Paper #1 on Katsu’s Musui’s Story


Paper #1 on Katsu’s Musui’s Story

Background.  During the late Tokugawa, Japanese society was starting to fall apart.  People were questioning their hierarchical society and that their rank and status were based on their family, not on their own accomplishments.  Peasants and outcastes were expressing their resistance and anger at being exploited and at having no legal recourse to improve their situation.  Samurai were also questioning Confucian morality vs. personal pleasure; obedience vs. personal expression; and their traditional role as fighters vs. a newer role as administrators.

Prompt:  Using Katsu as an example, show how society, particularly class structure and rigid hierarchy, is changing and breaking down during the Late Tokugawa.

HINT: Particularly look at honor, status, respect, and prestige (big concerns of Katsu’s).  How is his way of gaining these things different than a traditional samurai’s?

The paper should include:

A brief paragraph describing the four classes of society that make up the traditional Confucian class society: Samurai, Peasants, Artisans, and Merchants (i.e. provide a baseline for how it was before).

Spend the majority of the paper exploring how and why these categories are being maintained and/or challenged during this era.  (If some classes are not talked about in the book, it is ok to mainly neglect them in the paper).

This is NOT a research paper where you have to go find additional sources.  Your challenge is to mine THIS book, a primary source, to find specific examples and proof for the changes you describe.

Writing a good first paragraph:  Make sure you identify the time and place under discussion (“Late Tokugawa era Japan”).  Identify the book you will analyze (Katsu’s Musui’s Story).  State your THESIS (your main argument), which should answer the questions in the prompt.  Set out the direction for rest of paper.

Here’s an example of how the paper might start:       “Using Katsu’s Musui’s Story, this paper shows how class structure (or society) is breaking down in A, B, and C ways during the late Tokugawa.  Instead, samurai seem to be doing D, E, and F.”

Then provide specific proof from the book to back up what you are saying.  Then speculate (briefly) on why this change is happening.

Due date:  The paper is due Wednesday February 15th.  No late papers are accepted.  The paper must be handed in TWO ways.  1. It must be posted to the D2L drop box.  2. A hard copy must be handed in at the beginning of class on Feb. 15th.

Formatting:  This paper should be 4 pages long, double-spaced, written in a 12 pt font, with one inch margins, with page numbers.  Papers that are clearly short will be marked down.  The paper must have a title.  The title and your name should be two lines only (i.e. don’t take up half a page with this)

Referencing:  Any time you refer to a specific point from the story or you quote, it should be referenced.  Your reference should look like this: (Katsu, page #).  If you use the textbook or lecture, reference them like this (Ebrey, page #) or (lecture, date).  Please do NOT quote from the textbook.  If you use an outside source, use the last name of the first author listed and a page number.

Bibliography:  All papers must have a bibliography on a separate (5th) page.  Make sure all items use proper bibliographic form.  For example:

Katsu Kokichi. Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988.

If you use an internet source (which I do not advise), you must provide not only the address, but also the title, author, publishing information/institution, and the date that you checked it

A note on Asian Names:  Please note that in East Asian countries, the surname (last name) is written first and the personal name is written second.  When referring to any of the characters, please use their last names.  For example, use Katsu, not Kokichi.

A note on the textbook:  Please note that in terms of time period this text is most associated with Chapter 19 in the textbook.