First Paper

“The Way of the Warrior II” describes the Shogun’s verdict in the case of the 46 men (the Ako Vendetta), and relates numerous other essays in which famous writers of Tokugawa Japan describe their reactions to the case. It is clear from the readings that this story was incredibly significant in the Tokugawa period — writers kept referring to it over and over again.  

Why do you think the story of the Ako Vendetta was so significant in the Tokugawa period?  

Your paper could identify at least three different reasons in three separate paragraphs, or it could give one overall reason, and devote each paragraph to a detailed examination.   

Your thesis statement should answer the question in one sentence. It should be at the end of the first paragraph.  Each subsequent paragraph should fill out the argument you make in your thesis.  A topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph should tell the reader the main point you are making (and especially a sense of how the paragraph will support the argument you make in the thesis). You should give careful consideration to the order of your paragraphs, to the evidence you are using, and to your explanations of how the evidence supports the point you are making.

 Please look at the grading rubric.  You should cite your sources with footnotes. You should use proper grammar. Be as accurate as you can.  Consider the limitations of your sources.  

Everybody seems to get very excited about the length of papers.  The basic idea in this class is that the papers are about 5 pages long, but it is more important to me that you are clear and convincing.

After you get a grade on this paper, you will revise it.  Your grade on the revision will be based on how well you make the suggested improvements. 

Ako Vendetta Paper Rubric

Thesis statement: The first sentence at the end of the first paragraph answers the question in one sentence.

Argument: the argument is logical and answers the question (5 points) and it also shows ambition, an attempt to wrestle with a difficult issue rather than a simple recounting of obvious points (5 points).

Paragraphs: each subsequent paragraph until the conclusion has a sentence at the beginning and/or end that explains its relevance to the overall argument.

Organization: there is a clear logic to the arrangement of paragraphs, and that logic is communicated to the reader. Each paragraph makes clear the standard one could use to judge the samurai, and also communicates your own opinion of that standard.

Evidence: each paragraph contains rich details to support the argument.

Source criticism: in using evidence, the paper evaluates the limitations of the source.

Vivid language: the paper uses words that convey precise ideas, and that engage the reader.

Citation – sources are cited in appropriate place and manner (use footnotes!). Please follow the History Department style guide:

Grammar – the paper conforms to the conventions of standard academic writing.

Historical content – the paper contains information that is true rather than false and reflects an understanding of Japan.

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