7 Shigenobu Hanako

I observed an especially bright moon while leaving the library.


Inouye prefaced the lectures for this week by saying that Japan becomes slightly disappointing in that it grows into just another modern place. However, at the end of the week, I was not disappointed with how Japan evolved after Commodore Perry and the black ships arrived. Given that modernization was inevitable, Japan did an impressive job retaining the culture that makes it unique. Even after the samurai were stripped of their position, the Japanese people maintained the values of politeness, generosity, honer, self control, and benevolence that stemmed from them that Bushido discusses. I think these qualities are rooted in the samurai’s “grand capacity to do and to suffer” (Inazo 45). I think this is one of the principle differences from western culture. Western cultures try to avoid suffering by constantly stressing doing what makes you happy; whereas, in Japan, following gi-ri is emphasized, whether that makes you happy or not is irrelevant. It is sad to think that gi-ri describes “why a mother must, if need be, sacrifice all her other children in order to save the first-born” and why it committing suicide is honorable (Inazo, 48-49). However, it also creates an incredible sense of nationalism because everyone is samurai in nature. This nationalism is so powerful that “after it is blown to the four winds, it will still bless mankind with the perfume with which it will enrich life. Ages after when its customaries will have been buried and its name forgotten, its odours will come floating in the air” (Inazo 154). So, even centuries after the start of westernization, and now in an extremely globalized world, traces of bushido is and forever will be present.

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