Friday, September 21, 2012

Recommended book: The Taming of the Samurai

英語本、front cover of the book、The Taming of the Samurai 

< front cover of the book >

The Japan names of this book are "honor and adaptation."

The subtitles of an English-language edition are " Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan."

An author is college professor Eiko Ikegami lives in the U.S.

She analyzes soul of Japan from 1000 years of the samurai society.

It begins from the single combat in ancient times.

Next, revenge, hara-kiri, insurgence, the Chusingura of Loyal Retainers in the Edo period, and it continues to nationalists of the Meiji Restoration.

The author says that the success of the Meiji Restoration is based on the samurai soul of Edo Period.

In this opinion, "honor" is born from violent competition of the samurai started at 1000 years ago, and it was affected by the influence of a next societal change.

An author presupposes that "the samurai's honor" induced a motivation and a social order.









 忠臣蔵、Chusingura 、 Loyal Retainers

< the Chusingura of Loyal Retainers : 忠臣蔵 >

I summarize this book simply.

1 In order to obtain the reliance from a Master, the samurai is proud of bravery.
 And he must do so that a master does not doubt his loyalty. It was the "honor" which serves as reputation from the environment.

2 This developed the revenge, a single combat and hara-kiri that endures shame.

3            The battle shifted to the collective strategy from the individual, the war finished and the government institution of the Edo period was established. In line with that, the honor changed.

4 The violence by honor confused society and it was pressed down. On the other hand, the honor of the bureaucrat supporting the government was required.

5 This inconsistency made the soul of the samurai intellectual was refractive and sublimate.

6 A samurai loves a master intently, moreover he does not fear death, and he thinks that the self-control is important.

7  The samurai should render loyalty to the country and not a master. If a samurai is required, he desperately admonishes and schemes also for a master shift.

8        In this way, the samurai came to think his ideal is important. This is an Honorific Individualism.

9        At the time of the Meiji Restoration, organization was easily changed. People who implement the politics were all samurai.  

10     Traditionally, although this was low regarded as the incomplete people's revolution, it was not so.

葉隠、 warrior、 death、  Hagakure

< “the way of the warrior is death”  Hagakure               > 

Probably, this book comprehensively explains the soul of Japan.


1 武士は主君からの信頼を得る為に、武勇を誇り、忠誠を疑われないようにしなければならなかった。それが周囲から評判となる「名誉」であった。

2 このことが報復、一騎打ち、恥を凌ぐ切腹を発展させた。

3  戦闘が個人から集団の戦略に移行し、戦乱が終わり、江戸時代の官僚機構が定着すると、名誉に変化が生じた。

4  名誉による暴力は社会を混乱させたので押さえられた。一方で幕藩体制を支える官僚の名誉は必要であった。

5 この矛盾は武士知識人の心に屈折と昇華を生みだした。

6        武士は一途に主君を愛し、死をも恐れない、また克己を重視する。「葉隠れ」

7        武士は君主にでなく国に忠誠を尽くすべきである. 必要なら命懸けで諫言し、君主交代をも画策する。

8 こうして武士は自分の理想を重視するようになった。これは一つの名誉個人主義である。

9 明治維新の時に、体制はあっさりと切り替えられた。その政治を担った人々は総べて武士だった。

11 従来、このことは未完の市民革命と低く見られていたが、そうではなかった。

< 「武士道とは死ぬことと見つけたり」 葉隠 >



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