of the Two Courts Period
by William de Lange
From the author of the bestselling Famous Japanese Swordsmen: The Warring States comes more solid sword history in the guise of thrilling narrative. The Two Courts Period was a turning point in Japan's medieval era—a time when an unbridgeable rift appeared in the fragile fabric of Japanese feudal society. On each side stood a separate imperial court, each with its own army and its own agenda. As the schism deepened and the positions hardened, one by one clans and domains were rent asunder until each and every man faced the terrible choice between loyalty and friendship.
Two such men were Nennami Okuyama Jion and Chûjô Hyôgo no Kami Nagahide, who faced each other from across the dazzling divide. Jion, an impoverished warrior monk who had lost his father through the treachery of a Bakufu official, joined the side of the loyalists, the forces fighting on behalf of the Southern Court. Nagahide, whose ancestors had stood at the cradle of feudal society and had risen to high rank within the Bakufu, was bound by duty to the Northern Court.
Their stories, set against the greater historical backdrop of ruthless political intrigue and vast military campaigns, describe the tragedy of civil war experienced at the personal level; they tell of loyalty, of betrayal, and of seemingly insurmountable setbacks. Yet the friendship between these two so disparate men, founded on their mutual love of swordsmanship and forged in the midst of a chaotic world, stands as moving testimony to courage that can have no equal in times of peace.
William de Lange studied Japanese language and culture at the University of Leiden and at Waseda University in Japan. Active as a translator and interpreter, he is also the author of A Dictionary of Japanese Idioms, Iaido, and Pars Japonica: The First Dutch Expedition to Reach the Shores of Japan.
256 pp, 5.25 x 8.25, Soft
64 b&w photos, maps, diagrams, chronology glossary, index
Japanese swords and swordsmanship / Japanese history / Martial arts