The Soul of Japan
The concept of Bushido is as relevant today as it was when it was a part of the Japanese way of life during the 13th to 16th centuries. Today, however, it exists as a moral and ethical code rather than a practical fighting one. Bushido is a Japanese term meaning the ‘Way of the Warrior’ that refers to the samurai way of life that many western observers may equate with the notion of European chivalry. The term ‘Bushido’ was made popular to a western audience thanks largely to this book by Inazo Nitobe, which was first written and published in English in 1899. It was only later translated into Japanese where it was initially received with mixed reviews. Yet the book continued to circulate and be read and reached a new best-seller status in the 1980s, and has now been translated into dozens of languages.
This NEW edition includes a specially written introduction by the scholar Solomon James. From this introduction:
Bushido: The Soul of Japan is a classic work on the way of the samurai that continues to attract new readers of all ages and all cultures. Although primarily a treatise on a code and way of life entrenched within ancient Japanese culture it represents ethical and moral conduct that can be applied to any time, any place. Principally a ‘way of the warrior’ it now can be taken as a ‘way of the modern warrior’ – a person who works on themselves as a force for good and betterment.
BUSHIDO AS AN ETHICAL SYSTEM
CHIVALRY is a flower no less indigenous to the soil of Japan than its emblem, the cherry blossom; nor is it a dried-up specimen of an antique virtue preserved in the herbarium of our history. 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. The conditions of society which brought it forth and nourished it have long disappeared; but as those far-off stars which once were and are not, still continue to shed their rays upon us, so the light of chivalry, which was a child of feudalism, still illuminates our moral path, surviving its mother institution. It is a pleasure to me to reflect upon this subject in the language of Burke, who uttered the well-known touching eulogy over the neglected bier of its European prototype.READ MORE
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