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Well, which?
Man 28 (50.9%)
Woman 11 (20%)
I don't know 16 (29.1%)
Total Votes: 55
Uesugi Kenshin: God or Goddess of War?; Which was Kenshin, really?
Topic Started: Jul 19 2011, 05:47 AM (5,273 Views)
Mewshuji
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Dragon of Echigo
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I credit most (well all, really) of the information in this topic to Ying, Duke of Qin over at the twcenter forums. She's got her sources, though, and I'm willing to post them if needed. I just found her article interesting:
http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=462109

I have, however, written most of the important stuff here:
---
Recently, there's been theories floating about that Kenshin was in fact a woman. While the historian Tomeo Yagiri brought it to light most recently came up with many crackpot theories, evidence that Kenshin's gender was fairly ambiguous even at the time of his (or her) rule over Echigo exists. In fact, a fairly recent poll among Japanese high school students reveals that many more than 40% but less than 80% of students believe that Kenshin was female, or that his gender was in dispute. So, why is it that all of a sudden people are believing the (typically depicted as mustachioed) God of War was in fact a woman? Let's find out.

Most damning is that in one of the world's most trusted first-hand sources on the Sengoku era, an epic poem of sorts called the Toudaiki, claims that Kenshin died of a very specific disease- uterine bleeding. Now, either the poet who wrote the document decided to throw it in for giggles, or Kenshin for some reason had a uterus- most likely meaning he was a she.

Other evidence exists. For example, each and every month Kenshin got incredibly bad stomach cramps, and at about the same time too- sounds like periods, doesn't it? Of course, a lot of historians attribute it to his love of sake, but to have it every month at about the same time? I dunno... After all, one of Kenshin was forced to retreat from an unlosable siege against the Hojo clan due to severe stomach cramps on the 11th of June... Later when Kenshin died? It's agreed on by almost all historians versed in the leader that Kenshin's deathdate was either March 9th or 11th.

Now, going back to what I mentioned about portraits of Kenshin being mustachioed or bearded. What of them? Surely artists wouldn't draw a woman with facial hair! ... Thing is though, every bit of artwork portraying Kenshin with facial hair was made after Kenshin's death. Kenshin's own self portraits were fairly feminine, save the ones depicting him as Bishamonten. Now, vases and pots symbolized a man whereas cups symbolized women in these portraits. Kenshin, when depicted as Bishamonten... drew himself with a cup. Being a learned man, surely he realized he was suggesting he was a woman. Of course, the man DID love to drink, so it may have just been favoritism on his part.

Another piece of evidence is at Kenshin's favored and home castle of Kasugayama. The shrine to the Shinto goddess Kukurihime there also has a statue of Bishamonten, indicated by the banner with "Bi" it is holding. However, the statue is clearly a woman. Typically, these types of shrines have two figures, a man and a woman. This shrine, however, has only the woman.

Now, you may question if, with all this evidence, why we don't just unearth Kenshin and run DNA tests on a sample? The thing is... We have no idea where Kenshin's remains are. While the other Uesugi and Nagao remains were left in Echigo when the Uesugi were forced to relocate by the Shogunate, Kenshin's remains were taken, and hidden. Now, what reason could the Uesugi possibly have to hide Kenshin?

See, the Shogun could have invoked the Ruler's Edict if it was found Kenshin was a woman. A clan had to have had its ruler or founder have been a man- and Kenshin, in a way, took on the Uesugi name for himself. If he was a she, the Tokugawa could have divvied up the Uesugi lands and significantly diminished their power.

There's anecdotal evidence as well:
*Kenshin was described as "gorgeous" in many poems, with a rather archaic Japanese kanji that was only used for women. It could have been meant as offense, but Kenshin certainly took no action against the poets who used the adjective.
*Kenshin's height was, from analyzing his armor and the Uesugi records, or 5 feet 2 inches. Small nowadays, yes, but large for a woman in the Sengoku era.
*He enjoyed tales considered womanly, such as the Tale of Genji. Other daimyo read, yes, but usually war tales and not such romantic stories. Kenshin's handwriting was also very feminine. At the very least, if not a woman, the man had feminine tastes in art.
*Kenshin's speeches were typically more subdued and rational -feminine really- than other powerful warlords at the time. For example, Shingen often talked of everlasting glory and heroics and the like, while Kenshin said, again, in a rather feminine tone, that "we need to win, so we will win", and in such a way that at worst it was quite emotional.
*Kenshin never married, and random women never paid much attention to him. Even when he went to Kyoto, where courtesans would normally flock a daimyo to impress him to eventually marry into his clan, most women didn't bat an eye at him. However, you must remember that back then feminine men were considered just as attractive to women as virile manly men. Of course, this is an argument for him being gay, but even then women would show some interest... But no, they just ignored him.
*In fact, the Ashikaga shogun was so trusting of Kenshin that he allowed him to freely roam in the woman's quarters, and Kenshin was quite palsy with the shogun's mother and sisters...
*Kenshin avoided anything and everything sexual. While, yes, he was a devout follower of Bishamonten, other warlords who fought under the name of buddhist teachings still had sexual encounters, whether practicing shudo or "creating an heir" so to speak. Kenshin merely adopted.

Now, does this all mean Kenshin was definitely and conclusively a woman? No, of course not. There's a lot of other historical evidence that claims he was indeed a man. However, it's a definite possibility Kenshin was a woman.

Who was Kenshin? A man's man? A gorgeous, brilliant woman? A bishonen? Well, in the end, it's a mystery that might not be solved...

So, what do you think?
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Fuuma
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This is some very interesting stuff here. A lot of evidence seems to point out that Kenshin was indeed female. Although during that time a clan's leader had to be male, so if Kenshin really was a woman, they managed to keep it hidden very well.

I wonder if other daimyos such as Shingen or Nobunaga knew it? Especially Shingen, how would he have reacted after learning his greatest rival was a woman?
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Pride
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孟德
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I only knew about the uterine bleeding that lead to his death, and often thought that that one evidence was really enough to stirr up doubts about his gender. The new clues in this thread are quite interesting.

To point out something though, I'm quite sure I've read that there is another tale of his death. Getting shot in the face.
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Oblivion
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I find the argument for Kenshin being a female quite interesting and have kept tabs with for it about a year now, just out of interest... with these other pieces of evidence, it's a fairly solid argument, but certainly not definite...

As to how Kenshin died, the only one I heard often was him being assassinated while on the toilet...
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Katatonia
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^yeah, I heard a ninja came to him when he was....occupied.

But I've heard this rumor before, and it's quite interesting. I think the monthly cramps is enough evidence, but then again, it could be something else entirely.

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SRS
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Another piece of evidence I recall reading about is a letter sent back home from a Portuguese trader that met with Uesugi Kagekatsu, wherein he referred to Kenshin as Kagekatsu's aunt, rather than uncle.
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Mewshuji
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Ah, yeah, I was about to include that, but thing is... While the letter did exist, it's a pretty flimsy piece of evidence since it claims the aunt in question developed gold mines in Echigo, which Kenshin never did as far as we know.
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Kiheiji
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Pretty sure guy that trader guy was Spanish.

Could be a misprint, "tia" (aunt) instead of "tio" (uncle)
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Graceful1rish
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The cramps were probably symptoms of stomach cancer: one of the symptoms of stomach cancer is pain in the upper abdomen, these pains could mimick menstural cramps and might have been regular depending on how often he drank sake. Another symptom is blood in the stool or urine

However I am not a doctor so this is just a theory
Edited by Graceful1rish, Nov 11 2011, 06:48 PM.
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wodash
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so i guess Capcom making their version of kenshin quite androgynous is isn't as baseless as people though at first...

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Pride
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孟德
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Guys, I've read the lovely article in the original source and I think that there are counter-arguments against most of those.. at least I guess there would be. If there wasn't, people would just accept that Kenshin was a hot chick; what keeps them from believing so? How hard it is to hide your gender, I assume?
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Kiheiji
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Pride
Nov 17 2011, 09:47 PM
if there wasn't, people would just accept that Kenshin was a hot chick; what keeps them from believing so?
Because there's no solid proof Kenshin was a woman?
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Pride
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yeah well, I'm sure there are counter evidences, explanations and/or arguments used to refute the "clues" suggested in that article, anyone care to present them? I'm just curious that's all. The article only seems to cover the "Kenshin was a woman" side of the debate.
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Mewshuji
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There are a few counterarguments. I say it's an article but it's more the first post of a forum thread. Note that the original poster there, Ying, actually believes Kenshin is a guy, she's just presenting the evidence there is he (or, well, she) may have been a girl.

Some of the counterarguments, browsing through that thread, include that it may have been slander to denounce Kenshin by comparing him to a woman (though that was quickly debunked since the evidences were presented by otherwise reliable historians and contemporaries who just presented what they understood as facts) and that there was seemingly no reason for the charade.

The main reason that people didn't believe that Kenshin was a woman (if he was), I guess is more along the lines that if he was then the Uesugi lands would have been stripped from them due to new Shogunate laws, so the Uesugi of that time basically just said that, yes, Kenshin's a man and from there played it up.

Note that I don't even know what Kenshin may have been- other than a wonderful general and a great person- just presenting some VERY interesting historical information that seems to indicate he's a she. Of course, there's evidence too she's a he, but the point is to show the possibility is there Kenshin was a girl.
Edited by Mewshuji, Nov 18 2011, 02:54 AM.
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Sakon Shima
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Then we should find the graves of Kenshin and define it
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Kiheiji
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Sakon Shima
Nov 19 2011, 04:39 AM
Then we should find the graves of Kenshin and define it
He's been dead for almost a millennium. I doubt we'll find anything.
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Sakon Shima
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But they can find Mitsunari's grave and redraw his face. Check it out at Wikipedia - Ishida Mitsunari.
Edited by BlackKite, Nov 19 2011, 02:38 PM.
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Kiheiji
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Sakon Shima
Nov 19 2011, 06:13 AM
But they can find Mitsunari's grave and redraw his face. Check it out at Wikipedia - Ishida Mitsunari.
Checked Wiki. No mention of it.
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Wynter
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No wonder Basara's Kenshin looks like a woman... :hehe:
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Shogun
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Pride
Jul 19 2011, 04:47 PM
I only knew about the uterine bleeding that lead to his death, and often thought that that one evidence was really enough to stirr up doubts about his gender.
That's like saying Nobunaga might have been a women because of his mood swings.
Graceful1rish
 
Another symptom is blood in the stool or urine

He had bad aim....?
Pride
 
How hard it is to hide your gender, I assume?

Very hard. He wasn't always a monk (or nun whatever you wanna call it) and people tend to ignore his military career prior to that.
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Graceful1rish
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Shogun
Nov 22 2011, 05:15 PM
Pride
Jul 19 2011, 04:47 PM
I only knew about the uterine bleeding that lead to his death, and often thought that that one evidence was really enough to stirr up doubts about his gender.
That's like saying Nobunaga might have been a women because of his mood swings.
Graceful1rish
 
Another symptom is blood in the stool or urine

He had bad aim....?
Pride
 
How hard it is to hide your gender, I assume?

Very hard. He wasn't always a monk (or nun whatever you wanna call it) and people tend to ignore his military career prior to that.
What do you mean by ba...OH! :facepalm:
What I am saying is that he could have suffered from stomach cancer or else cirossis because of the large quantities of alcohol he is said to have consumed in his lifetime. The problem is we don't know because his body has most likely decomposed over time due to the elements. If his body was mummified with his internal organs still fully intact like the body of the lady of Dai, then it would be possible to do a CAT scan or else a MRI in order to look for signs of tumors.
Also he could have just had a very feminine face, there as some guys that do look feminine
However as I said before I am not a doctor, so I'm not sure if my theory could be applied to Uesugi Kenshin. I only read on wiki that symptons of stomach cancer include cramps and bloody urine/stool
Edited by Graceful1rish, Nov 30 2011, 11:10 PM.
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Ero-Sennin
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Let's not forget that at the time the head of a clan was to be that of a male if I remember correctly, even if the only heir was female they were to marry someone to take the place of said male to at least keep the clan going.

Out of the years he served someone would have found out and exposed him as a woman is all I'm saying, plus, I agree with Grace here, blood in his urine and stool? That would most likely be a type of cancer, or any problems involving the liver for that matter.

Also, after his death, why wouldn't it be noted after all that time, you know?
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Sakon Shima
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@Kiheji
Kiheiji
Nov 19 2011, 05:45 AM
Sakon Shima
Nov 19 2011, 04:39 AM
Then we should find the graves of Kenshin and define it
He's been dead for almost a millennium. I doubt we'll find anything.
As you are from Indonesia too, I will post this in 2 language
From the Indonesian Wikipedia
 
Paling tidak ada 3 sampai 4 lukisan potret Ishida Mitsunari dan konon lukisan dibuat berdasarkan tengkorak kepala Mitsunari. Setelah badan dan kepala Ishida Mitsunari dipertontonkan di muka umum di Sanjōgawara, jasadnya dimakamkan di bagian kuil Daitokuji bernama Sangen-in yang dibangun Mitsunari sewaktu masih hidup. Ada juga cerita yang mengatakan pintu gerbang rumah kediaman Mitsunari di Fushimi dipindahkan ke kuil Sangen-in.


Translation :
At least there are 3 until 4 potrait picture of Mitsunari Ishida and it was made based on the skull of his head. After his body and head were showed in the public in Sanjogawara, his body was laid in the graveyard in the Daitokuji part of the temple, named Sangen-in that was built by Mitsunari when he was alive.

The point here, is not Mitsunari, but that the scientists or historians can draw faces based on skulls of a dead person if found, and perhaps, they could do the same with Uesugi Kenshin's (but the probability is so small). At least, they could try.
Edited by Sakon Shima, Feb 10 2012, 07:30 PM.
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Sasaki Kojirou
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This kind of stuff makes me lol.

There's 0 hardcore evidence that suggests Kenshin was a woman. Just theory by random folks.
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Uncle Vlad
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Wow, this is gonna really annoy me, everytime I think about Kenshin now I'm gonna think 'man or woman?'. I honestly think Kenshin was a woman, seems like the Uesugi really tried to hide information on him/her by hiding his/her body and the fact that he was depicted as woman in poetry and in his/her own work makes me believe Kenshin was a woman...
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