SKM – Chapter 1

Translator(s): Kenar, Flowingcloud    Editor(s): Boomer   Proofreader(s): Matty   TLC: flowingcloud

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Year 1565, mid-March.

If I, by chance, met with a historical figure I wonder how happy I would be.

Only children would believe in such a dream, a dream such as that coming true was impossible in the highest degree.

Such a thing has obviously never happened to me, and I can only think “if only”.

During those wistful times, I would write in my notebook about a variety of things until I was satisfied.

From society’s perspective, however, my notebook would look to be full of nothing but mad delusions.

But, starting today, those notes are unnecessary.

After all—.

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“You, who the hell are you?” [Strange Voice]

I was suddenly transported through time.

Wh, wh-wh-what is going on….!

The girl reviewed her current circumstances and did a double-take at the person in front of her.

(Let’s see, I was definitely helping out grandpa with the farming; I was collecting the mature crops, and then I was sowing new seeds… after that, when I was taking home grandma’s Nitsuke, big sis called out to me…)[1]

After retracing her steps, she still couldn’t find the reason why she slipped through time. But, in the first place, such a difficult concept as warping through time cannot be clearly comprehended anyway.

(Then, when I was carrying big sister’s military books, I decided to take a shortcut, since they were so heavy. So I cut through the animal trail that leads to the back of the house…)

The girl looked all around her. Whether it was to the left or right, or any direction at all, there was only a thick forest visible. Not only that, but the trees that grew near her house were of an entirely different species.

“Girl. Stop wasting my time.” [Strange Voice]

Panic began to shoot throughout her body, but she managed to calm down thanks to the loud voice from above her.

When she timidly turned towards the source of the voice, a man who looked to be about 30-years old called out to her; with a vein bulging on his forehead.

“I’ll ask one more time. You, what’s your name?” [Man]

The man put his hand on his sword’s hilt. In that moment, she realized who this person was. A person she was never supposed to meet; his name is…

“Oda Kazusanosuke Saburo Taira Ason Nobunaga……” [2]

Exactly then, there was the sound of the katana being drawn and slashed.

The girl instantly felt the danger, focused with all of her willpower, and jumped directly to the side.

“You… I have judged that your life is forfeit!” [Nobunaga]

The man who slashed at me declared that with a blue vein still popping out on his forehead. His intentions are as clear as daylight, if given the chance, he would kill me without a doubt.

(Hiee—-!! Thinking about the Sengoku Era, I shouldn’t have spoken a noble’s final name!)

In the Sengoku Era, the names of the Daimyo-class were very different from the perspective of a modern Japanese person. For example, Oda Nobunaga’s official name was Oda Kazusanoske, descendant of Taira no Ason, Nobunaga. In fact, the name Oda was also said to double as a surname and the name of a noble house, and that persons born as an Oda would belong to the house, not to the surname. As for Kazusanoskue, it was an alias, used as a sort of public name that was self-proclaimed. Saburo was used to refer to the senior child in a family’s lineage, and parents would usually refer to their eldest using this name. Modern Japanese names have a close relation to this older usage of Saburo.  Taira was the name of an extremely powerful samurai clan, with a grand lineage, and Nobunaga often used it- without permission- to improve his prestige. Ason was more of a title than a name, showing the bearer’s relationship to the Imperial court.

And now, we’ve come to the final name. Nobunaga is the man’s real name. The so called “real” name had another, hidden meaning in the Sengoku Era. It was known as “the loathed name”.  A person’s real name heavily represented their personality. Therefore, it was considered courteous to never refer to someone by their real name. In fact, no matter how you look at it, this girl broke a serious taboo just now. That is to say, she was insolent towards the other person to the highest degree.

“I’m, I’m, I’m sorry~! Kazusanosuke-sama! Please! Please, forgive me~~~~!!! “[Girl]

The correct way to refer to others, in the case of young men, was to call them by the name of their position as an honorific title. In dramas, manga, and anime, Hideyoshi would often be depicted calling this man “Nobunaga-sama!” but the truth is, if such a thing were to actually happen, Hideyoshi (or whoever said the “real” name) would be seriously beaten on the spot. There were only a few cases where his real name could be properly used, such as when a superior addressed him, or in the official documents of the Imperial Court. However, on those documents, his name was actually written as [Taira Ason Nobunaga], to refer to his relationship to the Imperial Court.

“… Under ordinary circumstances, I would strike you down on the spot. However, I’m bewildered by your strange appearance. For the third time now, state your name.” [Nobunaga]

Nobunaga sheathed his katana, his vein almost bursting in irritation. The girl clearly realized that her next mistake will lead to a “bad end”, or in other words, another slip-up, and she will die. With trembling lips, the girl said…

“Shizuko…  Ayanokouji Shizuko” [Shizuko]


Shizuko fell prostrate and gave her name while in dogeza. Nobunaga pondered this strange… Shizuko.

(What a strange look. I have never seen such bizarre clothing… is it perhaps from Nanban?) [3]

It was unknown whether she was a friend or a foe, but she was certainly too stupid to be a spy, reflected Nobunaga. She was terrified just a moment ago, and her movements were easy to deal with as well.

(… People from the Namban lands have unique skills. If I play my cards right…)

“Shizuko, is it?… You, where is your homeland?” [Nobunaga]

“Ha? Homeland? Oh, do you mean birthplace? Umm… I’m from Tokyo City” [Shizuko]

Tokyo-to?”[4]

This person had an unknown name and clothing. From what Nobunaga gathered, he assumed that Shizuko was a person from Nanban. If that was indeed the case, it would be more valuable to keep her alive, and exploit her for her foreign knowledge, rather than kill her for her insolence.

“What a strange name. Well, that concludes our discussion. I will depart.” [Nobunaga]

Eh?”

However, the meek-spirited Shizuko who obediently trailed behind him didn’t notice Nobunaga’s scheme at all. From an outsider’s perspective, Shizuko has no place that she belongs to.

It’s unnatural for a spy to be so stupid.

“Didn’t you hear me? I told you to get out of the way. I’m about to return to the castle.” [Nobunaga]

“Umm… Pardon me!” [Shizuko]

Unless she came under the protection of someone powerful, Shizuko certainly would perish in this Era of wars. Fortunately, she must have some sense of her current situation, and she will beg for my protection, thought Nobunaga.

“Um, I am sorry if this is sudden, but can I go with you?!” [Shizuko]

“Of course not.” [Nobunaga]

“Gan!”(Sfx sound for shock)

“Why should I permit a suspicious person like you into my castle?” [Nobunaga]

“Err, umm, um…” [Shizuko]

Shizuko was nervously thinking about what she could possibly offer to this great man. Nobunaga, who was watching Shizuko’s fretting, curved his lip into a thin smile.

(I will receive Nanban technology from this girl. Using it, I can build a country that can rival the world.)

“Ah! Y, Ye, Yes! That’s right. I’m experienced in agriculture… I can help you in that area!” [Shizuko]

“…Ho~u, crops, huh?” [Nobunaga]

(Not a bad proposal. I’m not too terribly interested in the fare of my table, but raising my territory’s food self-sufficiency will improve my finances. In fact, making sure the commoners have enough to eat will circumvent a peasant revolt.)

During the Sengoku Era, any peasant revolts were said to be an endless source of worry to the lords. If the farmers were to rise up, the productivity of the fiefs would fall drastically. In other words, the amount of tribute that could be collected would be reduced.

“Very well. Use your talents for me alone. The moment you leave my service is the moment you perish. Do not forget this.” [Nobunaga]

“Ye-yes!” [Shizuko]

Nobunaga’s words carried a heavy meaning. In short, if you betray me, I will kill you. If you make a mistake, I will also kill you.

Shizuko’s mind was busy trying to make sense of her situation, and had not realized the true magnitude of her circumstances.

(Today has proved very fortuitous. I have received some of Nanban’s technology after all. The only issue is how to persuade Saru that it is worth it.) [5]


Shizuko trailed close behind Nobunaga while carrying her bag. Of course, she was on foot. She couldn’t ride a horse, so she had to endure trudging through the forest.

(Big Sis’s books… I want to throw them away, but if I do, she’ll kill me when I get back home…)

Big sis called me and ordered me to buy a book with a domineering tone. She wanted the “Ancient to Modern Weapons Catalogue”. My military maniac of a big sis already bought two books, but this catalogue was also in my bag.

(… I also have several sorts of seeds from Grandpa. AH! If I use those for Nobunaga…)

Historically, Nobunaga was known to be a short tempered man. If you were to happen to make a mistake, you would be cut in half on the spot. On the other hand, he possessed such innovative ideas that it was called heresy among the daimyo in the Sengoku Era. Keeping an arm’s length from strange and unknown things, he was curious enough to observe them.

(If I’m not mistaken, sweet potato was only well established in Kagoshima starting in the Edo Period… In that case, sweet potato will be an “unknown thing” to Nobunaga) [6]

While adjusting her bag, Shizuko began quietly organizing the things she currently has on hand, so that they could be used as proper resources.

(Let’s see, I have pumpkin, sweet corn, tomato, Komatsuna, red onion, and even sugarcane seeds from grandpa. Also, I have three mature sweet potatoes from the harvest, several types of chocolate and mixed fruit drop candies from the convenience store… alright!)[7]

I can do it, thought Shizuko. The sweet potatoes could be soaked in water, and seeds would surface and be ready to plant. Areas that have volcanic ash have strong vitality in the soil, and are the perfect place to plant crops. Sweet potatoes, however, are weak to cold weather, and Shizuko didn’t know which area of Nobunaga’s territory she was heading to. It would either be Mino Province or Owari Province.

(Owari Province is located near where the modern Tokaido Highway is, within the western part of Aichi prefecture. The climate is suited well enough to crops; and pumpkin, tomato, komatsuna don’t need much nutrition and yield a large harvest. Sweet corn only needs water to thrive, but, will it really grow? And it’s not clear as to when sugar was imported to Japan, so obtaining an easy supply of sugar via sugar cane can only be a good thing.)

The brilliantly colored tomato and sweet corn, the insane crop yield of sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and sugar cane. These are all “unknown things” to Nobunaga. Even Westerners (Nanban) are not yet fully understood either.

(Unlike the crops that have already been introduced in this era, these vegetables are created from modern science. Any new technique in agriculture would surely become highly prized here.)

Shizuka’s knowledge and common sense differed greatly from what was common in Nobunaga’s era. Naturally, this is why Nobunaga sought to exploit her. But, there was one problem.

(The women of this era didn’t have many rights… did they?)

In the Sengoku Era, a woman’s opinions were brushed aside. Putting it bluntly, women had no rights as human beings. So,  things such as political marriages were only natural; a marriage based on choice was a fairytale in this era.

(If I want to live, I cannot afford to displease Nobunaga. However, if I stand out too much, and gain notable achievements, his subordinates will keep a watchful eye on me; that also can’t be allowed. Th-This is hard~~~~~!!)

It is necessary to make Nobunaga think, “She is too valuable to be allowed to roam free.” If he becomes too interested in her, however, it will only serve to enrage his other subordinates. There has to be a perfect balance.

(Big sis told me that “There were two real enemies for soldiers, namely disease and hunger” so, if possible, I want to improve the food situation…)

Instead of using outstanding soldiers to earn achievements on the battlefield, if I simply raise the strength of all soldiers, he may not be displeased.

(I’m not sure how I can get back home. But no matter what, I have to survive!)

It can’t be helped, thought Shizuko while she grasped her hand tightly. She had to survive this Sengoku Era and a find a way to go back to her own time.

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Footnotes:

  1. Nitsuke: Fish poached in a broth of sweetened dashi, sometimes with miso.
  2. Kazusanosuke is a given name. Taira is a clan, so his clan title. The Oda clan in the time of Oda Nobunaga (1534–1582) claimed descent from the Taira, by Taira no Chikazane, a grandson of Taira no Shigemori (1138–1179). Ason is a prestigious title (under the eight kabane system), initially conferred in the Nara period of the history of Japan, on princes who had been reduced to the commonalty. Ason is also a title.
  3. Western Europe (esp. Spain and Portugal, their South-East Asian colonies, and their goods and people arriving in Japan via the colonies)
  4. Tokyo at that time is not created yet. So, Japanese at that time won’t know what Tokyo is. Fyi, the kanji for Tokyo Metropolitan is read as Tokyo-to and that is a legit name.
  5. Saru is a nickname for Hashiba Hideyoshi
  6. Kagoshima is a name of a place. Edo era, or Tokugawa era, is a division of the history of Japan when it was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family, running from 1603 to 1868. Characterized by strict social orders, isolationist foreign policies, and an increase in both environmental protection and the creation and popular enjoyment of arts and culture, Japanese society during this period was controlled by the Tokugawa shogunate and the country’s 300 regional Daimyo.
  7. Komatsuna (Brassica rapa var. perviridis or komatsuna) is a type of leaf vegetable. It is a variant of the same species as the common turnip. It is grown commercially in Japan and Taiwan; the name is from Japanese komatsuna . It is also known as Japanese Mustard Spinach and is usually stir-fried, pickled, boiled and added to soups or used fresh in salads. It is an excellent source of calcium. It is also used for fodder in some Asian countries.
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