San

San

[sahn]
San, people of SW Africa (mainly Botswana, Namibia, Angola, and South Africa), consisting of several groups and numbering about 100,000 in all. They are generally short in stature; their skin is yellowish brown in color; and they have broad noses, flat ears, bulging foreheads, and prominent cheekbones. The San have been called Bushmen, but the term is considered derogatory.

Once nomadic hunters and gatherers of wild food in desolate areas like the Kalahari desert of SW Africa, most of the San now live in settlements and work on cattle ranches or farms. This transition sometimes has been forced by government policies; legal and physical obstacles in Botswana, including the setting aside of San ancestral land in reserves, have frustrated San who wish seek to live traditionally. San life historically centered on the small hunting band as the main social unit, with larger organizations being loose and temporary. Caves and rock shelters were used as dwellings, and they possessed only what they can carry, using poisoned arrowheads to fell game and transporting water in ostrich-egg shells. The San have a rich folklore, are skilled in drawing, and have a remarkably complex language characterized by the use of click sounds, related to that of the Khoikhoi.

For thousands of years the San lived in S and central Africa, but by the time of the Portuguese arrival in the 15th cent., they had already been forced into the interior of S Africa. In the 18th and 19th cent., they resisted the encroachment on their lands of Dutch settlers, but by 1862 that resistance had been crushed.

See E. M. Thomas, The Harmless People (1959, repr. 1969) and The Old Way (2006); J. B. Wright, Bushmen Raiders of the Dakensberg, 1840-1870 (1971); L. J. Marshall, !Kung of Nyae Nyae (1975) and Nyae Nyae !Kung Belief and Rites (1999); R. B. Lee and I. DeVore, Hunter-Gatherers (1976).

was the epitome of the daimyo that dramatically rose and also fell from power in Sengoku period Japan. He was also known as the for his ruthless tactics.

Life

Originally a wealthy merchant from Yamashiro Province (modern-day Kyoto Prefecture), he used his power and influence to become a retainer of the daimyo Toki Yorinari of Mino Province (southern half of modern-day Gifu Prefecture). Dōsan contributed to general instability within Mino Province, so Yorinari gave him his concubine in the hopes that this would appease him in 1526. He eventually succeeded in becoming the magistrate of Mino Province and settled in Inabayama Castle. Using his power and wealth, he drove Toki Yorinari out of Mino Province in a coup d'état in 1542, and claimed the region as his own, becoming a daimyo in his own right. Afterwards, Toki Yorinari allied with Oda Nobuhide of Owari Province, which was on the southern border of Mino Province, but their defeat at the Battle of Kanōguchi, in 1547, solidified Dōsan's domination of Mino and also made him known throughout Japan. Oda Nobuhide made peace and arranged a political marriage in 1549, between his son, Oda Nobunaga, and Dōsan's daughter, Nōhime, to end all hostilities.

Downfall

Around 1555, rumors began to circulate that Saitō Yoshitatsu was not in fact Dōsan's son; it was said that he was Yorinari's. It does not appear that Yoshitatsu had been aware of that possibility himself until he heard the rumors. The circumstances surrounding this are unclear, however. One belief is that Dōsan, having had a number of sons after Yoshitatsu, had decided to name one of them heir (despite having officially retired by this point in favor of Yoshitatsu). Another theory holds that Yoshitatsu simply assumed that he would be disinherited, and decided to move first. A further idea is that Saitō Yoshitatsu just elected to usurp his father's power. Relations at any rate quickly soured between Yoshitatsu and Dōsan.

Ironically, Saitō Dōsan fell in his own son Saitō Yoshitatsu's coup d'état in 1556. Heavily outnumbered, he was defeated at the Battle of Nagaragawa. His remains were originally interred in Sōfuku-ji, but they were later moved to Jōzai-ji because the Nagara River kept overflowing and covering his burial mound. Both temples are located in Gifu.

Pseudonyms

Saitō Dōsan is known for having a large number of pseudonyms and for frequently changing his name. Some believe that this is because there were two Saitō Dōsan, father and son, and the son adopted his father's name after his death. Other names of Saitō Dōsan are Minemaru (峰丸), Hōrenbō (法蓮坊), Matsunami Shogorō (松浪庄五郎), Nishimura Kankurō Masatoshi (西村勘九郎正利), Shinkurō (新九郎), Nagai Norihide (長井規秀), and Saitō Sakondayu Toshimasa (斎藤左近大夫利政).

References

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