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Bushido the Soul of Japan

Bushido the Soul of Japan

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Published by the7thdr
"Very strongly recommended reading for students of Japanese cultural history and the martial arts, Bushido: The Soul of Japan is a powerful presentation and a moving book with ideas as relevant today as they were 100 years ago." -Midwest Book Review

A century ago, when Japan was transforming itself from an isolated feudal society into a modern nation, a Japanese educator queried about the ethos of his people composed this seminal work, which with his numerous other writings in English made him the best, known Japanese writer in the West during his lifetime.

He found in Bushido, the Way of the Warrior, the sources of the virtues most admired by his people: rectitude, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty and self-control. His approach to his task was eclectic and far-reaching. On the one hand, he delved into the indigenous traditions, into Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism and the moral guidelines handed down over hundreds of years by Japan's samurai and sages. On the other hand, he sought similarities and contrasts by citing not only Western philosophers and statesmen, but also the shapers of European and American thought and civilization going back to the Romans, the Greeks and Biblical times.

This book is a classic to which generations of scholars and laymen alike have long referred for insights into the character of the Japanese people. And all of its many readers in the past have been amply rewarded, as will be all those who turn to its pages in the next and future decades.
"Very strongly recommended reading for students of Japanese cultural history and the martial arts, Bushido: The Soul of Japan is a powerful presentation and a moving book with ideas as relevant today as they were 100 years ago." -Midwest Book Review

A century ago, when Japan was transforming itself from an isolated feudal society into a modern nation, a Japanese educator queried about the ethos of his people composed this seminal work, which with his numerous other writings in English made him the best, known Japanese writer in the West during his lifetime.

He found in Bushido, the Way of the Warrior, the sources of the virtues most admired by his people: rectitude, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty and self-control. His approach to his task was eclectic and far-reaching. On the one hand, he delved into the indigenous traditions, into Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism and the moral guidelines handed down over hundreds of years by Japan's samurai and sages. On the other hand, he sought similarities and contrasts by citing not only Western philosophers and statesmen, but also the shapers of European and American thought and civilization going back to the Romans, the Greeks and Biblical times.

This book is a classic to which generations of scholars and laymen alike have long referred for insights into the character of the Japanese people. And all of its many readers in the past have been amply rewarded, as will be all those who turn to its pages in the next and future decades.

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Published by: the7thdr on Aug 31, 2009
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BUSHIDOTHE SOUL OF JAPANBYINAZO NITOBÉ, A.M., Ph.D.
Author's Edition, Revised and Enlarged13th EDITION1908DECEMBER, 1904TO MY BELOVED UNCLETOKITOSHI OTAWHO TAUGHT ME TO REVERE THE PASTANDTO ADMIRE THE DEEDS OF THE SAMURAII DEDICATETHIS LITTLE BOOK--"That wayOver the mountain, which who stands upon,Is apt to doubt if it be indeed a road;While if he views it from the waste itself,Up goes the line there, plain from base to brow,Not vague, mistakable! What's a break or twoSeen from the unbroken desert either side?And then (to bring in fresh philosophy)What if the breaks themselves should prove at lastThe most consummate of contrivancesTo train a man's eye, teach him what is faith?"--ROBERT BROWNING,_Bishop Blougram's Apology_."There are, if I may so say, three powerful spirits, which havefrom time to time, moved on the face of the waters, and given apredominant impulse to the moral sentiments and energies of mankind. These are the spirits of liberty, of religion, and of honor."--HALLAM,_Europe in the Middle Ages_."Chivalry is itself the poetry of life."--SCHLEGEL,_Philosophy of History_.
 
PREFACE
About ten years ago, while spending a few days under the hospitable roof of the distinguished Belgian jurist, the lamented M. de Laveleye, our conversation turned, during one of our rambles, to the subject of religion. "Do you mean to say," asked the venerable professor, "that youhave no religious instruction in your schools?" On my replying in thenegative he suddenly halted in astonishment, and in a voice which Ishall not easily forget, he repeated "No religion! How do you impartmoral education?" The question stunned me at the time. I could give noready answer, for the moral precepts I learned in my childhood days,were not given in schools; and not until I began to analyze thedifferent elements that formed my notions of right and wrong, did I findthat it was Bushido that breathed them into my nostrils.The direct inception of this little book is due to the frequent queriesput by my wife as to the reasons why such and such ideas and customsprevail in Japan.In my attempts to give satisfactory replies to M. de Laveleye and to mywife, I found that without understanding Feudalism and Bushido,[1] themoral ideas of present Japan are a sealed volume.[Footnote 1: Pronounced _Boó-shee-doh'_. In putting Japanese words andnames into English, Hepburn's rule is followed, that the vowels shouldbe used as in European languages, and the consonants as in English.]Taking advantage of enforced idleness on account of long illness, I putdown in the order now presented to the public some of the answers givenin our household conversation. They consist mainly of what I was taughtand told in my youthful days, when Feudalism was still in force.Between Lafcadio Hearn and Mrs. Hugh Fraser on one side and Sir ErnestSatow and Professor Chamberlain on the other, it is indeed discouragingto write anything Japanese in English. The only advantage I have over them is that I can assume the attitude of a personal defendant, whilethese distinguished writers are at best solicitors and attorneys. Ihave often thought,--"Had I their gift of language, I would present thecause of Japan in more eloquent terms!" But one who speaks in a borrowedtongue should be thankful if he can just make himself intelligible.All through the discourse I have tried to illustrate whatever points Ihave made with parallel examples from European history and literature,believing that these will aid in bringing the subject nearer to thecomprehension of foreign readers.

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