Nothing this week.
This week, we read Nitobe’s Bushido and discussed the monumental changes Japan was making from being the world to being in the world. I loved hearing about how quickly Japan adopted only the best Western traditions while still maintaining their identity. As someone in love with technology, I tried to think about what I would do in that situation. Never in my life have I been presented with such an immensely new piece of technology so great that it would change the entire society I lived in. It could have been dangerous to the Japanese, but Nitobe explains why the Japanese accepted it in the way that they did due to their general belief in ceremony as: “If there is anything to do, there is a best way to do it, and the best way is both the most economical and the most graceful” (Nitobe 67 in my digital copy of the book). In your book you explain how this graceful change was so much more important conceptually than it may have outwardly seemed: “the world beyond Japan mattered in a way that required the Japanese to change their conception of space itself. This new way of thinking would eventually render Japanese space, along with the order of here-and-now, a relative rather than absolute source of meaning and identity. In short, Japan would become a part of (world) space rather than the definition of space itself.” This change in the Japanese self was extremely important to the basis of what I, personally, as a westerner see as Japan today – first and foremost a titan of technology, and changed the views of current westerners, especially more so once they began fighting other western powers like the Russians.