RIP Anthony J. "Tony" Bryant
Feb 14 1961 - Dec 25 2013
Anthony J. “Tony” Bryant, noted Japanese historian and creator of this website, passed away on December 25, 2013 in his hometown of Franklin, IN. He loved Japanese history, and sharing that history with others. This website is his legacy, and we will endeavor to maintain it in his memory.
Anthony J. Bryant was an authority on the making of Japanese armor, and a distinguished historian of medieval Japan, specializing in the warrior culture of the Kamakura, Muromachi and Momoyama periods, as well as Heian-period court structure and Japanese literature. He wrote four books on Japanese military history for Osprey, co-authored with Mark Arsenault the core rulebook for the feudal Japanese role-playing game Sengoku, and was the historical consultant for the episode The Shogun for BBC’s Heroes and Villains series (2007-2008). He is also the author of such Internet Japanese history resources as An Online Manual of Japanese Armour Construction, An Online Japanese Miscellany, A History of Japanese Clothing and Accessories, and A Basic Introduction to Classical Japanese, as well as several essays on historical Japanese topics.
Tony was born on February 14, 1961, in Franklin, IN, where he lived with his parents, Robert M. (Bob) and Margaret Bryant, who adopted him at the age of 5. His father was an architect, responsible for many of the buildings still standing in his hometown, and designed their own home as a model of modern design. When Tony’s father passed away in 1967, Tony and his mother moved to Miami Shores, Fla., where he spent his youth.
In Florida, Tony joined the Society for Creative Anachronism, indulging in his love of both European and Japanese history. He was known in the Society by his chosen name of Edward of Effingham, though he also created a Japanese alter-ego, Hiraizumi Tôrokurô Tadanobu, and became an authority within the Society on Japanese history.
Graduating from Florida State University in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in Japanese studies, Tony went on to complete his graduate degree in Japanese studies (history, language, and armor) at Takoshoku University in Tokyo in 1986. While living in Japan, he started writing for local magazines (including Wings, the inflight magazine for Japan Air Lines) and it is there that he wrote his first book for London's Osprey Publishing, The Samurai, Elite #23. He eventually worked as a features editor at the Mainichi Daily News and as an editor at Tokyo Journal, an English-language monthly city magazine. Interested in Japanese armor and history, he joined the Nihon Katchû Bugu Kenkyû Hozon Kai (The Association for the Research and Preservation of Japanese Helmets and Armor) and was one of only four non-Asian members.
He also continued his work in the SCA as a member of the Palatine Barony of the Far West (including Japan, Korea, Guam, and the Philippines) in the Kingdom of the West. While living in the West, he served a stint as the Palatine Baron of the Far West, and was awarded a Court Baronage when he stepped down.
In 1992, Tony returned to the United States and lived and worked in northern California's Bay Area until hired by TSR to take over as editor of Dragon Magazine in 1995. In the SCA, he was awarded a Rose Leaf by King James and Queen Verena of the West for his work on Japanese arts and sciences, and made a member of the Order of the Pelican, the SCA’s highest order for service, by King Phillip and Queen Linda.
While still in California, Tony made a decision to study religion, and enrolled at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania. He found that he missed academia, however, and joined the department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University's Bloomington Campus. He was awarded an MA in Japanese, with his thesis being a translation and commentary of the Muromachi tale Iwaya no sôshi (The Tale of the Cave House). In 2002, he was recognized in the SCA for his academic achievements with their highest honor for Arts and Sciences, and made a member of the Order of the Laurel by King Valharic and Queen Katherine Alys of the Middle for his work.
In 2005, Tony moved to Northern Virginia, where he took a break from academia, working on translations and consultations. He also continued his lively participation in multiple online communities. From his online gaming friends to various online Japanese history forums, Tony was well known in many circles. He was a resident scholar at the Samurai Archives forums, and a regular participant in forums for Japanese personas in the SCA, such as the Tousando bulletin board, and the SCA-Japanese Mailing List (SCA-JML). He would offer advice and encouragement to new members and freely shared his knowledge on all things Japanese.
In 2011, Tony returned to Franklin when he had a chance to purchase his parents’ first home, continuing his work as a Japanese literary translator. With the support of his family, many still resident in Franklin, he restored the home to its former glory, which was a labor of love for him. He became a respected officer of the Franklin Masonic Lodge No. 107, F&AM, an officer with Baldwin Commandery No. 2 of Knights Templar in Shelby County and a member of the Murat Shrine and Valley of Indianapolis Scottish Rite.
Tony was a scholar, a teacher, and a friend. His work touched so many people, in person and around the globe. To that end we, his friends and students, will be working to continue his legacy. We will keep his page up, and continue to answer questions about Japanese armor, clothing, etc. We will keep the e-mail account alive for anyone with questions, and continue Tony’s mission to encourage others to study Japanese history.
-Joshua L. Badgley
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|Sengoku Daimyo Shop
(A variety of items of interest to those with an interest in historical Japanese culture.)
|Order of the Laurel
(Buy select items with the badge for the Order of the Laurel done up as the Grand Cross of one of Europes great orders.)