REACTION PAPER: THE LAST SAMURAI by MeshZap I saw the movie “The Last Samurai” for the second

time with my professor and classmates. I must admit I didn't quite understand the film the first time, but because of our Japan history lessons, I saw the movie in a new light. A modern foreigner interacting with natives is a common theme in success stories, yet native Samurai warriors and their Bushido traditional code provides us not only with Japanese cultural lessons, but with quality life skills as well. What is Bushido? According to Wikipedia, it literally means “the way of the warrior”, prevalent in medieval Japanese samurais that advocates unquestioning loyalty to the master at all costs and obedience in all deeds. Samurais value honor above life. They also believe in reincarnation that's why they were not afraid of death and suffering at all. This was evident during battle scenes where the samurais are prepared to sacrifice their lives to protect the people and beliefs they hold dear. Bushido also teaches the feudal warrior class about loyalty and patriotism. They go as far as ancestor worship, and that there is nothing more important than honor of one's self and that of the country. The emperor has god-like reverence for the Japanese. They treat him as if he is holy that's why direct contact with him is only possible if the emperor wishes it. Also, we can see that his role is not of a leader, but of Japanese idolatry, rendering him useless most of the time. One of my favorite parts of the warrior code would have to be the love of nature, and the respect for all living things. In the movie, I have stumbled upon a beautiful line from Katsumoto: “Like those trees, we are all dying. The future is an illusion; our plans are an illusion, our fears an illusion. We live life in every breath. Eat, drink. Now. Every cup of tea. Every word we write. Every blossom we hold." There is no better way to look at life than the knowledge that we are all dying – just like everything that breathes. The Japanese knows this and until now, the state of their country reflects their great love for nature. When talking about Bushido, one cannot escape from the idea of ritual suicide. I learned from our history class that it's called harakiri or seppuku, and it comes natural to warriors who shun shame. Honor is really a major issue in Japanese culture. Of relating to modernity, specifically World War II, this way of thinking was applied by pilots performing kamikaze to ward off Mongol invasion. These suicidal crashes were inspired by Bushido, and that they were willing to die for the love of their country. A scene from the movie that touched me the most was when Algren's odd companion, Bob, sacrificed his life to save the American. We can hear him uttering the words “Algren-San!” before being shot by the bullet. Though we never got to know his real Japanese name, he showed us the real meaning of respect – of putting others before self. An unnecessary death in the movie, but inspiring nonetheless. Lastly, from Nathan Algren's character, I have learned that the value of life is determined by doing something worth meaning, fighting for it, and getting up each and every time we fall.