How Farts Led to Samurai’s Downfall

How Farts Led to Samurai's Downfall

Japan’s history is riddled with tales of the samurai era, a time marked by violence and constant risk to the warrior class. During the Sengoku period, these warriors lived in constant danger, where disputes over land, power, or honor could abruptly end lives. However, in one peculiar case, it wasn’t a battle or political intrigue that led to a samurai’s downfall; it was flatulence.

The Chiba Clan’s Led to Samurai’s Downfall

Chiba Kunitane, the 29th lord of the Chiba clan, ruled a region in eastern Japan known as Shimosa, present-day Chiba Prefecture. In 1585, Kunitane gathered his vassals at Sakura Castle, the clan’s primary stronghold, for a New Year’s celebration.

During the festivities, a humorous yet ill-timed event occurred. Kunitane’s valet, Kuwata Mangoro, audaciously passed gas in front of his lord. When Mangoro repeated this act, Kunitane reproached him for his lack of manners. In response, Mangoro defended himself, claiming that flatulence was uncontrollable, which did not sit well with the samurai lord.

Kunitane’s anger surged, either due to disagreement with Mangoro’s excuse or his aversion to insubordination. He violently kicked Mangoro and reached for his sword, intending to strike down his insolent servant. Only the intervention of the assembled vassals prevented a bloodshed, as they emphasized the inauspiciousness of spilling blood on New Year’s. They argued that such trifles from someone far below Kunitane in rank should not trouble the clan’s leader. Despite this intervention, Kunitane’s anger lingered, and Mangoro was temporarily relocated to live with another vassal.

Resentment Simmers

Though Kunitane later forgave Mangoro, the resentment sowed by the incident endured. On May 1, Mangoro infiltrated Kunitane’s chambers while the lord slept and mercilessly stabbed him twice with a dagger, mirroring the two farts from the New Year’s celebration.

Kunitane’s cries drew the castle guards, and Mangoro managed to escape to a nearby village. However, he was eventually cornered in the woods, where he either took his own life or faced execution by his pursuers. Sadly, Kunitane clung to life for six more days but ultimately succumbed to his wounds at the age of 28.

The Aftermath

The Aftermath

Adding to the tragedy, Kunitane’s heir was just ten years old at the time. The Chiba clan, affiliated with the powerful Hojo clan, had Kunitane married to one of Lord Hojo Ujimasa’s daughters. With Kunitane’s son deemed too young to assume his father’s duties, the Hojo clan placed one of Ujimasa’s sons in control of the Chiba clan’s domain.

Five years later, the Hojo clan fell to Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s armies, and the Chiba clan never regained control of the territory that now bears their name.

This tale is a poignant reminder of how peculiar twists of fate, in this case, two farts, could significantly alter the course of history. Fortunately, the Sengoku period eventually came to an end, ushering in a more peaceful era, where you could hire someone to take the blame for a public flatulence incident.

The story of Chiba Kunitane and Kuwata Mangoro serves as a bizarre yet tragic chapter in Japan’s history. It vividly illustrates how seemingly insignificant events, like breaking wind, could lead to dire consequences during a tumultuous period. As Japan’s history evolved, so did its cultural norms, leaving behind tales that continue to astonish and amuse us today.

Credits (The Time Farting Lead To Murder And The Fall Of One Of Japan’s Great Samurai Clans)

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