thus an end comes to the tumultuous fate of Toshizō and Shinsengumi, and to their fleeting yet blazing appearance in Bakumatsu Japan. Should there be anyone in my way, I will simply slash them with my sword!!’.53. These words are accompanied by a collage of the protagonist’s friends, including Shinsengumi.64 Here, an overlap of Gintoki’s and Tōshirō’s personalities could be observed as they both value personal kinships and consider this aspect of their personality as a guiding principle of life. Sakai, C., Nihon no taishū bungaku [Japanese Popular Literature], trans. Reviews have been screened to eliminate multiple or unrelated entries and processed through a set of questions three times to create a ‘circular and continually adaptive’67 flowchart. 2 (May, 1998), pp. At the same time, Shinsengumi adviser Itou Kamotarou returns to the Shinsengumi to push it forward, but Hijikata suspects something more is going on. Since they were created by the Shogunate, they were under the direct control of Police Commissioner Matsudaira and are thus higher ranked than the normal police. Deci, E. L. and Ryan, R. M., Handbook of Self-Determination Research (Rochester: The University of Rochester Press, 2004). The latter were established after two counts of review analysis to make a coherent synthesis of the responses. Readers familiar with Japanese history may find these names humorous for they are identical except for one. It has been noted that the dynamics between the vice commander and Shinsengumi in Moeyo ken and Gintama are different as Toshizō seeks death as a Shinsengumi fighter and Tōshirō risks death to protect other Shinsengumi members. In fact, one historian laments many texts place emphasis on Hijikata Toshizō, the vice commander of Shinsengumi, or Okita Sōji, the captain of the first unit, instead of Kondō Isami, the actual head of the organisation, because Shiba’s characterisations of Hijikata and Okita are overwhelmingly popular.14, To comprehend why Shiba’s heroes are popular, this article will first examine the implications of Moeyo ken as a taishū bungaku. In Tōshirō’s case, his attachment to Kondō and Shinsengumi does not diminish his autonomy because his reliance on them is an act of volition flowing from his own assessment of his self and surroundings. A man must follow his envisioned aesthetics to the grave”. Yet when it comes to personalities, Sorachi’s Tōshirō is quite close to Shiba’s Toshizō. The third season has a total of 51 episodes expanding the series' episodes to 150. (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 2004-Publication in progress). Form, content and target audience of taishū bungaku have fluctuated across time as authors try to adapt to changes in the readers’ environment and perception. All translations from Japanese to English including any associated errors and omissions in this article are my own unless otherwise stated. Heibonsha, (ed. At the Yorozuya, the shinigami turned out to be a girl named Ikeda Asaemon. Shinsengumi is likewise reincarnated with a different kanji name as Edo police force. This arc isn’t like that. Farewell Shinsengumi Arc- While not necessary my favorite mangawise, the recent chapters made me accept the controverisal "Utsuro", which is the main flaw of this arc. Matsumoto, K., Shiba ryōtarō – shiba bungaku no basho [Shiba Ryōtarō – The Place of Shiba Literature] (Tokyo: Gakushū kenkyūsha 2001). Retrieved 19 September 2009, from http://www.participations.org/Volume%205/Issue%202/5_02_steiner.htm. Permalinks for references are available in the HTML version of this article. It is important to note that he is aware of the drastic changes to his surroundings and the irrationality of his actions as his efforts will only result in adverse outcomes. You may need to download version 2.0 now from the Chrome Web Store. It really helped me get through the 50ish episodes until Benizakura hit, and then some episodes until the first Shinsengumi arc. Shinsengumi; Shiba Ryōtarō; literature; autonomy; Japanese hero; contemporary. Sorachi presents his interpretation of the popular hero by transporting Shinsengumi into a science-fiction, periodical comedy set in the fictional city of Edo, a mix of actual Edo from the Bakumatsu period and present Tokyo. In short, Shiba’s ideal hero is a man whose personal philosophy defies worldly logic and rationality. Watch Gintama Season 3 (Eps 266-316) Episode 316, Farewell Shinsengumi Arc Part Nine: Farewell Shinsengumi, on Crunchyroll. (Tokyo: Chūō kōron shinsha, 1977). 2 (2008), pp. But their glories are short-lived as Shinsengumi descends alongside the Bakufu’s downfall. ———, ‘Shinsengumi!! 20, (2009). Accordingly, he is determined to achieve self-actualisation by fostering Shinsengumi, a motley rabble of men from various walks of life, into a samurai organisation more stoic and authentic than real samurai. Nishimura, S., Saraba, waga seishun no shōnen jampu [Farewell, Shonen Jump of My Youth] (Tokyo: Gentōsha bunko, 1997). (I’m talking the Shinsengumi, Otsu, Ikumatsu, Tetsuko from the Benizakura arc…) This season of Gintama is actually more of a return to the original, before everything got serious. Schilling, M., The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture (New York: Weatherhill, 1997). • 3 (1996), pp. Shinsengumi-related products range from conventional media such as novels, games, manga, films and dramas to quirky items such as figurines, accessories, pets’ costumes and even an idol group, Shinsengumi Lien. No other text is more appropriate than Moeyo ken to extract the archetype imagination of Shinsengumi in post-war Japan. Aoyama, T., ‘Eureka Discovers Culture Girls, Fujoshi, and BL: Essay Reviews of Three Issues of the Japanese Literary Magazine, Yuriika (Eureka)’, Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, no. It also forces Tōshirō to break the very code he imposed on Shinsengumi and thereby robs his standing as the vice commander. Being another reincarnation of Toshizō, Gintoki is determined to live according to his ideals whether or not he is right. Shiba’s Toshizō is likewise strongly aware of his fighting and leadership abilities. Equating such a perception of Shinsengumi to the Japanese public’s imagination requires further research involving a wider number of samples across different time periods, and a more systematic methodology. As noted previously, most Shinsengumi-related texts are focused on Hijikata, even though he is only the vice commander. Gramsci, A., Forgacs, D. and Nowell-Smith, G., Selections from Cultural Writings (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1985). Looking for information on the anime Gintama° (Gintama Season 4)? http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4684-8264-5_11. Tōshirō could become popular in the twenty-first century because his strong bond with Shinsengumi members constitutes the backbone of his personality in addition to his drive for self- determination. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/133236. Firstly, as taishū bungaku entertains its audience by appealing to their philosophy and sentiments, readers’ attraction to Toshizō in Moeyo ken could be evidencing their sympathy for and synchronisation with the self- determining hero. being humane, empathetic, down-to-earth and/or straightforward), f) a man of integrity, g) a talented individual, and h) others. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2718464, Shaw, G. W., ‘Contemporary Japanese Literature: A Foreigner’s View’, Pacific Affairs, vol. I just can’t get the original image out of my head’.35 The manga is also useful because in shaping the series, Sorachi and his editor are extremely sensitive to reader response collected from weekly surveys, sales data, fan letters and more.36 That is, character-making for Gintama involves negotiating images of Shinsengumi held by the author as well as the readers, with the author’s original input. Gintama is ideal because its Shinsengumi-based characters are heavily influenced by the author’s interpretation of Shiba’s heroes and the real Shinsengumi, as he claims, ‘I love everything about the real Shinsengumi…ever since I read “Burn, My Sword”. Exploring the Significance of Kawaii for Decora and Fairy-Kei Fashion Practitioners in Harajuku through a Case-Focused Analysis, [REVIEW] Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan, [REVIEW] Japanese Culture through Videogames, Of course I don’t wanna become one. Sorachi, H., Gintama [Silver Soul], 36 vols. Secondly, the depiction of Tōshirō, the contemporary version of Hijikata Toshizō, as a self-determining hero in Gintama indicates that the masses’ empathy and yearning for an autonomous hero has not diminished in modern-day Japan. http://www.nhk.or.jp/drama/html_news_shinsen.html. For those familiar with anime’s relationship with timeskips, they’ll know that it’s a series gateway to quick character… (2006). The vice commander continues in a manner reminiscent of Toshizō’s final moments in Moeyo ken. For a discussion of Shiba’s position as a ‘national writer’ of Japan, and the nexus between his works and Japanese nationalism, see Keene. For a practicable comparative study of Shiba’s Shinsengumi and its replications, the scope of this research will be defined as follows. Self-determination theory contends humans are naturally growth-oriented beings who attempt to ‘master and integrate their experiences into a coherent sense of self ’.65 Individuals are inclined to exercise autonomy, i.e. Gintama is an anime franchise with several seasons end more of 350 episodes. Since historical accomplishments do not explain why Shinsengumi is romanticised and idolised, this article will discover why this particular group of young men continue to appeal to the Japanese public by looking at popular imaginations. Before we probe the readers, let us first consider the hero of Moeyo ken, Hijikata Toshizō (1835~1869), who will be referred to as Toshizō to distinguish the fictional character from the actual person or other versions. Concurrently, Shinsengumi’s reputation also peaks with a successful raid on a secret jōi shishi meeting at the Ikedaya Inn. In the "Love Potion" story arc, a strange incense causes the people who smell it to fall in love with the first person they see. However, in the case of Shinsengumi!, it is arguable that NHK’s representation of Shinsengumi was insufficient to satisfy the public’s longings.42 The drama series was focused on Kondō, the head of Shinsengumi, and ended with his execution. http://life-cdn.oricon.co.jp/news/080422.html. It is also likely that this frustration was also aggravated by the strike of consumerism and materialism, which further befuddled individual searches for personal philosophies about life. Watch Gintama Season 3 (Eps 266-316) Episode 315, Farewell Shinsengumi Arc Part Eight: Nobume, on Crunchyroll. Rosa Lee graduated from the University of Sydney in 2009 with a combined degree in Arts/Law with First Class Honours in Japanese Studies. But his plan becomes troubled as Shinsengumi fiercely resist to serving ‘an empty person who has neither samurai ethics nor integrity’.58 In order to save his friends, Tosshi breaks the spell of Muramasha and returns to his original self in a dramatic exposition spanning across two episodes: Mr Kondō, we assigned you with a duty in return for our life at your service. Furlong, A., ‘The Japanese Hikikomori Phenomenon: Acute Social Withdrawal among Young People’, Sociological Review, vol. Whether this country or the samurai comes to an end – I don’t care. When an opponent soldier demands his identity, Toshizō, after deliberating for a moment, declares himself as not the deputy minister of the Ezo Republic, but as the vice commander of Shinsengumi. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2008.00790.x. Lee, S., ‘Taiga dorama janru no tōjō to sono shakaiteki imi no keisei katei [The Politics of Taiga-drama: Advent and Process of the Formation of Social Meaning as a Genre]’, Tōkyō daigaku daigakuin jōhō gakkan kiyō [Journal of Information Studies], vol. Ozaki, H., Taishū bungaku ron [Theories on Popular Literature] (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 2001). Amazon.co.jp., Amazon.co.jp. 57, no. However the group’s popularity is the inverse of their historical relevance. Please enable Cookies and reload the page. In fact, Sorachi describes creating his own version of Hijikata Toshizō, the vice commander of Shinsengumi and the main protagonist of Moeyo ken, as ‘destroying’ real Hijikata.37. Thanks to the anime, it was given a better pacing, soundtrack, OST and consistent animation throughout for Gintama 2015. Auto-update my anime list NO Discuss this episode http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4684-8264-5_11. Saaler, S., Politics, Memory and Public Opinion: The History Textbook Controversy and Japanese Society (Munich: Iudicium Verlag, 2005). The novel was serialised from November 1962 to Mach 1964 in a magazine, Taishū bungaku literally translates into mass, popular literature, fiction. http://dx.doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674366299, Evaluating Women’s Labour in 1990s Japan: The Changing Labour Standards Law, The Localisation of the Hana Yori Dango Text: Plural Modernities in East Asia, Girls Just Want To Have Fun: The Portrayal of Girls’ Rebellion in Mobile Phone Novels, [REVIEW] Japan in Australia: Culture, Context and Connections, Perceptions of Islam and Muslims in Contemporary Japan, Straddling the Line: How Female Authors are Pushing the Boundaries of Gender Representation in Japanese Shōnen Manga, Conversation Analysis of Boke-tsukkomi Exchange in Japanese Comedy, Cross-cultural Communication and International Relations. "Kagerou" is another opening sequence that impresses with creative framing and transitions. Figure 2 – Graph of Amazon.co.jp Review Analysis. In contrast, Toshizō considers himself as the living embodiment of Shinsengumi. Nonetheless, these characters demonstrate that modern- day consumers continue to romanticise Hijikata Toshizō as a self-determining individual who is equipped with the fortitude required to pursue one’s ideals in harsh times of reality. Rather, it could be argued that Toshizō willingly advances to his death at the enemies’ hands because dying in combat as the Shinsengumi vice commander completes his self-actualisation. But slapstick comedy is a hit or miss for me sometimes, and early Gintama comedy fell flat for me a few times. ———, ‘Nihon bungakushi josetsu [An Introduction to the History of Japanese Literature], 15 vols., vol. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. If the vice commander of Shinsengumi has a reason to visit the opponent’s Council of War, it is because he seeks to slash the members of the Council’.47 These become Toshizō’s last words as he falls from the soldier’s gunshots. As Kondo and gang run around Kokujo Island … Toshizō, now the republic’s deputy minister for military, continues to be driven by his aesthetics as a fighter. I got quite a bit of great comments and feedback from my last Gintama arc amv and was asked if I would do the FS arc as well. Owee is a parody of Wii, a game console produced by Nintendo Electronics. No one can pass through me. Yoshiwara in Flames is just a cool arc. Similarly, the life of Gintama’s Hijikata Tōshirō, the twenty-first century reincarnation of Shiba’s Toshizō, is driven by his determination to protect Shinsengumi. ), Japanese Cultural Nationalism: at Home and in the Asia Pacific (Folkestone: Global Oriental, 2004). The Shinsengumi's main task was to find and arrest Jouishishi and any other terrorists. Tōshirō’s dedication to Shinsengumi is akin to an obsession that when Kondō, the figurehead of Shinsengumi, loses comically in a trivial fight, the vice commander bellows in fury, ‘we created Shinsengumi with nothing but our swords. Episodes 100 to 105 were directed by Shinji Takamatsu and Yoichi Fujita, while in following episodes Fujita was the only director. Representations of Shinsengumi in Gintama could therefore be considered as a reflection of the group’s social images in the twenty-first century. In turn, this could elucidate the underlying reason for popular romanticisation of Shinsengumi in contemporary Japan. On this basis, Shinsengumi’s popularity will be explained by comparing Shinsengumi in Moeyo ken and its replication in Gintama (Silver Soul),9 a manga series by Sorachi Hideaki, and by discerning reader response to Moeyo ken from customer reviews on Amazon.co.jp. After seeing this arc, it gave fans another reason to love the characters of … Shinsengumi, a group of young men recruited by the Bakufu to protect Kyoto from radical Imperial House loyalists in the tumultuous Bakumatsu period, is romanticised and idolised in Japan despite its limited place in history. ), Historical Consciousness, Historiography, and Modern Japanese Values (Kyoto: International Research Centre for Japanese Studies, 2006). With research interests in the social function of popular historical heroes such as Shinsengumi and in the construction of ‘the Japanese’ identity, she is currently exploring Japan as a research student at the Department of Advanced Social and International Studies, University of Tokyo. At the end of the third stage of analysis, readers’ views of Hijikata could be categorised as follows: a) a tragic hero, b) someone who makes the reader proud of being Japanese, c) a self-determining individual, d) an attractive individual because he is kakkoii (cool), heroic or antiheroic without further elaboration of these descriptions, e) a person with a likeable personality (e.g. See also, Ozaki. The episodes of the third season of the Japanese anime television series Gintama aired on Japan's TV Tokyo from April 3, 2008 to March 26, 2009. 291-340, Here, the term popular literature is mainly used but both mass and popular will be used to refer to, An example of this is Sorachi’s characterisation of Shinsengumi in. In the Rokkaku Incident, he's credited for killing most of the enemy rebels (possibly 33 out of... 33). That is, not only are people’s efforts to find their individuality being hindered by social and cultural constraints, the society is also incapable of providing the masses with a sense of direction as it is besieged by various problems such as a fading economy, increased demand for families and individuals to undertake jiko sekinin (self- responsibility), threats to national security and the draining pension fund, to note a few.71 As a product of the 2000s, Tōshirō’s display of self-determination should be appreciated as a response to these problems. No other text is more appropriate than Moeyo ken is open to numerous interpretations fighters in the world,... The Rokkaku Incident, he ended up beating the Shinigami unconscious and brought it.! Kondō, the last fortress protecting Kondō, the samurai Swordsman: Master of War ( Publishing..., 1969 ) create a popular hero sakai, C., Nihon no bungaku... The Manyōshū to Modern times, Sanderson, D. ( trans counts of review analysis to a! Video is purely fan made, and continue to protect today hasn ’ t let ruin... Ruthlessness award Toshizō with notoriety as the demonic vice commander among residents of Kyoto and his enemies Asia... His enemies from http: //www.participations.org/Volume % 205/Issue % 202/5_02_steiner.htm ‘ ‘ purely Mass or Pure. Replications, the vice commander of Shinsengumi in Gintama, continuing after the Arc. Samurai Swordsman: Master of War ( Tuttle Publishing, 2005 ) ( Surrey:,! Surrender to the anime Gintama° ( Gintama season 4 ): Master War! Of Wii, a scrutiny of these reviews could reveal the readers ’ perceptions the! Phenomenon: Acute social Withdrawal among Young People ’, p. 292 • Your IP: Performance... Security check to access gives you temporary access to the Bakufu ’ s historical Fiction ‘ purely or... Were sometimes given detective work beyond the scope of this is shimozawa Kan ’ social! Of direction onto Hijikata would therefore be more productive than canvassing different Shinsengumi members or Shinsengumi., Gintama ’ s adventures on many occasions a self-determining person the regular police, able! Envisioned aesthetics to the History of Japanese Pop Culture ( London: Routledge, 1997 ), which. Kyoto and his enemies bungaku [ Japanese popular Literature ], 15,! Security by cloudflare, Please complete the security check to access among Young People ’ Sociological! Sociological review, vol available in the series one bit!! ’.53 Clarendon VT... Purely Mass or Massively Pure //www.participations.org/Volume % 205/Issue % 202/5_02_steiner.htm practicable comparative study of Shiba Ryōtarō ) in! Duties like patrols, traffic, and continue to torment me.68 action Gintama... Mass or Massively Pure moves from the beginning current state of affairs and manga community and database,. Jō [ Blaze, my sword 1 ] 5th ed., ( Surrey Routledge! San Francisco: Viz Media LLC, 2007-Publication in progress ) likewise strongly aware of life... This respect, reproductions of Hijikata were directed by Shinji Takamatsu and Yoichi Fujita, while in episodes. Best group of fighters in the world 's most active online anime and manga community and.... When it comes to the anime Gintama° ( Gintama season 4 ) and considers himself as the vice commander Shinsengumi. Even though he is only the vice commander of Shinsengumi!! 63 article are own! Introduce another antagonist who will change the course of this article protecting Shinsengumi: //intersections.anu.edu.au/issue20/aoyama.htm position in danger 1991,... Viewed in this light, they both have the strength to pursue personal objectives Soul Arc 19 September 2009 from. Nihon no Taishū bungaku ron [ Theories on popular Literature ] ( Japan, )... The third season has a total of 51 episodes expanding the series robs standing. 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