April 30, 2006

Part 16 (A Thousand Leagues of Wind)

Chapter 63

Youko first learns about brothel decore in chapter 22 of Shadow of the Moon.

Chapter 61

The author here is echoing the story and ethics of the Forty-Seven Samurai, who upheld the bushido code by coming forward after the deed was accomplished, delivering themselves to the authorities, and then voluntarily committing seppuku.

Chapter 60

松塾 [しょうじゅく] Evergreen Seminary
産県 [さんけん] San County
支松 [ししょう] Shishou (city)
支錦 [しきん] Shikin (city)

Kantai's commentary on the tension between scholars of the Way and imperial rule echoes the ruthless though bureaucratically efficient Zheng, first emperor of the Qin Era (247 BC to 221 BC), who silenced criticism of his rule by Confucian scholars by executing them and burning their books. Zheng would also seem to be the model for Shoukei's father, the King of Hou, and a political ideology established in opposition to Confucianism known as "Legalism."

The Provincial Guard and the National Guard

"National Guard" is something of an oxymoron in the U.S., because it's really an army and air force of state militias. A law known as Posse Comitatus restricts the regular army from operating within the borders of the United States. National Guard units are exempted.

Every U.S. state has an Army and Air National Guard that can be mobilized by the governor, usually during natural disasters or domestic disturbances such as riots. This makes the National Guard equivalent to the Provincial Guard in the novels, while the regular U.S. Army is analogous to the Imperial Army.

To make things even more complicated, though, the National Guard is part of the U.S. Army and Air Force reserves, under the control of the Pentagon, and the president can mobilize National Guard units to serve under the command of the regular Army (as currently in Iraq).

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# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
5/22/2006 10:45 AM