kaigou: the kraken stirs, and ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. (3 the kraken stirs)
[personal profile] kaigou
Alright, so there was this guy called Oda Nobunaga, but he also had the title of Kazusanosuke (as in Kazusa-no-suke, I think it was, which apparently means "vice-governor of Kazusa province"). In the manga I've been reading, some characters call him Nobunaga, and some call him Kazusanosuke. The same happens for other characters, like Oda Nobuyuki, who also gets called Kanjuurou, or Maeda Toshiie, who sometimes get called Matazaemon.

There seems to be a general pattern, in that Nobuyuki and Nobunaga's advisors both refer to him as Nobunaga, but his own wife calls him Kazusanosuke. And the opponent's advisors refer to Nobuyuki as Kanjuurou.

What was the deal with names? Did the position-title (which I presume names like "Kanjuurou" are) stand in for surnames, or something? What's the logic of when one is used, versus another?

Date: 3 Feb 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
This is garnered from /really/ patchy reading, so take it with a grain of salt. But the pattern I've seen is that, yes, titles very often stand in completely for names (still do today). The order seems to be title-alone is most formal, title-appended-to-name is next most formal, and name-generic-title is least formal of the formal options.

For his wife to be using a position-title for him kind of suggests that it was dynastic marriage, not a love match of any kind, which (again, take with salt) seems to have been more common than not among the whole buke/samurai class, even the petty-samurai.

For a modern example, Prince of Tennis is actually a pretty clear one: the first years call the third year captain "buchou" the second years call him "name-buchou" and the third year yearmates call him last-name. That's not all that different from what I've come across in historical reading. The main difference I know of is that place-titles seem to be more weighty and preferred for formal occasions than vocation-titles or generic-titles (it matters more if you're landed). LandHolding-no-kimi carries more formal oomph than AppointedOffice, though the appointed office in question may well have more actual power (depending on the period).

Date: 3 Feb 2012 04:13 pm (UTC)
maat_seshat: Shuurei seated at a desk, studying, with Kouyuu leaning in behind her. (Shuurei studying)
From: [personal profile] maat_seshat
Disclaimer: My knowledge of anything Sengoku is awful, so grain of salt for the era, and there's probably manga/historical fiction conventions at play that I don't know either. That said, referring to people by position-title was probably the most common way to refer to them in Heian/Kamakura/Muromachi eras, and definitely the way someone would do it in public or with someone they weren't close to. There was a tendency towards greater formality between sexes, which might help explain the Kazusanosuke, though Branch's not-a-love-match explanation is probably more on-point. It also depended upon when people got to know each other: parents would often use childhood names (the ones that boys in particular used until their 20th birthday coming-of-age), even after that was no longer the kid's name.

Example out of my latest Kamakura-era obsession: the romance between Hojo Masako and Minamoto Yoritomo was actually somewhat legendary, and she still always used titles (or "my honorable lord", etc, if she wanted to emphasize her position) for him in the historical records that feature her, and even mostly in private correspondence (though I haven't managed to find/read any letters specifically between the two of them). On the other hand, she did use a childhood nickname for her eldest daughter in correspondence, though it was always some formal variant on "[Yoritomo's current title]'s daughter" or a formal name that basically translates to "the daughter" in official records. I have no idea how this might have changed by Sengoku 300+ years later.


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