notes about book 10
first Europeans to have contact with the Japanese archipelago were
Portuguese sailors shipwrecked off Kyushu in the year 1543. That year
is noteworthy to the Inuyasha story because it was those sailors
who introduced the musket to Japan. Soldiers on at least one Inuyasha
battlefield carry muskets: therefore, we know that the original Inuyasha
takes place relatively late in the Sengoku Jidai period, definitely
after 1543 (which means the "500 years ago" line isn't really
accurateit has to be between 400 and 450 years ago).
the Sengoku Jidai period ended in 1600, and Inuyasha was pinned
to the tree for 50 years, that doesn't leave us quite enough time
for him to have seen European sailors on Kyushu when he was six or
seven years old
could say that the 50 years he was sealed was an estimatethat
it was more like, oh, 47 years. And there are actually some anachronisms
in Inuyasha, which after all takes place in a fairy-tale version
of the Sengoku Jidai. Or I could have decided to draw Chinese
or Indian or Korean pirates.
I have a situation I want to use later in the story that calls for
Inuyasha to have seen those English pirates. And the little ruffled
collars are fun to draw. And the codpieces are funny, period. For
those who didn't know: When Koinu mentions the pirates' trousers being
strange, he is delicately expressing his astonishment at the codpiece,
a stuffed pocketsometimes hugely stuffed with cotton wadding,
or with lunchthat was worn directly over the male genitalia,
which it was intended to enhance. It is the funniest, most embarrassing
garment in the history of western costumefar beyond the level
of, say, crotchless panties or candy underwear because it was worn
quite flagrantly over the other clothing as everyday wear by regular
people. More than just a fly for the trousers, it was indeed used
to carry belongings, or stuffed so that it could be used as a pincushion.
If you did Shakespeare in school, they probably left this very important
item off the guys' costumes, but its use reached a peak during the
reign of Henry VIII of England and the early Elizabethan period, which
puts it right in our time period.
I decided to invent a little piece of Japanese history for the express
purpose of this comic. In the Hero world, Sesshoumaru made contact
with some of the less savory members of the European sailing community
before those Portuguese sailors ever arrived off Kyushu, so that European
ships were sneaking into the Stronghold twenty or thirty years before
the "official" arrival of westerners.
Inuyasha's loss of innocence, and Koinu's confession
long confession speech was written back in early October 2001, at
the same time as its companion piece, the whole realization/reunion
story of books 4 and 5.
the summer of 2002, there were in the United States a number of highly
publicized incidents of children and young women being abducted by
strangers. Some victims survived; some were raped; some were murdered,
including five-year-old Samantha Runnion, who was abducted from outside
her home and who did all the things we teach children to do to keep
them safekick, scream, fight, tell an adult. Samantha, who did
everything she was supposed to do, still died terribly.
I wrote the story of Inuyasha's abduction by the huntsman (book 7)
I was in fact quite consciously constructing a metaphorical rape.
Although Inuyasha is not literally sexually assaulted, he is tricked
into following an adult he trusts into an isolated location, attacked
and penetrated (run through with a dagger) and nearly killed. The
huntsman convinces him to remove part of his clothing by telling him
he is undergoing initiation to become a samurai. In fact, samurai
initiation often did include rape: samurai training involved a mentor
system which in some households during some periods required the apprentice
to be sexually receptive to his mentor, the theory being that lovers
would have extra incentive to protect one another on the field of
the script for his confession to Kagome, Koinu says, "I just
wanted him to stop! I just wanted to get away! I wanted to run away
and tell somebody, so they'd make him stop and leave me alone!"
This was taken from the advice we give abused children: get away,
go tell an adult, keep telling until somebody makes the person stop.
It's rough. Children are more realistic than we are: they assume we'll
take the word of an adult over that of a child, they know that adults
are reluctant to get involved when there is a physical dispute between
child and grownup. I gave Koinu that line because I wanted that echo
of well-meaning promises, and of childlike helplessness.
was transferring the issue from roughs to final boards when I realized
how that dialogue hit home in the context of the times. I haven't
changed it: it says what I want it to say. Ordinarily I wouldn't explain
it, as I haven't explained most of the undertones and hidden references
in this book (but I'm thinking of putting annotations on the site,
just to give younger readers an idea of how to read between the lines
when a book pulls from the kinds of varied sources I've used for The
Hero). Given the summer we've had, though, I want readers to be
aware that this part of the book wasn't intended to be sensationalistic
or disrespectful. It's an integral part of the character I'm describing.
September 5, 2002
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