Azumi - A-M glossary v22.6

Up to Azumi v22c06. In order to avoid spoilers, read the chapters FIRST and THEN come here.

A

ACHA-NO-TSUBONE (阿茶の局, 1555 - 1638): former wife of Kamio, the retainer of Imagawa. Ieyasu summoned her at his castle when she became a widow in 1578 and made her Matron of the Ladies-in-Waiting. In 1621, when Ieyasu's niece, Hidetada's daughter, became Emperor Go-Mizu-no-O consort, she went with her. She was an influent lady who had a lot of power both over Ieyasu and his son. And, obviously, she was Ieyasu's concubine.

AKECHI MITSUHIDE (明智光秀, 1528? – July 2, 1582): nicknamed Jūbei or called Koretō Hyūga no Kami (惟任日向守) from his clan name and title, was a samurai who lived during the Sengoku period of Feudal Japan. Mitsuhide was a general under daimyo Oda Nobunaga, although he became infamous for his betrayal in 1582, which led to Nobunaga's death at Honnōji. See more information on wikipedia.

AMAGI (あまぎ): one of the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. During the trial he fights against Komoro and kills him.

ANPUKUJI (安福寺): a buddhist temple in Kyōto Prefecture, Kizugawa City, Kizu Miyanoura.

ASANO NAGAMASA (浅野長政, 1546 – May 29, 1611): he was the brother-in-law of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and one of his chief advisors. Asano also fought for Hideyoshi in a number of campaigns during the Sengoku period of the 16th century of Japan. Asano accompanied Hideyoshi in his campaign against the Mōri clan, and fought in Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea. He also fought for Hideyoshi against the Hōjō clan in 1590 and captured Iwatsuki and Edo castles. Asano was also appointed by Hideyoshi to a Commission of Five (Go-Bugyō) along with Ishida Mitsunari, Maeda Gen'i, Mashita Nagamori and Natsuka Masaie. Asano held seniority over the Commissioners, who were charged with governing the capital of Kyoto and the Home Provinces or Kinai. A close advisor to Hideyoshi, Asano devised the land survey and a number of other policies enacted under his rule. In 1598, Hideyoshi's invasions were coming to an end, and Asano was sent to Korea with his fellow Commissioner Ishida Mitsunari to arrange for Japanese withdrawal. Asano was assured by the generals that the war was going well, and that they were on the verge of victory. Ishida disagreed, however, and supported withdrawal from Korea. Returning to Japan, daimyō (feudal lords) from across the country became involved in the debate, and the disagreement grew into a major governmental rift. The Go-Bugyō disbanded soon afterwards, having already been replaced by the Council of Five Elders (Tairō) by Hideyoshi before his death. Nagamasa was succeeded by his son Asano Yoshinaga. In “Azumi” he gets assassinated by Azumi herself under disguise during a martial arts contest.

ASHURA (阿修羅 jp, Asura in sanskrit): in Hinduism, the Asuras (Sanskrit: असुर, sanskrit ásu - "life force". Compare: Æsir. Also see: Ahura Mazda) are non-suras, a different group of power-seeking deities besides the suras, sometimes considered naturalists, or nature-beings, in constant battle with the Devas. See wikipedia for more information.

AWA (あわ): one of the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. During the trial he fights against Hyūga and dies. He wields two swords.

AZAI NAGAMASA (浅井長政, 1545 – August 28, 1573) was a daimyo during the Sengoku period of Japan. His clan, the Azai, were located in northern Ōmi Province, east of Lake Biwa. He was both the brother-in-law of Oda Nobunaga, starting in 1564, and one of Nobunaga's enemies from 1570-1573. Nagamasa and his clan were utterly destroyed by Oda Nobunaga in August 1573. Major battles of Azai Nagamasa include the battle of Anegawa in 1570 and the many sieges of Odani castle between 1570 and 1573. Azai Nagamasa was the son of Azai Hisamasa, from whom he inherited clan leadership in 1560. Hisamasa had been compelled to step down by many of his retainers in favor of his son, Nagamasa. Hisamasa retired, and would later commit suicide along with his son in August 1573. Nagamasa successfully battled both Rokkaku Yoshitaka and Saitō Tatsuoki between 1560 and 1564. He is remembered as being a capable commander of troops on the battlefield. He married Oda Nobunaga's sister Oichi in 1564. Nobunaga desired peaceful relations with the Azai clan because of their strategic position in between Oda clan land's and the capitol, Kyoto. See wikipedia for more information.

AZUCHI-MOMOYAMA PERIOD (安土桃山時代): or the Shokuho period at the end of the Warring States Period (also known as Sengoku period) in Japan, when the political unification that preceded the establishment of theTokugawa shogunate took place. It spans the years from approximately 1573 to 1603, during which time Oda Nobunaga and his successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, imposed order upon the chaos that had pervaded since the collapse of the Ashikaga Shogunate. Although a start date of 1573 is often given, in more broad terms, this period begins with Nobunaga's entry into Kyoto in 1568, when he led his army to the imperial capital in order to install Ashikaga Yoshiaki as the 15th, and ultimately final, shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate, and lasts until the coming to power of Tokugawa Ieyasu after his victory over supporters of the Toyotomi clan at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. During this period, a short but spectacular epoch, Japanese society and culture underwent the transition from the medival era to the early modern era. The name of this period is taken from Nobunaga's castle, Azuchi Castle, in the present-day town of Azuchi, Shiga Prefecture and Hideyoshi's castle, Momoyama Castle (also known as Fushimi Castle), in Kyoto. See wikipedia for more in-depht information.

AZUMI (あずみ): our female protagonist. The most lethal and skilled among one the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. During the trial she fights against Nachi and, even though she loves him, she kills him. She doesn't know she's a woman at the beginning. She talks in a manly way. She carries out missions from grampa, killing Asano, Kiyomasa's body double, Kiyomasa himself, Hyoue and two of the Sajiki brothers in the process. Caught inside Ōsaka Castle she's forced to fight Ukiha and ends up killing him. Using a trick she makes her escape from the castle and she's assigned a new mission with grampa and Hyuuga. Before going on their next mission though, Bijomaru, an assassin sent from Sanada Yukimura, manages to kill Hyuuga and wound grampa seriously. Azumi arrives just right on time to save grampa and kill Bijomaru.

B

BAN SAKON (伴左近): one of the rounin employed to escort grampa. It seems Miyamoto Musashi feared him and avoided a duel with him and his friend Harima Kojirō. He's killed by Azumi in the blink of an eye.

BATEREN (伴天連): christian missionaries (from the Portuguese word padre, "father").

BISHAMONTEN (毘沙門天): he is the boss of a band of rounin who invaded and occupied a post town and continues doing pillages and violences. The name is probabaly not his real one but just a very strong name for a “boss” like him. Bishamonten is the Japanese equivalent of Vaiśravaṇa, the chief of the Four Heavenly Kings and a prominent figure of Buddhism.

BIZEN (備前): was a province of Japan on the Inland Sea side of Honshū, in what is today the southeastern part of Okayama Prefecture. It was sometimes called Bishū (備州), with Bitchū and Bingo Provinces. Bizen borders Mimasaka, Harima, and Bitchū Provinces. Bizen's original center was in the modern city of Okayama. From an early time Bizen was one of Japan's main centers for sword smithing.

BIZEN'YA TOKUBEE (備前屋徳兵衛): a wealthy merchant who gives hospitality to Kiyomasa and Kanbee during their journey back to Kumamoto.

BODHISATTVA: in Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened (bodhi) existence (sattva) or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one (satva) for enlightenment (bodhi)." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being,"although in modern publications, and especially in tantric works, this is more commonly reserved for the term jñānasattva ("awareness-being". Traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. According to Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is one of the four sublime states a human can achieve in life (the others being an Arhat, Buddha, or Pratyekabuddha). The bodhisattva is a popular subject in Buddhist art. Usage of the term bodhisattva has evolved over time. In early Indian Buddhism, for example, the term bodhisattva was primarily used to refer specifically to the Buddha in his former lives.The Jatakas, which are the stories of his lives, depict the various attempts of the bodhisattva to embrace qualities like self-sacrifice and morality. See wikipedia for more information.

BONTENMARU (梵天丸): the illegitimate (and historically fictitional) child of Tokugawa Hidetada. It seems he's like his father in every respect...He has a a very peculiar name. He takes it from a historical figure, Date Masamune (1567-1636), the founder and the first daimyō of Sendai. Inspired by a dream his mother saw when she was pregnant with him, he was called "Bontenmaru". "Bonten" is a Buddhist ritual scepter, "maru" literally meaning "round" or "circle" and is a common term of endearment for a young boy. Bontenmaru was brought up as a prince at Yonezawa castle in present-day Yamagata prefecture. He lost the sight of his right eye from smallpox when he was a young child and later came to be referred to as the "Dokuganryū" or One-eyed Dragon. During the chaos of the civil war in the late 16th century, Bontenmaru, now known as Date Masamune, attempted to unite the northern provinces. Encouraged by some initial successes, he even dreamed of ruling all Japan. But this was a vain hope, as his rivals, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, managed to unite the country under their rule. Masamune moved northward in 1600 and became the first daimyō of what is now Sendai. He is known for his efforts to establish cultural links with Europe. For example, in 1613 he sent an envoy to Rome in one of the first Japanese missions to the West.

BUJUTSU (武術): “military arts”, “martial arts”...a word indicating arts, techiniques, skills, means, tricks, resources and magics used during a fight.

BUKE SHOHATTO (武家諸法度 lit. Various Points of Laws for Warrior Houses ): commonly known in English as the Laws for the Military Houses, was a collection of edicts issued by Japan's Tokugawa shogunate governing the responsibilities and activities of daimyō and the rest of the samurai warrior aristocracy. These formed the basis of the bakuhan taisei (shogunate-domains system) which lay at the foundation of the Tokugawa regime. The contents of the edicts were seen as a code of conduct, a description of proper honorable daimyō behavior, and not solely laws which had to be obeyed. By appealing to notions of morality and honor, therefore, the shogunate was able to see its strictures followed despite its inability to enforce them directly. The edicts were first read to a gathering of daimyō by the retired shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, at Fushimi castle in the seventh lunar month of 1615. They had been compiled by a number of scholars in service to the shogunate including Ishin Sūden, and were aimed primarily at limiting the power of the daimyō and thus protecting the shogunate's control over the country. The reigning shogun at the time, Ieyasu's son Tokugawa Hidetada, formally promulgated the edicts shortly afterwards, and each successive shogun formally reissued them, reinforcing the restrictions on the daimyō and the control of the shogunate. Through these successive generations, however, the rules developed and changed significantly. See wikipedia for more information.

BUNZŌ (文蔵): one of Kennosuke's friends who decides to help him storming the Anpukuji to rescue Shino-dono's father.

BYAKUJA (白蛇): another of Bishamonten's men, high proficient with the katana. His too is a powerful name, meaning “white snake”, not in the sense of the albino Japanese rat snake (same writing, but with the Shirohebi or Hakuja readings) but probably connected with the Chinese “Legend of The White Snake”. Moreover, unusual, white animals, are always used to imply, vigour, very high longevity, power, peculiarity and so on.

C

- CHAN (ちゃん): a suffix used for a very familiar, intimate, female person.

CHIYO (ちよ): Kai's little daughter.

CHIYO (千代): one of the prostitutes who works with Yae-chan.

D

DAIGANJI (大願寺): the “temple of the Buddha's great vow” is located at Miyajimachō, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture. This old temple is said to have been founded in 1201 - 1203 by Ryoukai, a Buddhist monk who belonged to the Mt. Kōya sect of the Shingon sect, and was in charge of repairing and building Itsukushima Shrine. It contains many important cultural properties and archives. In addition, a Sarasvati (Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and science, known as Benzaiten in Japan) is enshrined in the temple and is known to be one of the three major Sarasvatis in Japan.

DAIMYŌ (大名): a name formed with a fusion of the characters for “large” and “private land”. Daimyō were the powerful territorial lords in pre-modern Japan who ruled most of the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings. Subordinate only to the shogun, daimyo were the most powerful feudal rulers from the 10th century to the middle 19th century in Japan. The term "daimyō" is also sometimes used to refer to the leading figures of such clans, also called "lord". It was usually, though not exclusively, from these warlords that a shogun arose or a regent was chosen. Daimyō often hired samurai to guard their land and they paid the samurai in land or food. Relatively few daimyo could afford to pay samurai in money. The daimyō era came to an end soon after the Meiji restoration when Japan adopted the prefecture system in 1871

DANGO (団子): a Japanese dumpling and sweets made from mochiko (rice flour), related to mochi. It is often served with green tea. Dango is eaten year-round, but the different varieties are traditionally eaten in given seasons. Three to four dango are often served on a skewer. See wikipedia for the diferent types of dango.

DOBASHI MATAGOROU (土橋又五郎): one of the Yagyū men sent from Tenkai to kill grampa. He fights Azumi, has his left leg cut and commits suicide.

- DONO (殿): a suffix respectfully used for generals or very important persons.

DOI TOSHIKATSU (土井利勝, April 19, 1573 – August 12, 1644): he was a top-ranking official in Japan's Tokugawa shogunate during its early decades, and one of the chief advisors to the second Tokugawa shogun, Hidetada. The adopted son of Doi Toshimasa, Toshikatsu is generally believed to be the biological son of Mizuno Nobutomo, though there are some who claim he was an illegitimate son of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. He served the shogunate as advisor to shogun Tokugawa Hidetada for many years, and played an important role in communicating and overseeing the enforcement of shogunal policy across the country; Doi also helped effect trade and diplomatic relations between Japan and the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya. He lost much of his influence and power upon Hidetada's death in 1632. Six years later, however, Doi became one of the first to be appointed to the newly created post of Tairō (Great Elder), and was made daimyō (feudal lord) of Koga Domain (古河藩) in Shimōsa Province (下総国), with a revenue of 160,000 koku.

DŌJŌYABURI (道場破り): challenging another dōjō and defeating all of its members.

DORONUE (泥鵺, “mud chimera”): a “peculiar” assassin with the mission of killing Azumi.

DOZŌ (土蔵): one of the two elite assassins who Mōzō sends after Azumi by Munenori's order.

E

EBOSHI (烏帽子): a noble's court hedgear.

ECHIZEN (越前国): Echizen Province was an old province of Japan, which is today the northern part of Fukui Prefecture. It was sometimes called Esshū (越州), with Etchū and Echigo Provinces. Echizen is famous for washi (traditionally-produced paper). A text dated AD 774 mentions the washi made in this area. Echizen-produced washi is still the most commonly sold traditional paper in Japan today. Echizen is also well known for its ceramics. It is one of the so-called six old kiln sites of Japan (the others being Shigaraki, Bizen, Seto, Tanba, and Tokoname) and as such it is highly revered in the Japanese and international ceramics community. The ancient capital is believed to have been in Echizen, but by the Sengoku Period the province was divided among many fiefs. One of the most popular historical figures from Echizen has been Shibata Katsuie, who lived in Kitanosho Castle. In the Edo Period the daimyo of Fukui Domain maintained the seat in Fukui city. See wikipedia for more information.

EDO (江戸): literally "bay-entrance" or "estuary", also romanized as Yedo or Yeddo, is the former name of Tōkyō. It was the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1868. During this period it grew to become one of the largest cities in the world and home to an urban culture centered on the notion of a "floating world". See wikipedia for more information.

EDO YAGYŪ (江戸柳生): see Yagyū Shinkageryū.

F

FUKUICHIYA (福一屋): the name of the inn where Bishamonten and his men lodged briefly and where Kiku and Okō-san are held as hostages.

FUKUSHIMA MASANORI (福島正則1560 – August 26, 1624): he was a Japanese daimyō of the late Sengoku Period to early Edo Period who served as lord of the Hiroshima Domain. A retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, he fought in the battle of Shizugatake in 1583, and soon became known as one of Seven Spears of Shizugatake which also included Katō Kiyomasa and others.

FUNDOSHI (): is the traditional Japanese undergarment for adult males, made from a length of cotton. Before World War II, the fundoshi was the main form of underwear for Japanese adult males. However it fell out of use quickly after the war with the introduction of new underwear to the Japanese market, such as briefs and trunks. Nowadays, the fundoshi is mainly used not as underwear but as festival (matsuri) clothing at Hadaka Matsuri or, sometimes, as swimwear. There are several types of fundoshi, including rokushaku, kuroneko, mokko and etchū. The rokushaku fundoshi is a length of cloth, the dimensions being one shaku (34 cm / 14 inches) wide and six shaku (2.3 m / 92 to 96 inches) long; roku is Japanese for six, hence roku-shaku. The fundoshi is often twisted to create a thong effect at the back. Etchū fundoshi is also a length of cloth, however it has a strip of material at the waist to form a fastening or string. The dimensions are 14 inches width by about 40 inches length, and it is tied with the material strip in front of the body. Etchū fundoshi was the form of fundoshi most popular among Japanese adult males as underwear from early 1900s to the end of World War II. See wikipedia for the rest.

FUSHIMI (伏見): one of the eleven ward of Kyōto. Site of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, the Teradaya Inn, the Gokōgu shrine and Fushimi Castle, originally built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

FUTON (布団): it is a traditional Japanese bedding consisting of padded mattresses and quilts pliable enough to be folded and stored away during the day, allowing the room to serve for purposes other than as a bedroom. The bedding set referred to as futon in Japan fundamentally consists of a shikibuton (敷き布団 bottom mattress) and akakebuton (掛け布団 thick quilted bedcover). The word futon is an English loanword derived from Japanese futon (布団or 蒲団). It is Sino-Japanese, originally meaning 'round cushions filled with cattail flower spikes'; it is derived from Chinese fu or pu ( cattail) + ton or tuan (round). A futon is a flat mattress with a fabric exterior stuffed with cotton, wool, or synthetic batting that makes up a Japanese bed. Futons are sold in Japan at speciality stores called futon'ya as well as at department stores. They are often sold in sets that include the futon mattress (shikibuton), a comforter (kakebuton) or blanket (毛布mōfu), a summer blanket resembling a large towel (タオルケットtaoruketto), and a pillow (makura) generally filled with beans, buckwheat chaff, or plastic beads. Futons are designed to be placed on tatami flooring, and are traditionally folded away and stored in a closet during the day to allow the tatami to breathe and to allow for flexibility in the use of the room. Futons must be aired in sunlight regularly, especially if not put away during the day. In addition, many Japanese beat their futons regularly to prevent the padding from matting. They use a futon tataki (布団叩き), a special instrument, traditionally made from bamboo, resembling a Western carpet beater.

G

GACCHI (がっち): a little boy who steals rice from Azumi and her comrades house. Thinking there was no one at home he is caught red-handed by Azumi, with whom becomes friend.

GANRYŪJIMA (巌流島, formally Funajima 船島): is an island in Japan located between Honshū and Kyūshū, and accessible via ferry from Shimonoseki Harbor (下関港). It is famous for the duel between Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojirō. The small island was named for its boat-like appearance, and later became to be called the Ganryū kenjutsu school Kojirō had founded. On the island are a few monuments as well as facilities for public gatherings such as an annual tug-of-war. Along the west coast is a walking path, while the other side remains fenced off.

GENTA (玄太): a little child who escapes from his Master and meets Azumi and Kiku. He's a little street performer.

GETSUAN-OSHŌ (月庵和尚): a High Priest in charge of a buddhist temple. He says he's not as perverted as rumor goes by...He manages to win over Azumi and Kiku's confidence to have them stay there for a while, doing house chores.

-GIMI (): a respectful suffix used by nobles attached to close family relationship nouns such as “mother”, “sister” and “princess” (the daughter of a noble family). It can also indicate familiarity between friends. Kanbee always addresses Hideyori with “sama” in public, or “dono”, but when talking together with him in private, since they've been long time friends, he uses “gimi”.

GINKAKU (銀角): “silver horn”. Kinkaku's younger brother. He's an outlaw like him. His name is derived from one of two demon king brothers appearing in the chinese novel Xī Yóu Jì (Journey to the West / Saiyūki).

GOJŌ-ŌHASHI (五条大橋): a very long and big bridge in Kyōto. It was originally located at Gojōbōmondōri, today Matsubaradōri. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, though, moved it to its present location when he built the Hōkō temple. The bridge is very famous for the legendary battle between Saitō Musashibō Benkei and Ushiwaka (Minamoto no Yoshitsune).

GRAMPA (): a mysterious old man who picked up ten children with his discerning eyes and raised them up while training them to make them into powerful warriors. He gives them a trial to overcome: killing their most fond comrade in a duel to gain the ability to go on missions in the outside world. He's real name is Obata Gessai, and old friend of Tenkai, tasked by him to raise a group of martial artists who can serve him to carry out important assasination missions. His home town is near Kawagoe, in Musashi. He gets killed by Yagyū Munenori. Before dying he realizes Munenori's scheme to have Azumi kill Ieyasu by making her believe that he ordered grampa's death.

GREAT KING ENMA, THE (閻魔大王): the king of hell. For more information see Yama (Buddhism and Chinese mythology), Yama (Hinduism) and all the related stuff on wikipedia.

H

-HAN (はん): the Kyōto-Ōsaka dialect equivalent of -san.

HANAMI (花見lit. "flower viewing" ): it is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, "flower" in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms ("sakura") or (less often) plum blossoms ("ume"). From the end of March to early May, sakura bloom all over Japan, and around the first of February on the island of Okinawa. The blossom forecast (桜前線 sakura-zensen, literally cherry blossom front) is announced each year by the weather bureau, and is watched carefully by those planning hanami as the blossoms only last a week or two. In modern-day Japan, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night. In some contexts the Sino-Japanese term kan'ō (観桜, view-cherry) is used instead, particularly for festivals. Hanami at night is called yozakura (夜桜, literally night sakura). In many places such as Ueno Park temporary paper lanterns are hung for the purpose of yozakura. On the island of Okinawa, decorative electric lanterns are hung in the trees for evening enjoyment, such as on the trees ascending Mt. Yae, near Motobu Town, or at the Nakijin Castle. A more ancient form of hanami also exists in Japan, which is enjoying the plum blossoms (ume) instead, which is narrowly referred to as umemi (梅見, plum-viewing). This kind of hanami is popular among older people, because they are more calm than the sakura parties, which usually involve younger people and can sometimes be very crowded and noisy. See wikipedia for more information.

HARIMA KOJIRŌ (播磨小次郎): one of the rounin employed to escort grampa. It seems Miyamoto Musashi feared him and avoided a duel with him and his friend Ban Sakon. He's killed by Azumi in the blink of an eye.

HASHIMOTO-SAMA (橋本様): a retainer that Kinkaku and Ginkaku's men take as hostage.

HATAKENAKA MATAJŪRŌ (畑中又十郎): could also be read “Hatanaka”. A wandering samurai who gets killed by Mogami Bijomaru just for fun.

HATAMOTO (旗本, "under the banners"): a hatamoto was a samurai in the direct service of the Tokugawa shogunate of feudal Japan. While all three of the shogunates in Japanese history had official retainers, in the two preceding ones, they were referred to as gokenin. However, in the Edo period, hatamoto were the upper vassals of the Tokugawa house, and the gokenin were the lower vassals. There was no precise difference between the two in terms of income level, but hatamoto had the right to an audience with the shogun, where gokenin did not. The word hatamoto literally means "at the base of the flag" and is often translated as "bannerman". Another term for the Edo-era hatamoto was jikisan hatamoto (直参旗本), sometimes rendered as "direct Shogunal hatamoto", which serves to illustrate the difference between them and the preceding generation of hatamoto who served various lords. See wikipedia for more information.

HATSUNE (はつね): the only female member of Azumi's new comrades in the snow country. Her name could mean a lot of different things, like the first warbling heard in a New Year or the first day of the rat of the New Year (or the first one of the 11th month) and so on.

HAYASHI MATABEE (林又兵衛): one of the bosses of the rounin group in the snow country.

HEITA (平太): Kai's little son.

HIEI (ひえい): one of the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. During the trial he fights against Nagara and dies.

HIGO PROVINCE (肥後国): was an old province of Japan in the area that is today Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyūshū. It was sometimes called Hishū (肥州), with Hizen Province. Higo bordered on Chikugo, Bungo, Hyūga, Ōsumi, and Satsuma Provinces. The castle town of Higo was usually at Kumamoto City. During the Muromachi Period, Higo was held by the Kikuchi clan, but they were dispossessed during the Sengoku Period, and the province was occupied by neighboring lords, including the Shimazu clan of Satsuma, until Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Kyūshū and gave Higo to his retainers, first Sassa Narimasa and later Katō Kiyomasa. The Katō were soon stripped of their lands, and the region was given to the Hosokawa clan. During the Sengoku Period, Higo was a major center for Christianity in Japan, and it is also the location where Miyamoto Musashi stayed at the Hosokawa daimyo's invitation while completing his The Book of Five Rings.

HIKOMA (彦馬): one of Kennosuke's friends who decides to help him storming the Anpukuji to rescue Shino-dono's father.

HONDA MASAZUMI (本多正純1566 – April 5, 1637 ): a samurai of the Azuchi–Momoyama period through early Edo period, who served the Tokugawa clan. He later became a daimyō, and one of the first rōjū of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Masazumi was born in 1565; he was the eldest son of Honda Masanobu. Father and son served Tokugawa Ieyasu together. Masazumi was in the main force at Sekigahara; after the battle, Masazumi was entrusted with the guardianship of the defeated Ishida Mitsunari. Masazumi was made a daimyō in 1608, with an income of 33,000 koku. Ieyasu trusted Honda sufficiently to have relied on him as an intermediary for diplomatic initiatives with China. Later, Masazumi served at the Siege of Ōsaka; in 1616, he became a toshiyori; this was the position that would soon after be renamed as rōjū. In this role, he worked closely with the now-retired second shogun, Hidetada. During this period, his income was increased to 53,000 koku; then to 155,000 in 1619. However, in 1622 he fell into disfavor with Hidetada, and was exiled to Yokote, in the Kubota Domain. Masazumi died in Yokote in 1637, at age 73.

HONNŌJI (本能寺): is a temple of the Nichiren branch of Buddhism located in Kyōto, Japan. Its honzon (principal image of Buddha, object of adoration) is mandara-honzon (曼荼羅本尊) from Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō. Honnōji is most famous for the Honnōji Incident. Oda Nobunaga lodged there before his invasion of the west. However on the morning of June 21, 1582, the traitorous forces of Akechi Mitsuhide surrounded the temple and set it on fire. Knowing there was no way out for him, Nobunaga committed seppuku along with his attendant Mori Ranmaru. Ranmaru's brothers also perished at Honnōji. The rebuilt Honnōji stands on a different site in Kyōto, near Kyōto Shiyakusho-mae Station.

HŌGEN (宝玄): one of the teachers of the Hōzōinryū at the temple where Nishida Benzō is in charge and where Azumi is being sheltered.

HŌKŌ TEMPLE (方広寺): it is a temple in Kyōto, dating from the 16th century. Toyotomi Hideyoshi determined that the capital city should have a Daibutsu (Great Buddha or Giant Buddha' is the term, often used informally, for large statues of Buddha) temple to surpass that of Nara. He is reputed to have claimed at the outset that he would complete construction in half the time it took Emperor Shōmu to complete the Great Buddha of Nara. The project during Emperor Shōmu's reign took ten years. Hideyoshi would complete the initial phase of his project in only three years. See wikipedia for more information.

HŌZŌINRYŪ (宝蔵院流): it is a traditional school (koryū) of Japanese martial arts that specializes in the art of spearmanship (sōjutsu). Hōzōinryū was founded byHōzōin Kakuzenbō In'ei (宝蔵院 覚禅房胤栄, 1521–1607) in c. 1560. In'ei was a Buddhist monk of Kōfuku Temple in Nara. He adored martial arts and trained in the art of swordsmanship. At the same time, he was coached and mentored by Daizendayū Moritada (大膳太夫盛忠), a master of the spear. Under this master's guidance, In'ei honed his spearmanship. It is said that one evening, on seeing the reflection of the crescent moon shining on Sarusawa pond, he was inspired to create a spear with a cross-shaped spearhead. He imagined this style of spear would be more effective in fighting. With this new type of spear (known as jūmonjiyari 十文字槍), he founded the Hōzōinryū. Later, the teachings Hōzōinryū sōjutsu were passed down to Nakamura Naomasa and then Takada Matabei Yoshitsugu. The three best disciples of Takada went to Edo to promote the art. Its reputation spread nationwide and the number of disciples increased. As martial art of Hōzōinryū sōjutsu was passed down from generation to generation, various new techniques as well as new dōjōwere created. At the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, (around the middle of the 19th century) there were many masters of Hōzōin-ryū sōjutsu employed at the shogunate's martial arts training center. Eventually in 1976, Hōzōinryū sōjutsu returned to Nara. In 1991 Kagita Chubei was appointed the 20th headmaster and has been leading the Hōzōinryū sōjutsu school since then. An ancient Japanese poem expresses the spear of Hōzōin-ryū sōjutsu: "It can be a spear to thrust. It can be a naginata to cleave. It can be a kama to slash. In any case, it never fails to hit the target ."

HYŪGA (ひゅうが): one of the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. During the trial he fights against Awa and kills him. Like Awa, he wields two swords. He falls in love with Yae, a little street performer, but can't say goodbye to her properly when the day to par comes. He decides to run after her (unarmed) to do things in a proper way but he's stopped by Tobizaru and Bijomaru. To protect Yae from what Bijomaru could to to her, he decides to fight him, using Tobizaru's katana. He's deeply wounded by Bijomaru, who plans to slowly killing him but Tobizaru mercifully put him out of his misery.

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IAI (居合いor 居合道Iaidō ): it is a modern Japanese martial art associated with the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard or saya, striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the scabbard. While new students of iaidō may start learning with a wooden sword (bokken) depending on the teaching style of a particular instructor, many of those who study iaidō use a blunt edged sword (iaitō). Few, more experienced, iaidō practitioners use a sharp edged sword (shinken). Practitioners of iaidō are often referred to as iaidōka. Because iaidō is practiced with a weapon, it is almost entirely practiced using forms, or kata. Multiple person kata exist within some schools of iaidō, when iaidōka will usually use bokken for such kata practice. Iaidō does include competition in form of kata but does not use sparring of any kind. Because of this non-fighting aspect, and iaidō's emphasis on precise, controlled, fluid motion, it is sometimes referred to as "moving Zen." Iaidō forms (kata) are performed solitarily against one or more imaginary opponents. Some iaidō schools, however, include kata performed in pairs. Most of the styles and schools do not practice tameshigiri, cutting techniques. A very important part of iaidō, is nukitsuke or the life of iaidō. This is a very quick draw of the sword, accomplished by simultaneously drawing the sword from the saya and also moving the saya back in saya-biki. See wikipedia for more information.

IGA NINJA (伊賀忍者): The Iga and Kōga clans have come to describe families living in the province of Iga (modern Mie Prefecture) and the adjacent region of Kōka (later written as Kōga), named after a village in what is now Shiga Prefecture. From these regions, villages devoted to the training of ninja first appeared. The remoteness and inaccessibility of the surrounding mountains may have had a role in the ninja's secretive development. Historical documents regarding the ninja's origins in these mountainous regions are considered generally correct. A distinction is to be made between the ninja from these areas, and commoners or samurai hired as spies or mercenaries. Unlike their counterparts, the Iga and Kōga clans produced professional ninja, specifically trained for their roles. These professional ninja were actively hired by territorial lords between 1485 and 1581 until Oda Nobunaga invaded Iga province and wiped out the organized clans. Survivors were forced to flee, some to the mountains of Kii, but others arrived before Tokugawa Ieyasu, where they were well treated. Some former Iga clan members, including Hattori Hanzō, would later serve as Tokugawa's bodyguards. Following the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, Tokugawa employed a group of eighty Kōga ninja, led by Tomo Sukesada. They were tasked to raid an outpost of the Imagawa clan. The account of this assault is given in the Mikawa Go Fudoki, where it was written that Kōga ninja infiltrated the castle, set fire to its towers, and killed the castellan along with 200 of the garrison. The Kōga ninja are said to have played a role in the later Battle of Sekigahara (1600), where several hundred Kōga assisted soldiers under Torii Mototada in the defence of Fushimi Castle. After Tokugawa's victory at Sekigahara, the Iga acted as guards for the inner compounds of Edo Castle, while the Kōga acted as a police force and assisted in guarding the outer gate. In 1614, the initial "winter campaign" at the Siege of Osaka saw the ninja in use once again. Miura Yoemon, a ninja in Tokugawa's service, recruited shinobi from the Iga region, and sent 10 ninja into Osaka Castle in an effort to foster antagonism between enemy commanders. During the later "summer campaign", these hired ninja fought alongside regular troops at the Battle of Tennōji. A final but detailed record of ninja employed in open warfare occurred during the Shimabara Rebellion (1637–1638). The Kōga ninja were recruited by shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu against Christian rebels led by Amakusa Shirō, who made a final stand at Hara Castle, in Hizen Province. A diary kept by a member of the Matsudaira clan, the Amakusa Gunki, relates: "Men from Kōga in Omi Province who concealed their appearance would steal up to the castle every night and go inside as they pleased." Suspecting that the castle's supplies may be running low, the siege commander Matsudaira Nobutsuna ordered a raid on the castle's provisions. Here, the Kōga captured bags of enemy provisions, and infiltrated the castle by night, obtaining secret passwords. Days later, Nobutsuna ordered an intelligence gathering mission to determine the castle's supplies. Several Kōga ninja — some apparently descended from those involved in the 1562 assault on an Imagawa clan castle — volunteered despite being warned that chances of survival were slim. A volley of shots were fired into the sky, causing the defenders to extinguish the castle lights in preparation. Under the cloak of darkness, ninja disguised as defenders infiltrated the castle, capturing a banner of the Christian cross. As the siege went on, the extreme shortage of food later reduced the defenders to eating moss and grass. This desperation would mount to futile charges by the rebels, where they were eventually defeated by the shogunate army. The Kōga would later take part in conquering the castle. With the fall of Hara Castle, the Shimabara Rebellion came to an end, and Christianity in Japan was forced underground. See wikipedia for more interesting stuff.

INO (): one of the children of the snow country village, probably the oldest and the “leader”.

INOKICHI (猪吉): the old man assassin acompanying Kiku.

INOUE KANBEE (井上勘兵衛): a close associate of Kiyomasa, invited as guest to asano's contest. He's got a personal ninja who raised from childhood called Tobizaru. When Asano is killed he starts pursuing Azumi and the rest. After the failure of Izō and the Sajiki brothers, he pursue them himself and corner them, making them fall down a cliff. He witness the death of his Lord, Kiyomasa, with his own eyes. He comes to Hideyori's side to protect him and finds Azumi, once again.

ISE (伊勢): formerly called Ujiyamada (宇治山田), is a city located in eastern Mie Prefecture, on the island of Honshū. Ise is home to Ise Grand Shrine (伊勢神宮Ise jingū), the most sacred Shintō Shrine in Japan, and is thus a very popular destination for tourists. The city has a long-standing title - Shinto (神都) - that roughly means "The Holy City" and literally means "Capital of the Kami"). Most of the city is within the geographic limits of Ise-Shima National Park.

ISHIDA MITSUNARI (石田三成1559 – November 6, 1600): he was a samurai of the late Sengoku period of Japan. He is probably best remembered as the commander of the Western army in the Battle of Sekigahara following the Azuchi-Momoyama period of the 17th century. Also known by his court title, Jibunoshō. More on wikipedia.

IZŌ (猪蔵): a Kōga ninja acquaintance of Tobizaru. It seems that they're somewhat rivals. He asks Kanbee to be employed. He fights Azumi on a giant ship and gets killed by her.

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JŌTARŌ (丈太郎): one of Kennosuke's friends who decides to help him storming the Anpukuji to rescue Shino-dono's father.

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KABAYAKI (蒲焼き): it is a preparation of the unagi eel, sometimes extended to other fish, where the fish is split down the back (or belly), gutted and boned, butterflied, cut into square fillets, skewered, dipped in a sweet soy sauce-base sauce before being broiled on a grill. The same preparation is made of other long scaleless fish such as hamo ( pike conger), dojō ( loach), catfish (namazu ), anago (穴子 conger eel), and gimpo (ギンポPholidae). One can also find canned products labeled as kabayaki-style sanma (秋刀魚 Pacific saury). See wikipedia for more information.

KABUKIMONO (かぶき者 or 歌舞伎or 傾奇者): the early-17th-century equivalent of present-day yakuza; Edo-period eccentric who attracted public attention with their eye-catching clothes, peculiar hairstyle, and weird behavior.

KAGARI (かがり): one of Azumi's new males comrades in the snow country. His name could stand for “campfire or “fishing fire” if written with a single kanji, but if we take into consideration all the possible other combinations (ka+ga+ri, kaga+ri, ka+gari) it can come out in so many different ways that finding the right meaning to it is impossible. By the way, his is a female name.

KAHEE-SAN (加兵衛さん): a person Yae-chan said to ask about when Azumi and the others will be in Tango so they can find where she lives.

KAI (かい): Chiyo and Heita's mother.

KAKUGEN (覚玄): the chief instructor of the Hōzōinryū at the temple where Nishida Benzō is in charge and where Azumi is being sheltered.

KAMISHIMO (): the formal clothing worn by samurai of the Edo era. It is composed by the hakama (the lower part) and the katanugi (the upper part), a sleeveless jacket with very large shoulders. It is not a clothing for training but is recommended for ceremonies and very important events.

KANZAEMON (寛左エ門): one of Kennosuke's friends who decides to help him storming the Anpukuji to rescue Shino-dono's father.

KAPPA (河童, “river-child”): alternatively called Kawatarō (川太郎, "river-boy"), Komahiki (“horse puller”), or Kawako (川子, "river-child"), are a yōkai found in Japanese folklore, and also a cryptid. Their name comes from a mixture of the word "kawa" (river) and "wappo," an inflection of "waraba" (child). In Shintō they are considered to be one of many suijin (水神,“water deity”), their yorishiro, or one of their temporary appearances. A hair-covered variation of a Kappa is called a Hyōsube (ひょうすべ). There are more than eighty other names associated with the kappa in different regions which include Kawappa, Gawappa, Kōgo, Mizushi, Mizuchi, Enkō, Kawaso, Suitengu, and Dangame. Along with the oni and the tengu, they are one of the most well-known yōkai in Japan. Kappa are similar to Finnish Näkki, Scandinavian/Germanic Näck/Neck, Slavian Vodník and Scottish Kelpie in that all have been used to scare children of dangers lurking in waters. It has been suggested that the kappa legends are based on the Japanese giant salamander or "hanzaki", an aggressive salamander which grabs its prey with its powerful jaws. See wikipedia for more information.

KARASUMA TENZAN (烏丸天山): Shunjirō considers him his mentor.

KATAGIRI HYŌBU (片桐兵部): a man under house arrest at Daiganji who's gathering men for some kind of scheme.

KATANA (): a traditional Japanese sword worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance as a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. It has become renowned for its sharpness and strength.

KATŌ KIYOMASA (加藤清正July 25, 1561 – August 2, 1611): a powerful feudal territorial lord. He made a quick career, fought under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, received from him vast lands in Higo Province and had Kumamoto Castle as his residence. He fought in the seven year war against Korea (enjoing tiger hunting in the meanwhile...) obtaining great results who were not reported by Ishida Mitsunari, his rival's overseer, to Hideyoshi. He had a big quarrel with him and after Hideyoshi's death he started having contacts with Tokugawa Ieyasu. He got into a conflict with Konishi, his christian neighbor (Kiyomasa was noted for brutally suppressing Christianity). During the Battle of Sekigahara he switched to the Tokugawa Side, the eastern army. He thought that Toyotomi would have fallen without Tokugawa help. Moreover, the western army was lead by Ishida and Konishi was among his supporters... After the Tokugawa win, he rewarded Kiyomasa with all the land left in Higo that was once Konishi's (who got executed). In his later years, Kiyomasa tried to work as a mediator for the increasingly complicated relationship between Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyori. In 1611, en route by sea to Kumamoto after one such meeting, he fell ill, and died shortly after his arrival. See his full entry on wikipedia. In Azumi he gets killed by her during his trip by ship back to his hometown by Ieyasu's orders.

KAWAGOE (川越市Kawagoe-shi): a city in Saitama Prefecture, was founded as a town Kawagoe-machi (川越町) on April 1, 1889, and became the first city in the prefecture on December 1, 1922. See wikipedia for more information.

KAWAMATA SUKEZAEMON (川又助左衛門): one of the fighters in Asano's contest. He fights Obata Tsukinoshin (Azumi in disguise).

KAZŌ (火蔵): one of the two elite assassins who Mōzō sends after Azumi by Munenori's order.

KAZUNOGAHARA (鹿角ヶ原): a (fictional) place where Shizune or Tadane wants the castle samurais' and Gensai's parties to clash, so it is going to be easier for them to take a peek of all the killing.

KEICHŌ ERA (慶長): 1596.10.27 – 1615.7.13.

KENNOSUKE (研ノ助): a young samurai who wants to rescue Shino-dono's father, the military commander of the operation against the rounin, from his imprisonement at the Anpukuji.

KI (jp, cn): in traditional Chinese culture, (also chi or ch'i) is an active principle forming part of any living thing. Qi is frequently translated as "life energy", "life force", or "energy flow". Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. The literal translation of "qi" is "breath", "air", or "gas". See wikipedia for much more information.

KIKU (きく): the eldest daughter of a tenant farmer who's getting married to the village headman's son. She dies trying to protect her little sister and Azumi.

KIKU (きく): a nymphomaniac girl traveling with her grampa. In truth she's a man who aims to kill Azumi. Maybe. For now, he's following her around but he's struck down with a fever.

KIMONO (着物): the Japanese traditional garment worn by men, women and children. The word "kimono", which literally means a "thing to wear" has come to denote these full-length robes.

KINCHŪ NARABINI KUGE SHOHATTO (禁中並公家諸法度 lit. Acts for the Court and the Nobles): a code of laws and ordinances regarding the conduct of the Imperial Court and the court nobles.

KINKAKU (金角): “gold horn”. Ginkaku's elder brother. He's an outlaw like him. His name is derived from one of two demon king brothers appearing in the chinese novel Xī Yóu Jì (Journey to the West / Saiyūki).

KISABURŌ (樹三郎): could even be read Jusaburō. He's the third son of a samurai and a friend of Shunjirō. They have the same age. He trains with zeal at the dōjō.

KITAMURA SAMON (北村左門): one of the Yagyū men sent by Tenkai to kill grampa. He's killed by Azumi.

KITAIN (SEIYASAN MURYŌSHUJI KITAIN星野山無量寿寺喜多院): is a Buddhist temple located in the city of Kawagoe in Saitama, Japan. It is noted for its main hall, which was part of the original Edo Castle, and the statues of 540 Rakan, disciples of the Buddha. See wikipedia for more information.

KITANOSHŌ CASTLE (北圧城): it was a hirashiro (castle located on a hill). Its remains are located in current-day Fukui, Fukui Prefecture. As the castle lasted merely eight years, few records survive about it. It is known, though that it was built by Shibata Katsuie in 1575. Also, it appears that the keep was nine stories high, making it the largest of the time. The castle was destroyed in 1583, when Katsuie and his wife, Oichi, perished in a fire that Katsuie had started after he had lost the Battle of Shizugatake and retreated here. A few stone foundations of the castle were uncovered in archaeological digs and are now open to the public.

KIYOMASA'S PROCESSION (清正の行列): when a feudal lord moved from a place to another, he was followed by his bodyguards, soldiers, some vassals and retainers, so it looked like a procession. It was nothing comparable to when they had to switch residences between the one in their hometown and the one in the capital once a year per shōgun orders, though. In those cases the procession counted many more people and was even a cunning method used by the shōgun to have his feudal lords spend a lot of money in the process, so that they couldn't have enough to eventually rise an army for a coupe.

KIZU RIVER (木津川): a tributary of the Yodo River. It runs through Kizu City south of Kyōto.

KŌGA NINJA (甲賀忍者): see Iga Ninja.

KOGENTA (小源太): Kanbee's name when he was a child.

KOHYŌTA (小兵太): a small child living in the Ono residence, taking sword lessons. He's the son of an old friend of Tadaaki. After his father died in battle, Tadaaki took him in.

KOKESHI (こけし): they are Japanese dolls, originally from northern Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax. One characteristic of kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist. The origin and naming of kokeshi is unclear, with historical ateji (literally "assigned characters", primarily refers to kanji used phonetically to represent native or borrowed words, without regard to the meaning of the underlying characters) spellings including 小芥子, 木牌子, 木形子, and 木芥子. The hiragana spelling こけし was agreed on at the All-Japan Kokeshi Exhibition (全国こけし大会) at Naruko Onsen in August 1939. A plausible theory is that "kokeshi" is derived from wooden (ki, ko) or small (ko), and dolls (芥子keshi). Kokeshi were first produced by kijishi (木地師), artisans proficient with a potter's wheel, at the Shinchi Shuraku, near the Tōgatta Onsen in Zaō from where kokeshi making techniques spread to other spa areas in the Tōhoku Region. It is said that these dolls were originally made during the middle of the Edo period (1600–1868) to be sold to people who were visiting the hot springs in the north-east of the country. "Traditional" kokeshi (伝統こけしdentō-kokeshi) dolls' shapes and patterns are particular to a certain area and are classified under eleven types. The most dominant type is the Naruko variety originally made in Miyagi Prefecture, which can also be found in Akita, Iwate, and Yamagata Prefectures. The main street of the Naruko Onsen Village is known as Kokeshi Street and has shops which are operated directly by the kokeshi carvers. "Creative" kokeshi (新型こけしshingata-kokeshi) allow the artist complete freedom in terms of shape, design and color and were developed after World War II (1945). They are not particular to a specific region of Japan and generally creative kokeshi artists are found in cities. The woods used for kokeshi vary, with cherry used for its darkness and dogwood for its softer qualities. Itaya-kaede, a Japanese maple, is also used in the creation of both traditional and creative dolls. The wood is left outdoors to season for one to five years before it can be used.

KOKU (): an archaic period of time, usual a period of approx two hours corresponding to one of the signs of the Chinese zodiac.

KOKU (or石高): it is a Japanese unit of volume, equal to ten cubic shaku (a traditional unit of measure used in East Asia with a length approximately equal to a foot). In this definition, 3.5937 koku equal one cubic metre, i.e. 1 koku is approximately 278.3 litres. The koku was originally defined as a quantity of rice, historically defined as enough rice to feed one person for one year (one masu,[枡升, originally a square wooden box used to measure rice typically covering the range from one to (一斗枡ittomasu, c. 18L) to one (一合枡 ichigōmasu, c. 0.18L) is enough rice to feed a person for one day]. A koku of rice weighs about 150 kilograms (23.6 stone or 330 pounds). In 1891, a smaller koku was defined such that one koku equalled exactly 240100⁄1331 litres, which is approximately 180.39 litres, or about 5 bushels (40 imperial or 48 US gallons). During the Edo period (1603-1868) of Japanese history, each han (fiefdom) had an assessment of its wealth, and the koku was the unit of measurement. The smallest han was 10,000 koku and Kaga han, the largest (other than that of the Shogun), was called the "million-koku domain". (Its holdings totaled around 1,025,000 koku.) Many samurai, including hatamoto (upper vassals of the Tokugawa house), received stipends in koku, while a few received salaries instead. In the Tōhoku and Hokkaidō domains, where rice could not be grown, the economy was still measured in koku but was not adjusted from year to year. Thus some han had larger economies than their koku indicated, which allowed them to fund development projects. Koku was also used to measure how much a ship could carry when all its loads were rice. Smaller ships carried 50 koku (7.5 t) while the biggest ships carried over 1,000 koku (150t). The biggest ships were actually larger than military vessels owned by the Shogunate. In the Meiji period (1868–1912), Japanese units such as the koku were abolished and the metric system was installed. The Hyakumangoku Matsuri (Million-Koku Festival) in Kanazawa, Japan celebrates the arrival of Lord Maeda Toshiie into the city in 1583, although the Maeda's income was not actually raised to over a millionkoku until after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. The koku unit is still commonly used in the lumber industry in Japan.

KOMORO (こもろ): one of the ten chosen children raised up by Grampa. During the trial he fights against Amagi and dies.

KOMUSŌ (虚無僧): was a Japanese mendicant monk of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism, during the Edo period of 1600-1868. Komusō were characterised by the straw basket (a sedge or reed hood named a tengai) worn on the head, manifesting the absence of specific ego. They are also known for playing solo pieces on the shakuhachi (a type of Japanese bamboo flute). These pieces, called honkyoku ("original pieces") were played during a meditative practice called suizen, for alms, as a method of attaining enlightenment, and as a healing modality. The Japanese government introduced reforms after the Edo period, abolishing the Fuke sect. Records of the musical repertoire survived, and are being revived in the 21st century.

KONISHI SHIZUNE (小西静音): a man preaching the Bible to the masses in a secret place of the snow country and possibly Azumi's and his new comrades' target. He's name could mean “calm sound”, and like Kagari's, is a female name.

KONISHI TADANE (小西忠音): Shizune's twin, probably his sister. Tadane is a female name too.

KŌZUKI KAZUMA (上月数馬): an acquaintance of Ogata and his men. He sees them getting killed hidden in the bushes. He then tries to seduce Azumi during a night festival.

KUMAMOTO (熊本): a city located on the island of Kyūshū, Higo Province (肥後国). Today it's the capital of Kumamoto Prefecture.

KUNOICHI (くノ一): a female ninja. The name could come from the character strokes for “woman” (). They were masters of disguise, very well versed in the use of poisons and in the art of seduction.

KURAISHI SAKON (倉石左近): a Yagyū Shinkageryū disciple. Onoha's Mitsugu and Matsui were his old enemies. He should've been the one defeating them but Azumi killed them before he could.

KURAJIRŌ (倉次郎): one of the Shimotani children. He tries a pass on Azumi the first time she visits the village. The second time he's forced to fight her and dies by her hand.

KURISUKE (栗助): one of the bosses of the rounin group in the snow country. “Kuri” mean “chestnut”, a fitting name for his very small stature.

KURODA TAKETORA (黒田武虎): one of the bosses of the rounin group in the snow country.

KUSA (): “grass”, but it was also used back then as another word for “ninja”.

KYŌ (): the old name of present day Kyōto, Japan's capital in the days of Azumi's story. Check wikipedia for more information about this breathtaking city.

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MANTARŌ (満太郎): could be read Michitarō or Mitsutarō too. He's a young man whose father and little sister were killed by Bishamonten. He tries to get revenge alone but he is easily killed on the spot.

MATSUI RINTARŌ (松井凜太郎): one of Mikogami leading disciples.

MAYUMI SHIGETAKE (真弓重岳): Shin'ichirō and Shunjirō's father.

MAYUMI SHIN'ICHIRŌ (真弓慎一郎): Shunjirō's older brother and the Mayumi household future heir.

MAYUMI SHUNJIRŌ (真弓俊二郎): the second son of a samurai living at the temple where High Priest Getsuan is in charge. He teaches the merchants kids and babysits the smaller ones. He's not well seen by his father to his current job. He wants for him to keep training at the dōjō, so that maybe one day he could became a fencing instructor or have a decent career. He's way more of a scholar though, and very interested in making his country progress. He associates with Karasuma Tenzan and his group. When Azumi and Kiku lodge at the temple, he inevitably falls for the former. To help his comrades escape a trap by the fief Lord, he takes him hostage, making a serious crime. His whole family will be executed soon after for his act. He'll help Azumi hide from the Yagyuu search party and from Sakon, whom he'll try to kill surprising him but he'll be cut down and left for dead. Miracously, he'll be found in time by Tenzan's men who were searching for Azumi and treated. He then moves to the snow country as a senoir stateman in charge of the gold mine by Tenkai orders and reunite with Azumi. He seems to have grown up but also his ways have changed. He's keeping some secrets from Azumi, basically about the persons who were with Tenzan and now are slaving away in the mine, and about Tenzan too, who his being in a sanatorium distant from there recuperating after having overworked himself sounds as an utter lie. He plans to build an ideal country in that fief with the help of Shizune and his christian doctrine, that can unite everyone.

MIKI UEMON (幹右衛門): one of the bosses of the rounin group in the snow country. He's very big and tough, truely fitting for a “miki”, a “tree-trunk”. He's killed by Azumi while he's trying to rape her with some of his comrades at the secret hot springs.

MIKOGAMI TENZEN (神子上典膳): or Ono Jiroemon Tadaaki was a samurai of the early Edo period, who was renowned as a swordsman. He founded the Onoha Ittōryū style of swordsmanship after his teacher made him head master of the Ittōryū. He was one of two official sword masters for Tokugawa Ieyasu and his style, along with Yagyū Shinkageryū became one of the official schools of the Tokugawa Shogunate. See also Onoha Ittōryū.

MISO (味噌): is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley, and/or soybeans with salt and the fungus kōjikin (麹菌), the most typical miso being made with soy. The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called misoshiru (味噌汁), a Japanese culinary staple. High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan. Miso is still widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking, and has been gaining world-wide interest. Miso is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. There is a wide variety of miso available. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory. The traditional Chinese analogue of miso is known as dòujiàng (豆酱). See more information on wikipedia.

MITSUGU KYŌSUKE (貢喬介): one of Mikogami leading disciples.

MIYAMOTO MUSASHI (宮本武蔵c. 1584 – June 13, 1645): also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪の書 Go Rin No Sho), a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today. See wikipedia for much more information.

MOCHI (): is Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. Similar snacks are prominent in Hawaii, South Korea, Taiwan, China (where it is called 麻糬, Hokkien môa-chî or Mandarin máshu, tang yuan), Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines (where it is called maha), Thailand, and Indonesia (where it is called kue moci and has become specialty of Sukabumi town). Mochi is a multicomponent food consisting of polysaccharides, lipids, protein and water. Mochi has a heterogeneous structure of amylopectin gel, starch grains and air bubbles. This rice is characterized by its lack of amylose in starch and is derived from short or medium japonica rices. The protein concentration of the rice is a bit higher than normal short-grain rice and the two also differ in amylose content. In mochi rice, the amylose content is negligible which results in the soft gel consistency of mochi. More information on wikipedia.

MOGAMI BIJOMARU (最上美女丸): an assassin sent by SanadaYukimura to kill Azumi and the others. His name is formed by best+beautiful woman+maru (a common suffix for male names back then). He kills Hatakenaka Matajūrō just for fun. He severely wounds Hyuuga and plans to slowly kill him but his fun is ruined by Tobizaru. He then fights against grampa wounding him multiple times but he's interrupted by Azumi sudden arrive. He fight's her but gets mortally wounded. He lets himself be put out of his misery by her.

MŌRI TERUTOMO (毛利 輝元, January 22, 1553 – April 27, 1625): son of Mōri Takamoto and grandson and successor of the great warlord Mōri Motonari, fought against Toyotomi Hideyoshi but was eventually overcome, participated in the Kyūshū campaign (1587) on Hideyoshi's side and built Hiroshima Castle, thus essentially founding Hiroshima. Terumoto was a member of the council of Five Elders appointed by Hideyoshi. At the height of his power in late 16th century, Terumoto controlled 1.2 million koku. This means he could mobilize more than 120,000 men to a battle. He sided against Tokugawa Ieyasu but was not present at the Battle of Sekigahara. Terumoto was in Ōsaka Castle defending Toyotomi Hideyori at the time and surrendered to Ieyasu soon after Sekigahara. Ieyasu reduced Terumoto's domains, leaving him only Nagato and Suō Provinces, worth 369,000 koku in total. He is believed to have been a below-average general on and off the battlefield, having lacked motivation and will. He made little impact in these final years of the Sengoku period, often having his subordinates and lesser members of clan fight instead. It is believed that if he had fought at Sekigahara or brought Hideyori to the battlefield, Ieyasu would have been defeated instead. However, he managed his domain well and successfully held the Mōri clan together even when his domain was reduced to a third. He was succeeded by Mōri Hidenari. Its also said that Terumoto had a concubine that acted as an assassin.

MOUNT KŌYA (高野山): it is the name of mountains in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Ōsaka. Also, Kōya-san is a modifying word for Kongōbuji (金剛峯寺 the head temple of the Kōyasan Shingon Buddhism). There is no one mountain officially called Kōya-san (高野山) in Japan. First settled in 819 by the monk Kūkai, Mt. Kōya is primarily known as the world headquarters of the Kōyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Located in an 800 m high valley amid the eight peaks of the mountain (which was the reason this location was selected, in that the terrain is supposed to resemble a lotus plant), the original monastery has grown into the town of Kōya, featuring a university dedicated to religious studies and 120 temples, many of which offer lodging to pilgrims.

MOUNT KUNŌ (久能山): a mountain southeast of Sunpu, where Ieyasu's body was buried in Tōshō Shrine initially.

MOUNT TENJIN (天神山): there're too main mounts in Japan with this name and it's difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the one they're talking in the story. If someone would like to try...

MŌZŌ(猛蔵): an old acquantance of Munenori. He receives a retainer stipend. He trains assassins to employ in missions, even though there're no more wars, just waiting for the moment when they'll be useful to repay the debt of gratitude he has toward Munenori.

MURAKAMI MOROBEE (村上諸兵衛): he should be Kawamata's opponent in the Asano's contest but he doesn't fight.

MURAKI-DONO (村木殿): could be read Muragi too. The military commander of the expedition against the rounin that is surprised in his sleep and captured with others key members of the operation.

MUSASHI PROVINCE (武蔵国Musashi no kuni ): was a province of Japan, which today comprises Tokyo Prefecture, most of Saitama Prefecture and part of Kanagawa Prefecture. It was sometimes called Bushū (武州). The province encompassed Kawasaki and Yokohama. Musashi bordered on Kai, Kōzuke, Sagami, Shimōsa, and Shimotsuke Provinces. Musashi was the largest province in the Kantō region. See wikipedia for more information.


MUTŌDORI (無刀取り): “no sword capture”, a technique that uses both hands to catch the opponent's sword and snatching it away.

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