TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: Each volume 7.5 x 11 inches
ITEM ID: 5137
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The Military Classic of Nanboku

According to scholar Gonzalo Sec, “南木武経 Nanboku bukyō (“The Military Classic of Nanboku” or “The Military Classic of Kusunoki Masashige”) volumes three and four (of five), with a preface written in 1681. But there is no way to know when this edition in particular was published.”

Kusunoki Masashige (楠木 正成, 1294 – 4 July 1336) was a Japanese samurai of the Kamakura period remembered as the ideal of samurai loyalty.

Kusunoki fought for Emperor Go-Daigo in the Genkō War to overthrow the Kamakura shogunate and restore power in Japan to the Imperial Court. Kusunoki was a leading figure of the Kenmu Restoration in 1333 and remained loyal to the unpopular Emperor Go-Daigo after Ashikaga Takauji began to reverse the restoration in the Nanboku-chō wars three years later. Kusunoki attacked Takauji in Settsu at the command of the Emperor, an act of obedience surely to result in defeat, and died at the Battle of Minatogawa in 1336.

Kusunoki became a popular legend in Japan representing loyalty and virtue, and associated with the phrase “Would that I had seven lives to give for my country!” (七生報國; “Shichishō Hōkoku!”). Kusunoki was posthumously awarded the highest court rank in Japan, Senior First Rank (shō ichi-i), by the Meiji government in 1880, over 500 years after his death.