Ansela Jonla (ansela_jonla) wrote in little_details,
Ansela Jonla

Falconry in feudal/Edo era Japan

I have a character who is a noble in an expy of feudal/Edo Japan (canon is never quite clear on this). He's quite a high-ranking noble and the head of his family. While trying to think of a sport that he could plausibly entertain himself with, I wondered about the possibility of falconry.

Research: googled 'japan falconry' - the links I clicked on were either in Japanese or painful Engrish. Looked at the Wikipedia page for falconry, which led me to takagari.

Reading the article it seems that falconry was once a popular pastime for local lords, court nobles and samurai. However it also says that this was later restricted to daimyo and the samurai class and strict rules were implemented as to who could hunt what. In this world samurai and daimyo don't exist, and so officers of the ruling military force fill their place in the social strata.

It doesn't, however, tell me what these rules were.

1) The character is the head of one of the four greatest noble families as well as a powerful military officer. He's equivalent, in my stories, to the most powerful and high-ranking samurai. What birds of prey would he be allowed to use for the hunt, that would set him apart from lower ranking nobles and officers?

2) The main prey in takagari is birds - geese, ducks and swans - according to the article. Am I right in assuming that my character would be permitted to hunt swans due to his rank? Were ground animals - rabbits, hares, etc - ever hunted in Japan using this method? What about other game birds - grouse, pheasant, etc?

3) One piece of information that I managed to glean from one of the other sites is that dogs and horses were used. I assume the hunting noble is mounted, which would account for the horses. Would the dogs be the falconry equivalent of gun dogs, flushing prey out of hiding so it can be hunted?

4) How long would a typical hunt take? What would be done with the meat of any kills? Eaten or discarded?

5) Any other details would be nice, if you know them.
Tags: japan: history

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