Sir Tanaka Raiko, who on Wednesday was named as the 17th Tyger of the East, has generously shared with Gazette readers his memories of his induction into the order. Established April 26, A.S. 37 by Darius II and Roxane II, the Tyger of the East is an award ” given to those who most embody and personify the ideals of the East Kingdom.” It is given only once per reign.
“Some hours ago I was named the 17th Tyger of the East.
I have to be honest with you, the reality of what that means didn’t dawn on me at the time. I mean here I am in the Pennsic Court of Gregor and Kiena with the 404, the fighting unit of the East that I have the honor to co-command with Sir Albrecht von Halstern. We marched in at their majesties’ request. We are Her Majesties army, Queen Kiena explains, as She had selected my squire, Ryuokojin of the Iron Skies, to be Her champion some months before.
I smiled with pride as She talked about how She was honored and pleased with getting to know Ryuokojin and the members of the 404, how they not only fought to support their Kingdom but how they have fun with all they undertake. She asked those in attendance to try to get to know us, for the 404 are her pleasure to be associated with.
The familiar unit call “four oh four” followed by the recognition call “ah whoo” barked by the unit members echoed throughout the pavilion as we proceeded out column of twos.
Then, His Majesty called me – “Sir Tanaka”. I stopped and faced my king. suspicious of the reason for the call. “What could he want of me?” I am his man, he need but ask and if it is in my power to do I will. My King and I have known each other for years. I regard him as one of the Great Kings of the East.
Gregor speaks in detail of our relationship over those years, as King to subject, as brother Knights, and men. That litany of events and efforts, although a matter of record, are presented as my personal history of relationship with the East. It has always been a matter of “if I can do it for the Kingdom then it shall be done.” but it was never ever just “me” — there was always those around who made it happen, who became the living embodiment of Their Majesties’ will; whether it be the residents of my home shire of Rusted Woodlands, the fighters of the East, I’ve always had generous support in my efforts to do the “needful”. My King continued to extol the things that He sees as my efforts, and all I can think of is all the people who made those things happen. In my mind they are the Tygers of the East. They are the ones who answered the call.
I teared up when a piece of artwork is presented to me, commissioned by my King and made by my squire’s hand – a gunsen (a war fan). My squire read the poem that is imprinted on the fan. The line “my scars are the stripes of the tiger of the East” brings me to open weeping. Damn squires… The scroll is read… more tears… it is shown to the audience, It is beautiful and heartfelt and crushes me once again for the little details are what bring my emotions up again. The words are by Mariette de Bretagne, the “tombo” (Japanese for dragonfly) perched on a blade of grass is symbolic of my daughter whose SCA name is the same, and the arms of the “tako” or octopus represent my wife for she does so much she must have many arms.
Once again it is the works of many who honor me. I turn from Their Majesties to see the Tygers present. Kraken Gnashbone shares quiet words of encouragement with me. I fall into the embrace of the members of the order. people who have filled me with wonderment and pride for my association with them. I am not worthy of them but I will endeavor to do so.”