7 Maman Philippe

week 7 drawing

As I read Bushido by Inazo Nitobe, I cannot escape the question of how the concept relates to present day. Inazo begins by saying that Bushido is ever present as it relates to our ethical system. “It is still a living object of power and beauty among us; and if it assumes no tangible shape or form, it not the less scents the moral atmosphere, and makes us aware that we are still under its potent spell” (Nitobe, 33). Here Nitobe is relating the concept of bushido to the Christian tenet of chivalry. He says it encompasses all the same values for the West as bushido does for the east. With this point I do not disagree. However, I would say that the concept of Bushido does more to contribute to the modern sense of dissonance that the Japanese feel. The pull between the old form and the new sense of change present in Japan is highlighted when we look at bushido’s place in modern society. It is present in our moral compasses. “A man controls his heart with decorum and his actions with righteousness” (Inouye, 89). While it is also at war with our desire to be free to adopt a life spent trying to reach new heights in the socio-economic hierarchy. This conflict lies in, “a core paradigm of change versus form, one that we have identified as central to so many other Japanese cultural phenomena” (Inouye, 88). As the skit Samurai Delicatessen taught us, it would be ridiculous to commit seppuku over a botched lunch.However, the sarcasm in that skit does undermine the fact that Nitobe was right. The honor of bushido that has been handed down, “written on the fleshy tablets of the heart,” and is still present in our lives. Perhaps it is not a conflict between our old values and new desire for progress, but instead an issue lying in the rigid interpretation of the bushido of Japan’s past. If the values of bushido are accepted asNitobe describes them, permanent undertones in our modern version of chivalry, then the cultural conflict is reduced.

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