“Reki-jo” or “History Girls”

Say, speaking of “Mounts of Ears,” guess what the latest trend is among the young ladies of Japan? Well, many Japanese women are now looking for men who exhibit stronger characteristics demonstrated in, uh… Japan’s past. In what could be a tacit revolt against the rise of “girly” and “wimpy” men of Japan’s pop culture, many of today’s Japanese women are looking to the past for inspiration.

Now, would these be Confucian scholars and bureaucrats? No. Would they perhaps be Meji reformers or great industrialists like Masaru Ibuka or Kiichiro Toyoda? Uh, no. Today’s Japanese young ladies are looking to the samurai warriors of old as an example of men who exhibit the “strong” characteristics they often see lackingย in today’s men. This latest trend is called “Reki-jo” or “history girls.”

A favorite? Why, none other then Imjin War Scourge of God himself, Katล Kiyomasa. BBC Video link here. Youtube (via JapanProbe) link here.

  • http://www.san-shin.org sanshinseon

    So i wonder if Korean girls, in parallel, will return to admiring Seonbi-type guys…? It’s too late for me to benefit from that again, but would be a welcome trend to return it, anywayz…

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Depends. Do you have a phoney SKY or Yale degree?.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • gangpehmoderniste

    Wait a second, you’re trying to tell me all this time and money (let alone the atrocious dieting) wasted on trying to convince my Asian Princess i’m a cultured, fine wine-loving, sensitive, delicate, listening-to-Vivaldi Italian gentleman (while in real i numb myself with hardcore punk music in front of a plate full of junk while watching the UFC and the K-1 and i also don’t mind a good brawl here and there) was actually useless ??????

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    This thread is as good as any to mention this, but anyone here watch Spike TV?

    They did a episode of Deadlest Warrior of Samurai vs. Viking. Which would win head to head comparing weapons, strategy, armor, physical strength (average Samauri height is 5-4 and average Viking height is 5-11), etc. Interesting outcome…


  • http://pawikirogii.blogspot.com pawikirogii

    this is related:

    ๋งˆ์ด๋ฐ์ผ๋ฆฌ = ํ•œํ˜์Šน ๊ธฐ์ž] ์ผ๋ณธ ์ธ๊ธฐ ์˜จ๋ผ์ธ๊ฒŒ์ž„ ‘๋Œ€ํ•ญํ•ด์‹œ๋Œ€’์— ๋™ํ•ด๋ฅผ ํ•œ๊ตญํ•ด๋กœ ํ‘œ๊ธฐํ–ˆ๋‹ค. ์ด ๊ฒŒ์ž„์— ์‚ฌ์šฉ๋œ ์ง€๋„์— ๋™ํ•ด๋ฅผ ํ”„๋ž‘์Šค์–ด๋กœ ‘ํ•œ๊ตญํ•ด”๋กœ ํ‘œ๊ธฐ ํ–ˆ๋‹ค๊ณ  ์ผ๋ณธ ์‚ฐ์ผ€์ด ์‹ ๋ถ„์ด 5์ผ ๋ณด๋„ํ–ˆ๋‹ค.

    ์ด ๊ฒŒ์ž„์€ 15~17์„ธ๊ธฐ ์ดˆ ์œ ๋Ÿฝ์˜ ๋ฐฐ๋“ค์ด ์ „์„ธ๊ณ„๋ฅผ ๋Œ์•„๋‹ค๋‹ˆ๋ฉฐ ํ•ญ๋กœ๋ฅผ ๊ฐœ์ฒ™ํ•˜๊ณ  ํƒํ—˜๊ณผ ๋ฌด์—ญ์„ ํ•˜๋Š” ๋ฐฐ๊ฒฝ์œผ๋กœ ๊ฒŒ์ž„ ์œ ์ €๋Š” ์ƒ์—…๊ณผ ๋ฌด์—ญ์„ ๊ฐ„์ ‘ ๊ฒฝํ—˜ํ•  ์ˆ˜ ์žˆ๋Š” ์—ญํ• ์ˆ˜ํ–‰๊ฒŒ์ž„์ด๋‹ค.

    ํ•œ๊ตญํ•ด๋ผ๋Š” ํ‘œ๊ธฐ๋Š” ๊ฒŒ์ž„์˜ ์‹œ์ž‘ ํ™”๋ฉด์— ๋“ฑ์žฅํ•˜๋Š” ์˜œ ์ง€๋„์— ๋šœ๋ ทํ•˜๊ฒŒ ๋“ฑ์žฅํ•œ๋‹ค. ๋ณด๋„๊ฐ€ ๋‚˜๊ฐ€๊ณ  ๊ทน์šฐ์„ฑํ–ฅ ์ผ๋ณธ์ธ๋“ค์ด ์ด์— ํ•ญ์˜๋ฅผ ํ–ˆ์ง€๋งŒ ๊ฒŒ์ž„ ์ œ์ž‘์‚ฌ์ธ ๊ณ ์—์ด๋Š” “ํ˜„์กดํ•˜๋Š” ๊ณ ์ง€๋„๋ฅผ ๊ทธ๋Œ€๋กœ ์ด์šฉํ–ˆ๋‹ค. ์ˆ˜์ •ํ•  ์ƒ๊ฐ์€ ์—†๋‹ค”๋ผ๊ณ  ๋ฐํ˜”๋‹ค.

    ๊ณ ์—์ด๋Š” ๊ตญ๋‚ด์—์„œ๋Š” ‘๋Œ€ํ•ญ์˜์‹œ๋Œ€’, ‘์‚ผ๊ตญ์ง€’, ‘์ง„์‚ผ๊ตญ๋ฌด์Œ’ ์‹œ๋ฆฌ์ฆˆ ๊ฐœ๋ฐœ ํšŒ์‚ฌ๋กœ ์ž˜ ์•Œ๋ ค์ ธ ์žˆ๋‹ค.


  • http://forum.koreansentry.com Koreansentry

    Do these girls also know that these fearsome Samurai warriors killed a hundreds of innocent victims and raped many young girls? Under the Samurai warlords rule, Japanese commoners were living in hell on earth, they became slaves of Samurais and have to give up everything for Samurai.

  • Granfalloon

    Who won the fight? The link won’t play for those of us in the ๋Œ€ํ•œ๋ฏผ๊ตญ.

  • DLBarch

    After 10 days off the grid, this is as good a post as any to jump back into the swim of things, so here goes:

    Men who actually act like men never go out of style.

    ‘nough said.


  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936


    Hahaha… similar comment on JapanProbe, “So, women like manly men… Really? Big whoop.”


    For which link are you referring to?

  • Granfalloon

    The Spike TV link. I will get no rest tonight unless I know who would win in a fight between a viking and a samurai.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    OOOhhh… hahahaha.

    In their computer simulations the Samurai wins about 55% of the time in about a 1,000 simulated battles. The Viking has superior physical strength, good shield and good body armor. The Samurai has superior skill, better body armor and the bow and arrow. Interestingly, the katana could not penetrate the Viking’s chain mail but the Samurai war mace could break a Viking wooden shield.

    I think Mongol beats anybody (pre-industrial age), like they did in actual history. Nobody could stop the Mongols. The only thing that stopped the Mongols is if the land they were trying to conquer didn’t have enough vegetation to feed their horses. That’s how Eastern Europe was spared.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    My favorite comparison they did was Green Beret vs. Spetnatz. The Spetnatz won most of the time in head to head battles. However, Green Berets and Spetnatzs are totally different type of warriors. Spetnatz are more shock troops and commandos in a traditional sense whereas Green Berets are really more anti-insurgency forces. In addition to fighting, Green Berets are expected to train friendly forces, set up some infrastructure, reduce effectiveness of insurgencies, etc.

    A better match-up would have been Spetnatz vs. Navy Seal.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    The only thing that stopped the Mongols is if the land they were trying to conquer didn’t have enough vegetation to feed their horses. That’s how Eastern Europe was spared.

    Huh? Ever heard of the Hungarian Plains, grasshopper. There was plenty of grazing in Eastern Europe, and the Mongols conquered all of it – Poland, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, etc., etc. – although the Magyars kept up the fight for a good long while, even though half the population was killed. They didn’t go on to WesternEurope, but that’s pretty clearly because of the death of ร–gedei and the subsequent internal conflict among the Mongols themselves.

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr

    I am really surprised to learn that the Mongols spared Eastern Europe! We learn so much here at the Marmot’s Hole.

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr

    Back to the original topic, when I was in graduate school I knew many ESL students because my then-girlfriend was a Korean graduate student whose area of study was Japanese literature. Her Japanese female friends all were dating Korean males, and every time the topic was discussed the Japanese girls reported that the Korean men were much more “manly” than the effete Japanese students.

    Such a shame, then, that these days younger Korean men favor such a totally faggy style… They’re missing out!

  • cmm

    Anybody else?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936


    From wiki:

    The Mongols avoided the Bohemian forces, but defeated the Hungarians in the Battle of Mohi.[7] But news that the Grand Khan ร–gedei had died the previous year caused the descendants of the Grand Khan to return to the Mongol capital of Karakorum for the kurultai which would elect the next Khagan, and probably saved the Polish lands from being completely overrun and by the Mongols.

    So Sperwer is right. However, it was always hard for the Mongols to keep coming back to Eastern Europe given that the Hungarian plains were one of the few places where they could effectively pasture their horses and basing themselves there always meant that their communication and supply lines were very much stretched.

    Per wiki again:

    upon learning of the death of ร–gedei Khan (third son of Gengis Khan, uncle of Batu Khan in 1241 they returned back eastwards to their steppe homelands. This arguably could have saved the rest of Europe from suffering the catastrophes that befell the armies and towns of Poland, and Hungary, however the streched lines of communication and the lack of vast open tracts of pasture land might well have been the undoing of such a venture.

    So… I’m not wrong… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • virtual wonderer

    I guess since Russia and Ukraine counts as eastern europe, Mongols most definitely did not spare eastern europe…. but if eastern europe’s boundary is set at Poland/Hungary, I would say that they were indeed spared.

    That is… when comparing the utter horrific human devastation the Mongols unleashed at places like China, Iran, Baghdad….

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936


    Proves my point even more. Russia and the Ukraine had vast amounts of steppes for pasturing horses, hence they were not spared.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Soโ€ฆ I’m not wrongโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‰

    About what? Your original claim was that “Eastern” Europe was spared the Mongol scourge because of of the logistical problem presented by lack of pasture. That clearly was wrong, even by Wikipedia standards. The fact that the Mongols didn’t invade the West doesn’t save your claim, especially since there is no factual basis for asserting that their not doing so was a result of the claimed logistical reasons.

    Whether Western Europe escaped Mongol depredations for such claimed reasons, as even Wiki’s choice of language reveals, is at best pure speculation. It’s not something about which one can be right or wrong. The only ascertainable fact is that the Mongols withdrew from Eastern Europe because of Oegedei’s death and the the subsequent internecine fighting among the Mongols; those facts are also the only factually plausible explanation for why they didn’t invade the West.

    But hey, I guess it’s some comfort to know that when it comes to counterfactual historical fantasizing you don’t discriminate between Korean and other history. :)

  • gbnhj

    Heck, even after all these years, I can still recall Jon Bridgman (University of Washington Professor Emeritus, History) telling my freshman HIST 111 class about how the Mongols ripped their way into Eastern Europe, only to stop short due to internal conflicts. (Great lecturer, he was, btw – he really brought the subject matter to life.)

  • gbnhj

    Here’s a link with background on Bridgman – a really great guy.

    BTW, I also had classes at UW with a Poli Sci prof whose views on Korean political development is often disparaged here at The ‘Hole (and rightly so) – Bruce Cumings. At that time, Cummings was also enamored of Nicarauguan politics, and would blather on about the Sandanista’s seeming purity, apparently oblivious to their human rights violations. Now, those were tough classes to sit through.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Sounds like you were very fortunate to have been able to study with him, George.

  • gbnhj

    Surely you were referring to Bridgman, sperwer, and I do think I was. In fact, in a wistful mood, I sometimes wish I could return to those lectures. I don’t want to go back to my undergraduate days, but it would be fantastic if I were retired and back in Seattle, so that I might sometimes sit in on a class and hear him speak again.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    But hey, I guess itโ€™s some comfort to know that when it comes to counterfactual historical fantasizing you donโ€™t discriminate between Korean and other history.

    Sperwer, I try to be gracious with you and was very acknowledging of your very important point regarding ร–gedei. I do ask that you acknowledge my point as well with as much respect as I afford to you, but reciprocation doesn’t appear to be a strength of yours.

    Of course the death of ร–gedei in 1241 and the subsequent infighting was decisive in saving Eastern Europe (outside of Russia and the Ukraine). However, many historians also said that logistical considerations were important in saving that part of Europe from persistent Mongol raids and further attempts at conquest after 1241. The lack of pasture lands also helped save Syria and hence Egypt. This is the view taken by scholars Denis Sinor of Indiana University and David Morgan at University of Wisconsin Madison.

    It’s not surprising at all that an undergraduate general history class (HIST 111) wouldn’t mention the logistical difficulties of Mongol campaigning. Mongol invasions being limited by the simple logistics of being able to feed horses makes total sense. There is nothing counterfactual about it. You seem to have difficulty with synthesizing new ideas that offer supplemental and important data that is contrary to your viewpoint.

  • gbnhj

    Itโ€™s not surprising at all that an undergraduate general history class (HIST 111) wouldnโ€™t mention the logistical difficulties of Mongol campaigning. Mongol invasions being limited by the simple logistics of being able to feed horses makes total sense. There is nothing counterfactual about it. You seem to have difficulty with synthesizing new ideas that offer supplemental and important data contrary past thinking. (emphasis mine)

    Were you addressing me with this, WangKon? Well, for the record, I agree with you that additional theories might not have been brought up in a class of that type, given both the objectives and limitations of a course of its type. And, to be sure, while my statements above do express my understanding of what sperwer wrote, they do not, in fact, take up his arguement with you.

    Read what I wrote again: Where do you get the idea that I am arguing with you on the point? Where do you get the idea that I have some inability to take in new information?

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    No, not you. Essentially Sperwer in #20.

  • gbnhj

    Then don’t bring me into it – that’s not very cool.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer


    The genuinely gracious do not self-importantly self-advertise it.

    Nor do they deliberately misrepresent an interlocutor’s view, as you do mine by misleadingly conflating my comment with GBNHJ’s in an effort to demean it as nothing but the reflection of an undergraduate lecture.

    And they do not simply make appeals to authority, with blunderbuss references that do not even specify the particular information and arguments made by the alleged authority, in place of arguments.

    As for the substance, I do not have ready access at the moment to Morgan’s book, but a look at Sinor’s work demonstrates quite nicely where you (and he) go wrong in making unfounded historical claims. Sinor starts his discussion of the Mongols’ withdrawal from Eastern Europe by making the rather astonishing claim that (presumably until his interpretation) there has been “no satisfactory explanation” why the Mongols left Hungary (and by extension Eastern Europe.) Of course, as even you recognize, this is nonsense, because the death of ร–gedei and the ensuing competition among the various claimants to primus inter pares status among the Mongol khans, and the established custom of the Mongols of repairing to the homeland to sort things out, have been well-established as the decisive (and, I would argue, only “proven”) explanation; logically, of course, they are also perfectly “sufficient”. Apparently, however, that is not enough for Sinor, who seems to think that only a “materialist” explanation will do. As far as that is concerned, Sinor then proceeds to argue that the Hungarian Plain did not have the carrying capacity to support the Mongols’ livestock, particularly their all important horses. Even assuming that Sinor’s claims regarding the (in)adequacy of the Hungarian pasturage are true, though, his argument falls far short of demonstrating that “fact” as having been of any causal significance. He adduces no evidence whatsoever that it was recognized by the Mongol leadership itself or, if it did, whether it influenced their decision to withdraw. He simply assumes affirmative answers to these questions. Those might be reasonable assumptions, but they fall far short of constituting the “satisfactory” explanation that he claims to offer; his position is just an hypothesis in search of further evidence. Moreover, Sinor fails to take account of the capacity of the North German and Polish plains to make up for what the Hungarian pastures lacked in carrying capacity. And he also seems to overlook his own earlier discussion of the Mongol dominance in China, the pasturage and fodder production capacity of which he also indicates were inadequate to support the Mongol cavalry there – the point being that perhaps nowhere except in Mongolia itself did the conditions exist that would enable the Mongols to rule (as opposed to invade, loot and pillage) based solely on the military might of their cavalry. One could argue, of course, that in China they could sustain themselves because of the relative proximity of Mongolia; but then (assuming one takes into consideration the full scope of the pasturage in Eastern Europe proper AND the steppe lands of the Ukraine and Eastern Russia) the same could be said of Eastern Europe.

    In any event, nothing Sinor says can rescue your original claim that Eastern Europe was spared devastation by the Mongols because of insufficient grazing lands. The simple fact is that Eastern Europe was devastated by the Mongols. Even the more ostensibly defensible claim that the Mongols did not stay around after their blitzkrieg because of the lack of pasturage is historically-speaking both an unproven hypothesis and an unnecessary one given the existence of another demonstrated and sufficient explanation.

    The gracious thing for you to have done was simply to have acknowledged you were mistaken and not started shucking and jiving like a high school forensics tyro caught out in an egregious overstatement and bent on claiming victory when he’s lost.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Surely you were referring to Bridgman, sperwer

    Yes, gbnh; Cumings makes my blood boil – so much energy and scholarship marred by such flawed interpretations

  • gangpehmoderniste

    Are you guys really arguing over how many sciavi (North eastern Italian slur for slavic people) the Golden Horde butchered ?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer


  • slim

    I gotta give this round to Sperwer.

  • NetizenKim

    Yeah, gotta agree. Wasting time arguing about grass, horses, and Mongols with Sperwer.

    Meanwhile, Wangkon totally ignores my currency and investment related question addressed specifically to him in the open thread, which is a topic that he should be knowledgeable about…

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936


    I did not intent to offend you so apologies if it was interpreted that way.


    I acknowledged that you were correct earlier and the established orthodoxy of how Eastern Central Europe was spared significant Mongol domination because of ร–gedei’s dealth and the ensuing internal power struggles. I also appreciate you outlining your beliefs and your interpretations in # 29 in a manner that is logical and systematic. It is a welcomed change from our earlier exchanges.

    It is my opinion that military campaigns cannot be divorced from logistical considerations. As Napoleon said, an army marches on its stomach and in the Mongol horde, the horses are an integral part of the army. The stark reality is if a population of 100-200k war horses cannot be sustained (due to the Mongols relying on numerous remounts per warrior), then the Mongol horde cannot stay there for long. The theory (or hypothesis as you state, but I prefer theory because there is some data and some decent logic behind it) that some scholars consider logistics as the main reason that Mongolian invasions of Eastern Central Europe were not sustainable is a less developed one. I hazzard to guess that’s because most historians are political creatures rather than ones that rely on quantifiable rationale. If more historians had been quartermasters (or CFOs for that matter) it would be different. And your belief as to why the Mongols couldn’t just pasture their horses in Russia? Well, the Mongols didn’t even have full control of all of today’s European Russia. They were not able to conquer the principalities in Smolensk and Novgorod (near modern day Moscow) and thus didn’t really have direct administrative control of much of the Russian heartland. The partial subjugation of most of Russa didn’t happen until the late 13th and early 14th centuries, thus denying their use to the Mongols until after their period of consistently raiding Eastern Central Europe. They ended up having the most direct administrative control of the areas around the Crimea and the lower Volga river, which eventually became Tartar lands.

    We can agree to disagree. The world (and this blog) is big enough for more then two opinions to coexist without the other party (be it you, me or anyone for that matter) trying to insult or inveigle the other. I’ll leave it at that.


    I spend 8-10 hours a day, five to six days a week talking about that crap. I like to give it a rest at TMH. Plus, I really don’t spend a lot of time in the open threads. If you have a direct question, please email me. I provide my email address somewhere in the bowels of this blog.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer


    I happen to agree with your observations about the importance of logistics; but they’re just commonplaces of a level of generality that is trivial and in any event tell us nothing about what the Mongols actually did – people make bad decisions or decisions that are not in line with “best practices” all the time. It’s also a commonplace that one does not divide one’s forces, particularly in relatively unknown terrain and especially in terrain that makes it impossible for the divided forces to maintain effective combat communication with one another. Nevertheless, that is just what MacArthur did after Inchon when he sent IX corps into northeastern Korea and 2ID and the rest of 8th Army into the northwest – resulting the the debacles at the Chosin Reservoir and Unsan. The Allied forces’ supply and communication lines to the rear also were unreasonably long. Still the dispositive reason for the Allied defeats was just MacArthur and Willoughby’s criminally reckless determination to ignore and distort the intelligence they had received about the presence of the Chinese in North Korea and the decision to send the Allied armies north of Pyongyang without taking into account the entry of massive numbers of Chinese into the war.

    Your observations regarding the exceptions to Mongol control around Moscow are similarly unavailing, as the territory in question was relatively small – and marginal in any case; the bulk and the most productive of the “Russian” pasture land was in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, the Crimea and the other vast steppe lands of the south over which the Mongols had firm control.

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