Nanso Satomi Hakkenden (The Chronicles of the Eight Dog Heroes of the Satomi Clan of Nanso) (南総里見八犬伝)

Nanso Satomi Hakkenden is Yomihon (copy for reading) written by Bakin KYOKUTEI (Bakin TAKIZAWA) during the late Edo period. It is also called Satomi Hakkenden, or simply, Hakkenden.

It consists of 98 volumes, 106 books in total, that started to be published in 1814 and was completed in 1842, 28 years later. It is a leading gesaku (literary work of a playful, mocking, joking, silly or frivolous nature) during the Edo period like "Ugetsu Monogatari" (Tales of Moon and Rain) written by Akinari UEDA, and one of the classics of Japanese fantasy novels.

Summary

"Nanso Satomi Hakkenden" is a fantasy novel about eight youngsters (eight dog warriors) bound by a fateful connection in another world between Princess Fuse, a princess of the Satomi clan in Awa Province, and the god dog Yatsufusa, set in the late Muromachi period. The dog warriors, whose family names contain the kanji for 'dog' in common, have a peony-shaped bruise somewhere on their body, as well as a bead of Juzu (rosary) with the kanji for humanity, justice, courtesy, wisdom, loyalty, sincerity, filial piety and obedience respectively (Beards of Jingi-hachigyo [eight benevolences and righteousnesses]). Born in different places within Kanhasshu (the Eight Provinces of Kanto region), they get to know each other guided by the fate while experiencing hardships, and gather together under the Satomi family.

"Hakkenden" is most strongly influenced by "Suikoden" (The Water Margin). For example, both stories have a similar beginning and structure, as can be seen from the fact that in "Suikoden" 108 magic stars fly in all directions and later appear as heroes and heroines in various locations while in "Hakkenden" eight beards fly in all directions and later appear as the eight dog warriors. "Hakkenden" is made from the story of "Suikoden," that contains violent parts, new ideas were added and it was established as a moral story of kanzen choaku (rewarding good and punishing evil) based on Confucian ethics, in which loyal subjects, dutiful children and faithful women are rewarded and crafty courtiers, adulterers and evil women are punished.

Bakin spent last half of his life, from 48 to 75, writing this story. Though he met with difficulties including the loss of his sight in the course of writing, he barely managed to make it to the last episode with the help of Michi TOKIMURA, the wife of his son Sohaku, who took dictation.
In those days "Hakkenden" had an average circulation of 500 copies a year but it was read by a larger number of people than that through book lending, and it was so popular that Bakin himself said, 'Hakkenden for those who know me, Hakkenden even for those who don't know me.'
During the Meiji period Shoyo TSUBOUCHI, in "Shosetsu shinzui" (The essence of the novel), criticized "Hakkenden" as the typical gesaku literature from another age which must be overcome by early-modern literature, insisting that 'the eight dog warriors were monsters of Jingi-hachigyo instead of being human beings,' but such criticism gives evidence of the major impact that "Hakkenden" had in those days.

"Hakkenden" has influenced creative activities in various genres including popular literature, drama, comics and animation, and has been adapted many times.
Countless works use similar motifs as those of "Hakkenden," including 'Gikyodai (nonbiological brothers based on mutual vows) bound by a fateful connection in another life,' 'common stigma, ball of soul or character in the name' and 'Murasame, celebrated sword which gives out mist when drawn.' (see "Works based on Nanso Satomi Hakkenden.")
Furthermore, Bakin's anecdotes from the time when he wrote "Hakkenden" have been made a theme of many creations including "Gesakuzanmai" written by Ryunosuke AKUTAGAWA.

The Satomi clan is a daimyo (feuderal lord) which really existed, but it is sometimes referred to as 'the SATOMI family famous for Hakkenden.'
Images of the fantastic romance concerning "Hakkenden" contribute to tourism and publicity of the areas connected with the SatomiI family, including the Awa area, but fiction is sometimes confounded with historical facts.

Plot

The long plot of this novel can be roughly divided into three parts; the beginning part telling the sudden rise of the Satomi family in the Nanso region and the fateful connection between Princess Fuse and Yatsufusa (Story of Princess Fusa), the story of eight dog warriors who, born in different places within Kanhasshu, wander and band together (Lives of Dog Warriors) and the part leading to the denouement in which the eight dog warriors, serving the Satomi family, fight the kubo (shogunal representative) allied forces led by Koga, Kanto Kanrei (A shogunal deputy for the Kanto region) (the great battle of Kanto or the war against Kanrei). In extract copies, Shinbe's episode in Kyoto or episodes after the war against Kanrei are often omitted.

Beginning

Yoshizane SATOMI, a warrior who survived the Yuki War, fled to Awa, where he became the lord of Takita-jo Castle after defeating Sadakane YAMASHITA, Gyakushin (rebellious subject) who had killed the former lord, Mitsuhiro JINYO. Yoshizane considered sparing Tamazusa, Sadakane's wife, but went back on his word after being reproached by Hachiro KANAMARI, and so Tamazusa was decapitated with curses. Years later, Kagetsura ANZAI of the neighboring province Tateyama invaded the territory of the Satomi family, taking advantage of famine which had struck the territory. When the castle was about to fall, Yoshizane joked with his dog Yatsufusa that he would give the dog his daughter, Princess Fuse, if it killed Kagetsura, and Yatsufusa, barking once, jumped into the enemy encampment and came back with Kagetsura's head. Yoshizane offered to Yatsufusa feasts fit for a king as well as its personal valets, but the dog showed no interest and finally broke into Princess Fuse's bedroom. Yoshizane was furious when he found it out, but Princess Fuse told him that a lord should not break his promise, even a promise he has made to a dog, and entered Mt. Toyama with Yatsufusa. Princess Fuse spent her days there reading Buddhist sutras to god, never allowing Yatsufusa to touch her, and Yatsufusa listened to the sutras. The next year Princess Fuse showed signs of pregnancy, and a child hermit whom she encountered in the mountain told her that Yatsufusa had been cursed by Tamazusa, that Tamazusa's curse had been cleared up by the merit of the sutras but that Princess got pregnant with Yatsufusa's ki (essence, phenomenon). She was so ashamed of her pregnancy that she tried to kill herself, when Daisuke KANAMARI, who had just entered Mt. Toyama, shot her by mistake. On the verge of death, Princess Fuse disemboweled herself in front of Yoshizane and Daisuke and demonstrated that she did not have a dog's baby in her womb. Pure essence which flowed out of her wound carried her beads into the sky, and dispersed eight large beads bearing letters of Jingi-hachigyo. Daisuke, who was prevented by Yoshizane from following the Princess and killing himself, took on the form of Buddhist priest, called himself Chu-dai, a name made from the kanji for a dog by dividing it into two characters, and set out on a journey to find the dispersed beads.

Lives of Dog Warriors

Shino INUZUKA in Musashi-Otsuka village had been brought up as a girl since he was little as requested by his mother, who had died young, in her will. One day Shino's uncle and aunt, the village head reported that Shino's dog Yoshiro ran wild in their house and destroyed migyosho (document of shogunate order) given by the Kanryo Family (the family in control) (, which was a scheme conceived by Hikoroku and his wife), and Shino's father Bansaku committed suicide in order to take responsibility. Shino was adopted by the Otsuka family and designated as the future husband of Hamaji, an adopted daughter of the family. However, his aunt and uncle were planning to rob Shino of Murasame (a fictitious sword), a treasure sword of the Kamakura kubo family which had been entrusted to Shino by his father, and to get rid of him. Hikiroku and Kamezasa ordered Gakuzo (Sosuke INUKAWA), a houseboy working for the Otsuka family, to watch Shino, but by mere accident Shino and Gakuzo discovered that they had the same beads and bruise, and secretly decided to associate with each other as brothers (Gikyodai). In the summer when Shino was 18 years old, his aunt and uncle secretly substituted Murasame-maru with a fake and sent him to Nariuji ASHIKAGA, kubo in Koga. In his absence Hikiroku and his wife tried to make Hamaji Jindai's mistress, but Hamaji, longing for Shino, was deceived and was kidnapped by Samojiro ABOSHI. On the way Hamaji found that the sword carried by AboshiI was the real Murasame-maru, and in fighting to get it back was put to the sword. At that time Dosetsu INUYAMA, her elder brother by a different mother and an old retainer of the Nerima family, showed up and killed Aboshi. Hamaji asked Dosetsu to give the real Murasame-maru to Shino and then died.

Having an audience with Nariuji in Koga, Shino was suspected of being Kanrei's spy because Murasame-maru was a fake, and Nariuji's people tried to kill him. He desperately fought to protect himself, being cornered at last on the roof of Horyukaku, tackled by a former prison guard Genpachi INUKAI and fell into the Tone-gawa River together. They were carried to Gyotoku, Shimousa Province and rescued by Kobungo INUTA and his father Bungobe KONAYA, an owner of hatago (inn with meals). Konaya offered shelter to them and one day Shino was out with a high fever from tetanus which was caused by an injury he had gotten in Horyukaku. Genpachi ran to Shibaura, Musashi for medicine. As Kobungo went out to mediate a fight among his fellows and Bungobe was summoned by shokan (an officer governing shoen - manor), only Kobungo's sister Nui and her little son Daihachi were left to hold the fort at Konaya's. Then Nui's husband Fusahachi YAMABAYASHI showed up to capture Shino, who was now a wanted person. Fusahachi, having a vigorous argument with Nui, accidentally kicked Daihachi's side. Daihachi crashed through the fusuma (Japanese sliding door) and died. Through the broken fusuma Shino could be seen, panting with a high fever. Surprised, Fusahachi drew a sword, but mistakenly killed Nui, who was trying to cover Shino. Kobungo came home at that time and, seeing his sister cut down, killed Fusahachi with the sword. Shino was hidden in a backroom for a while, and Fusahachi's head was submitted to shokan's emissary under the guise of Shino's. Bungobe and Genpachi came back and grieved for the loss of Fusahachi and his wife as well as of Daihachi, but Chu-dai, who happened to stay at that hatago, brought Daihachi back to life with his juho (magic). A bead rolled down from Daihachi's left hand, which demonstrated that he also was one of the Dog Warriors. The Dog Warriors were told by Chu-dai about their fateful connection with the Satomi family, and they hurried to Otsuka village in order to rescue Sosuke, who was about to be executed for killing his master. In the meantime, Daihachi left for Awa with Chu-dai and Myoshin, Daihachi's grandmother, but was spirited off on the way. In Otsuka village the three Dog Warriors narrowly saved Sosuke, who was crucified and about to be executed. Back on the safe ground, the four Dog Warriors left for Kozuke Province, when they saw Dosetsu avenging on kanrei, Sadamasa OGIGAYATSU. Thus the five Dog Warriors gathered together on Mt. Arame, Joshu, but they split away pursued by the army of the Kanrei Family.

Kobungo fled to Musashi, met a man named Namishiro and stayed at his house. That night Kobungo was attacked by a burglar, but he managed to kill him while resisting. In the morning, when it got bright enough to see the face of the dead burglar, it turned out to be Namishiro. His wife Funamushi, while mourning her husband's rampageous behavior, gave Kobungo hitoyogiri (one-jointed bamboo musical instrument), a kind of Shakuhachi bamboo flute, as a token of good faith. Kobungo, after receiving the instrument, thought that it was too valuable and secretly put it back on the shelf while Funamushi was away. Kobungo left Funamushi's house and was suddenly overpowered by gandai of the Chiba family. In fact the bamboo flute which Funamushi had given him was famous fue Arashiyama, a treasure which had been passed down in the Chiba family but had been lost, and Funamushi reported to the Chiba family that Kobungo had stolen it. Kobungo's belongings were searched on the spot but there was no flute. As Kobungo told all that had happened since the previous night and the flute was discovered in the house, he was cleared of suspicion and Funamushi was arrested. Gandai invited Kobungo to Ishihama-jo Castle for a more detailed explanation, and introduced him to Karo (chief retainer) of the Chiba family, Daiki MAKUWARI. In fact, Daiki was the mastermind behind the theft of Arashiyama. Daiki, fearing that his crime might be revealed, put Kobungo in his own custody in the castle. Kobungo met a female Dengaku performer Asakeno (Keno INUSAKA) in the castle, whose father Tanenori AIHARA had been unjustly killed for the theft of Arashiyama and who avenged Daiki, one of the foes of her family, in Taigyuro. The two escaped from the castle taking advantage of confusion, but got separated while crossing the river. In the meantime Genpachi, visiting Shimotsuke after several provinces, encountered a specter cat in Mt. Koshin and shot it in the left eye with his bow. He chased the fleeing cat and met with Kakutaro INUMURA in Tamagaeshi village at the foot of the mountain. Kakutaro had had a wife named Hinakinu, and she was expecting a baby though she had never slept with Kakutaro since his father Norikiyo INUMURA died. Believing that his wife had committed adultery, Kakutaro divorced Hinakinu and he himself was confined to a hermitage in Tamagaeshi village. Then a man falsely taking the name of Ikkaku AKAIWA, Kakutaro's biological father, showed up and requested the pre-born baby's liver and his mother's heart as miracle medicine for a wound to his eye. Kakutaro was about to decline this request, but found himself at a loss for words when Ikkaku cried, 'Are you going to let your father die, protecting a child from an act of adultery?' and Hinakiku disemboweled herself in order to get Kakutaro out of a hole and to prove her innocence. Instead of an unborn baby, a ball of soul rolled out of her womb. In fact, when she had been ill in bed in the past, she had mistakenly swallowed the bead of soul with water. The bead of soul nullified Ikkaku's transformation and Ikkaku was turned into the specter cat which Genpachi had shot in the left eye. To see this, Kakutaro realized how he had misunderstood and killed the specter cat in cooperation with Genpachi. Kakutaro changed his name into Daikaku and joined the Dog Warriors. Visiting Kai Province, Shino became acquainted with Princess Hamaji, an adopted daughter of the head of Saruishi village. When he was plunged into a crisis, he was saved by Chu-dai and Dosetsu, who had established a base for searching for the Dog Warriors in an old temple in Isawa town. This Hamaji was actually Princess Hamaji of the Satomi family, who had been snatched away by a giant eagle when she was little. Arriving in Ojiya, Echigo Province, Kobunji met Sosuke again when he was attacked by Funamushi. After escaping from execution by a lord, Kobunji and Sosuke met Keno by chance in Shinano and told her about their fateful connection with the Satomi family, but Keno had already vowed to avenge her last remaining foe, Itsutota KOMIYAMA.

Genpachi and Daikaku, Shino and Dosetsu met each other by chance in Hokita, Musashi Province, where they decided to set up their base. In the meantime Keno had an opportunity to meet Kaname no mae, Sadamasa OGIGAYATSU's wife, in Yushima Tenjin and asked to assassinate Itsutota KOMIYAMA, a cunning retainer. Eavesdropping on this conversation, Dosetsu raised an army with Hokita goshi (country samurai) in order to kill Sadamasa taking advantage of Keno's avenge, but retreated after hearing about Kanae no mae's suicide. The seven Dog Warriors went to attend the Buddihist memorial service for those who had died in the Yuki War held by Chu-dai in Yuki, Shimousa Province.

In the meantime Motofuji HIKITA, the lord of Tateyama-jo Castle in Kazusa Province, launched a rebellion against the Satomi family with the help of Happyaku-bikuni Myochin. When the old lord Yoshizane SATOMI was attacked by an assassin in Mt. Toyama, Daihachi, who had been raised by God Princess Fuse, came to his rescue, calling himself Shinbe INUE. Shinbe suppressed Motofuji's rebellion, and Myochin, having been beaten, revealed her basic essence, a raccoon dog possessed by Tamazusa's curse. Shinbe headed for Yuki, where the eight Dog Warriors gathered together. The Dog Warriors went to Awa and served the Satomi family.

The great battle of Kanto and Denouement

Yoshinari SATOMI sent Shinbe INUE to Kyoto as an emissary to the Yoshino Court, but Kanrei Masamoto HOSOKAWA liked him so much that he refused to let him go. After defeating a tiger which had disturbed Kyoto, Shinbe headed for home. In the meantime Sadamasa OGIGAYATSU, hating the Dog Warriors and their master, the Satomi family, raised an army to defeat the Satomi family in cooperation with Akisada YAMANOUCHI and Nariuji ASHIKAGA. Wars were fought in Gyotokuguchi, Konodai and Sunozaki, and the Satomi family made great victories in each of those wars. An imperial messenger came to negotiate a cease-fire, a peace agreement was concluded and the Satomi family returned the castles it had conquered. Shino presented Murasame-maru to Nariuji, who had been taken prisoner, and accomplished a desire cherished by the three generations.

The eight Dog Warriors married Yoshizane SatomiI's eight princesses and became senior vassals. As years went by, the Dog Warriors' bruises and the letters on the beads disappeared, and kizui (auspicious good omen) was lost. Chu-dai made them give up the beads in order to turn them into eyes for Buddha Statues installed around Awa. After the third head of SatomiI family Yoshimichi died, the Dog Warriors, being elderly, transferred the head of the family to their sons and confined themselves to Mt. Toyama. It is suggested that they became hermits. Before long the Satomi family left the path of righteousness, became preoccupied with war, and as a result met its doom at the time of the 10th family head.

Kaigaijohitsu (epilogue)

The original has an 'afterword' in the form of a story written by Bakin. In the afterword, Bakin disclosed reference materials that he had relied upon, to explain about the historic facts concerning the Satomi family (based on gunkimono or war chronicles, prevailing in those days) and geography of Awa, revealed the fact that he had lost his eyesight, and said a word of appreciation for Omichi, who had transcribed the story for him.

Personal names

Refer to "Characters in Nanso Satomi Hakkenden."

Objects

Eight balls of soul

Crystal beads presented to Princess Fuse by an elderly practitioner.
They are eight large beads of the 108 beads, which originally bore the letters meaning humanity, justice, courtesy, wisdom, loyalty, sincerity, filial piety and obedience, but after Yatsufusa began to love Princess Fuse the letters turned into 'Nyoze Chikusho Hotsubo Daishin.'
When the beads flew in all directions at the time of Princess Fuse's suicide, the letters on the beads turned into 7humanity, justice, courtesy, wisdom, loyalty, sincerity, filial piety, and obedience7 again. The remaining 100 beads were threaded again and were always carried by Chu-dai hoshi as juzu (rosary). When the eight Dog Warriors get close to one another, the beads react to one another to tell the existence of another Dog Warrior, and they also have the power to accelerate healing of physical wounds and illness.

Murasame or Murasame-maru (a fictitious sword)

This is a treasure sword which has been handed down in the Ashikaga family, Kamakura kubo (Governor-general of the Kanto region) and it gives off a mist when drawn with an intention to kill. It is a sword, of which the existence and characteristics are very well known in the world of Hakkenden. It was entrusted by Shosaku INUZUKA, kinju (attendant) serving the kubo family, to his only son Bansaku at the time of the fall of Yuki-jo Castle, and Bansaku, on the verge of death, entrusted it to his son Shino INUZUKA and asked him to present it to Nariuji the Koga kubo.

Names of places

Mt. Arame

A fictitious mountain in "Hakkenden." Located in Kozuke Province. On that mountain Otone's hermitage is located, where the five Dog Warriors get together and break up.

Judging from the geological description, it is equivalent to Mt. Arafune.

Irasago-jo Castle

It is a fictitious castle in "Hakkenden." It is Sadamasa OGIGAYATSU's castle and is supposed to be located near Irasagozaka, Ebara County, Musashi Province. It was captured by Shino INUZUKA and conquered again in the great battle of Kanto. The name of the castle is pronounced the same as Princess Fuse's mother, Isarago.

Historically, Sadamasa UESUGI's castle (in Honjo City, Saitama Prefecture) is called "ikako (or ikakko or ikatsuko or irako)-jo"and located quite differently.

Konodai

Konodai, Shimousa Province (Ichikawa City). A war was fought there during the great battle of Kanto in Hakkenden.

According to the annals, the Satomi and the Hojo families fought two wars in Konodai, and the Satomi family lost both of them.

Mt. Toyama

It is a holy place in the world of Hakkenden, described as the highest mountain in Awa. It is where Princess Fuse killed herself in the beginning, and the Dog Warriors disappeared in the denouement.

There is an actual mountain in Minami Boso City, Chiba Prefecture whose name is spelled in the same kanji as Mt. Toyama but is called 'Tomi-san.'
It is 349 meters high.

Tateyama-jo Castle (Awa)

In "Hakkenden" it is featured first as Kagetsura ANZAI's castle, and in the denouement as a castle given to Shinbe INUE. Tateyama-jo Castle,' where Motofuji HIKITA lived, is located in Kazusa Province and different from the former castle of the Anzai family, although the two castles are often confounded with each other in various books.

According to the annals, the Satomi family moved their base to the actual Tateyama domain (Tateyama City) at the end of the Sengoku period (period of warring states). Today the imitation tenshu (keep) is used as Branch of the Tateyama Museum.

Tateyama-jo Castle (Kazusa)

It is a fictitious castle in "Hakkenden." It is a castle where Motofuji HIKITA lived and where two insurrections broke out. It is supposed to be located in Isumi County, Kazusa Province, where Hirotsune KAZUSA's residence used to be.

Hokita

It is a fictitious shoen (manor in medieval Japan) in "Hakkenden," which was autonomously controlled by those who had joined the Yuki War and the remnants of the Toshima family including Zanzo HIGAKI, and the eight Dog Warriors set their base there when they challenged Sadamasa OGIGAYATSU, Kanrei.

Judging from the geological description, it is equivalent to Hokima

Events

The Yuki War

A war described in the beginning of "Hakkenden." Warlords in the Kanto region who obeyed Shunomaru and Anomaru, sons of late Mochiuji ASHIKAGA, who had perished in the Eikyo War, raised a rebellion against the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) in 1440, establishing themselves in the Yuki-jo Castle. The Yuki side lost, and Shunomaru and Anomaru, after being captured, were killed in Ogaki, Mino Province while they were taken to Kyoto.

In "Hakkenden" Suemoto and Yoshizane SATOMI, Shosaku and Bansaku INUZUKA, I no Tanzo and Zanzo HIGAKI joined the Yuki side. Bansaku INUZUKA took Shuno's and Ano's heads away from the execution ground and buried them in Shinano. This is at the Buddhist memorial service for those who had died in the Yuki War where the eight Dog Warriors gathered together.

The great battle of Kanto (The war against Kanrei)

This is a fictitious battle in "Hakkenden." This is a battle of the allied forces of Kanto Kanrei (Sadamasa OGIGAYATSU and Akisada YAMANOUCHI), Koga kubo (Nariuji ASHIKAGA), Yoshiatsu MIURA and Yoritane CHIBA versus the Satomi family which broke out in the winter of 1483 (in the novel).
No generic name of this battle, fought in Gyotokuguchi, Konodai and Sunozaki, is mentioned in the original novel but researchers call it 'the great battle of Kanto' or 'the war against (Kanto) Kanrei.'

Concepts

Myosenjisho

It comes from Buddhist terminology and means the name of someone/something reveals his/her/its true nature. In some cases a character's name is connected with his/her fate which is predetermined in the world of the novel, and clarification of the meaning of the name shows that the fate has been met.
For example, the kanji for 'fuse' of Princess Fuse means 'a human being that obeys a dog,' and Shinbe's parents' name Fusahachi and Nui are the inverse of 'Yatsufusa, Inu (a dog).'

En no Gyoja (A semi-legendary holy man noted for his practice of mountain asceticism during the second half of the seventh century)

He gave Princess Fuse the beads of Jingi-hachigyo.

Nyoze Chikusho Hotsubo Daishin

Letters which appeared in Princess Fuse's beads instead of the kanji for humanity, justice, courtesy, wisdom, loyalty, sincerity, filial piety and obedience. They changed into the original kanji again as soon as Tamazusa's curse on Yatsufusa was removed. Later, in the (second) rising of Motofuji HIKITA, they appeared on the back of the dead body of Myochin (actually a monster raccoon dog), who had been shot by Shinbe with his bead.

Model' of the eight Dog Warriors

Eight Dog Warriors of the Satomi clan' is originally a list of warriors placed in "Gorui-daisetsuyoshu" (edited by Akitake MAKINOSHIMA, published in 1717) along with 'ten brave warriors of the Amago clan' and consists of Dosetsu INUYAMA, Shiino INUZUKA, Bungo INUTA, Keno INUSAKA, Genpachi INUKAI, Sosuke INUKAWA, Shinbe INUE and Daigaku INUMURA. It is not clear whether they really existed or not, let alone when they worked or what they achieved. Bakin clearly stated that what he intended to create was not a story of warriors who might have existed but a fantasy novel (historical fiction) based on their names.

According to the annals, however, the last head of the Satomi family Tadayoshi SATOMI of Tateyama domain was in effect exiled to Hoki Province (Kurayoshi domain) by the Edo bakufu and died there. Eight of his vassals followed him to his grave, and they are called eight wise men because the kanji for 'wisdom' is included in common in their Kaimyo (posthumous Buddhist names). Their graves are in Daigakuin in Kurayoshi City, Tottori Prefecture and some of their ashes separated from Kurayoshi are buried under the graves located at the foot of the Tateyama-jo castle. Some theories insist that they are the models of the eight Dog Warriors.

Chinese classic books and Hakuwa Shosetsu (Chinese novel)

In "Hakkenden" Bakin, praised for his extensive reading and good memory, refers and incorporates into the organization so much of his training in Sinology and intimate knowledge of Hakuwa Shosetsu that the novel is sometimes criticized as pedagoguish.

Chinese classic books quoted from time to time in the novel give depth to the world of this 'historical novel.'
In the first episode, an explanation about dragons given by Yoshizane SATOMI in seeing a white dragon going to heaven, quoting books of all ages is well known (and called 'ryugaku' [dragonology] by researchers).

"Hakkenden" is most strongly influenced by "Suikoden." Bakin was so intensive a reader of "Suikoden" that he wrote such works as "Takaosenjimon" and "Keisei Suikoden" (A Courtesans' Shui hu chuan) adapting "Suikoden," was involved in the publication of "Shinpen Suikogaden," translation of the original, and insisted that the 120 episode version was orthodox, criticizing the 70 episode version by Kim Thanh Than. Apart from those stated above, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" is often quoted in "Hakkenden." Its influence is especially remarkable in the description of the great battle of Kanto, and the naval battle of Sunosaki is a rehash of the historic Battle of Red Cliff. Furthermore, some theories point out that "Hakkenden" is also influenced by "Feng-Shen-Yen-I."

Gunkimono (war chronicle) and topography

In 'Kaigaijohitsu' (epilogue), Bakin lists 'History book' (war chronicle) on the Satomi family in the Nanso region as well as "Satomigunki","Satomikyudaiki" and "Bososhiryo"as topography. In the recent study of historical science, it is pointed out that the actual history of the Satomi clan in the early period was greatly different from what is described in those war chronicles.

The text of "Hokuetsuseppu"by Bokushi SUZUKI is referenced in the description of Ojiya, Echigo Province and there is a scene of ushi no tsunotsuki (bullfighting) which actually takes place there.

Bakin's 'Inbi' (hidden nuances)

Bakin made up 'seven rules of historical novels' as his creative technique and added them to "Hakkenden" as an additional remark. Of the seven rules, 'Inbi' means that a story should have 'deep nuances' outside its text.
A lot of readers and researchers have been mesmerized by Bakin's remark, 'Let those who truly understand me realize such nuances 100 years later.'

Some researchers interpret the organization of "Hakkenden" and its arrangement of characters as comprehensively reflecting motifs from preaching story of Buddhism, Japanese Mythology and folk beliefs, folk religion.
The following is what is interpreted as 'hidden sources.'

Eight-Letter Monju Mandara

It is pointed out by Mamoru TAKADA. He insists that an image of Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri) (=Princess Fuse) riding on Shishi lion (=Yatsufusa) is reflected. According to his theory, 'two of the eight Dog Warriors made their appearance in female disguise' because two of the hachidai-doji (eight great youths) following Monju Bosatsu are biku (girls), and 'the Dog Warriors' bruises are peony-shaped' because the flavor of peony has the numen to suppress the power of Shishi lion (=Yatsufusa). Furthermore Daizen MASAKI, who appeared in the latter half of the novel, is treated as a 'pseudo Dog Warrior' because he reflects Zenzai-doshi, Monju Bosatsu's valet.

North Dipper Seven Stars

According to an advance notice issued before the commencement of the publication of "Hakkenden," Bakin was at one point planning to write 'a story of the Seven Dog Warriors' even if it is not in accordance with the description in "Gorui-daisetsuyoshu." Mamoru TAKADA also points out that an image of North Dipper Seven Stars is reflected in the eight Dog Warriors.
He avoids variance by regarding 'Alcor' accompanying one of the seven stars Mizar as the eighth star, and insists that this explains the fact that 'one of the eight Dog Warriors made his appearance as a child.'

Some researchers including Takeshi TOKUDA are trying to see in "Hakkenden" Bakin's criticism against social situation of those days. Shinbe is formed on the basis of an image of Dai-Doji (great youth), who is said to have appeared at the time of destructive urban riots, and the criticism against Yoshimasa ASIKAGA in Shinbe's episode in Kyoto can be compared to criticism against Ogosho (leading or influential figure) Ienari TOKUGAWA, the episode of killing a tiger to the Rebellion of Heihachiro OSHIO in 1837. Furthermore Ton KOYANO, regarding the territory ruled by the Satomi family as a miniature Japan, considers that the description of military training led by the Satomi family mobilizing people within the domain is connected with the doctrine of coast defense in the later Edo period.

Research and introduction

"Hakkenden" is a leading gesaku during the Edo period and has such a great influence on popular culture, but it has not been treated as a major subject of literary study for a long time due to the low literary evaluation of Yomihon during the Edo period.

In 1980 Mamoru TAKADA published "The World of Hakkenden" with a subtitle of 'Restoration of Fantasy Roman' and delivered an exciting interpretation of 'tenkyo' (accurate foundation). His interpretation was challenged by Takeshi TOKUDA, who questioned its substantiality. Today there is a lot of academic research on "Hakkenden" in the field of literature and it has been utilized as material for research on the history of ideas during the Edo period.
Researchers of "Hakkenden" are as follows:

Togoro KOIKE
Keisuke HAMADA
Jiro KAWAMURA
Mamoru TAKADA
Ai MAEDA (literary critic)
Junichi SHINODA
Haruo SUWA
Takeshi TOKUDA
Ton KOYANO
Gen TAKAGI
Susumu SAKURAI
Noriko ITASAKA

Introduction to overseas readers

As to the translation of the original "Hakkenden" into other languages, a partial translation into English by Donald Keene is well known, but a complete translation has not been conducted or published yet in spite of personal attempts at translation by researchers of Japanese literature.

"Hakkenden" is known overseas through spin-off works such as the movie "Satomi Hakkenden" in 1983 and an animation "THE Hakkenden."

Facilities and notable sites

Mt. Tomi (Minami Boso City, Chiba Prefecture)
It has 'Fusehime-rokutsu' (a cave where Princess Fuse confined herself) and 'Inuzuka' (literally, dog mound) and has become a tourist spot.
It also has a station pole designated as 'a region where the eight Dog Warriors of Satomi faced the end.'

Bronze statue of Princess Fuse and Yatsufusa (Minami Boso City, Chiba Prefecture)
It stands in front of Iwai station, a station nearest to Mt. Tomi.

Branch of Tateyama Museum (Tateyama City, Chiba Prefecture)
It is located in the imitation tenshu of Tateyama-jo castle. It collects materials in connection with "Hakkenden" including Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints).

Fusehime-zakura (Cherry Tree of Princess Fuse) (Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture)
A 400 year-old weeping cherry tree located at Guho-ji Temple in Mt. Mama-san near Konodai is called "'Fusehime-zakura' after "Hakkenden."

Events and festivals

Nanso Satomi Festival (Tateyama City, Chiba Prefecture)
Mainly the actual Satomi clan is honored in this festival but Princess Fuse and the eight Dog Warriors appear in the fancy-dress parade.

Kurayoshi-Satomi Historic Pageant (Kurayoshi City, Tottori Prefecture)
This is held on the first Sunday of September at Utsubuki Tamagawa, Kurayoshi City where Daigakuin with the graveyard of Tadayoshi SATOMI and his eight wise men is located.

Sekigane Satomi Festival (Kurayoshi City, Tottori Prefecture)
This is held on the first Sunday of September at Sekigane Hot Spring.

Works based on Nanso Satomi Hakkenden

Being very popular, "Hakkenden" was already made into a program of Kabuki even while it was being published, and has produced excerpts, adaptations and epigones. It is still being referenced in a great number of works as a Japanese classic fantasy, and the names of its characters and its motifs are often being used. As it is extremely long in addition to being a classic written in the days when values which are quite different from the present ones prevailed, many adaptations create a new world independently of the original, even when they bear the name "Hakkenden." Even works which try to be true to the original are revived as a modern work through different levels of reinterpretation.
Refer to the following websites, where related works are listed and explained: