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Japanese history - Book Report/Review Example

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Although Hollywood and other forms of world media has made much of a sensation and media circus around the term and understanding of the word “bushido”, the fact of the matter is that this term and its origins and understanding has done a great deal to shape the fabric of…
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Section/# Impacts upon Japanese Society: A Discussion of Bushido Although Hollywood and other forms of world media has made much of a sensation and media circus around the term and understanding of the word “bushido”, the fact of the matter is that this term and its origins and understanding has done a great deal to shape the fabric of both past as well as current Japanese society. As a function of understanding such a construct, this brief analysis will analyze the historical roots of bushido as well as trace some of the ways that bushido has and to a large part continues to impact upon Japanese society and the interpretation thereof.
The word bushido itself means “way of the warrior”. As such, bushido was a type of governing code or overarching principle within which proper and honorable life should be lived according to the samurai. Naturally, the impact of the samurai on Japanese culture is something that could deserve a dissertation length response. However, for purposes of brevity, bushido itself can be understood as analogous to the understanding and application of “chivalry” within Europe. As a means of ordering and quantifying the lifestyle that a person of restraint espouses, bushido came to represent an integral part of Japanese culture. Moreover, one Japanese author wrote of bushido,
“Bushido, then, is the code of moral principles which the samurai were required or instructed to observe.... More frequently it is a code unuttered and unwritten.... It was an organic growth of decades and centuries of military career” (Hurst 511).
In this way, the reader can quickly infer that due to the “unwritten and unuttered content of its rules, bushido was a concept that ultimately worked its way into the modern interpretation of Japanese culture.
As a further instance of the way in which bushido is indicative of the culture of Japan, one need look no further than the means whereby the Emperor and the militaristic government of Japan from the turn of the 20th century until the conclusion of the Second World War sought to utilize the cultural interpretation of bushido as a means to solidify the goals of the Empire. Although it was a stretch to force bushido to mean accepting death as a duty and war as a type of purification, it was not so far removed from the chivalric interpretation of bushido that it did not receive a great deal of resonance with the population at the time; thereby contributing to some of the feverish acts of desperation and sacrifice that were evidenced throughout the war.
Although reading a high level of integration of bushido into the society and culture of Japan is dangerous due to the fact that individuals might see instances of bushido’s influence where they otherwise do not exist, the fact of the matter is that bushido has and continues to make a powerful impact upon the way in which Japanese culture has developed.
Work Cited
Hurst III, G. Cameron. "Death, Honor, And Loyalty: The Bushido Ideal." Philosophy East & West 40.4 (1990): 511. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Jan. 2013. Read More
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