November 24, 2008
East vs. West: A Look Into the True Nature of Bushido
Almost from the very birth of written word, storytellers, or historians, have compared the differing nature of those civilizations in the East to that of the Western World. Whether the focus of this difference lies in the Middle East or the Far East, the theme of cultural diversity remains relatively unchanged throughout the endless course of this discussion. In an attempt to dissect one glaring difference between the two cultures, one needs simply to look at the Japanese code of Bushido to see a stark clash of ideals. Bushido, or “The Way of the Warrior,” is a code of conduct, unwritten in any universally accepted form, which embodied the life of many Samurais in Japanese society. Surrounded by both myth and legend, and defined by both Eastern and Western terms, the look into the real history of Bushido ideals and the samurai who followed them shows that indeed the Japanese people do have a history of Bushido values that survives even until today.
Even in this modern era, fantastic tales still abound the almost mythical memories of Japan’s samurai soldiers; but what is the reality that lies behind theses legendary warriors? Noted for their divine commitment to the Bushido code of ethics, finding its place in ink only during the late seventeenth-century, the samurai achieved a status that commanded and demanded respect. The undeniable invasion of Western ideals and military technologies was a blow to the traditions of the samurai; but as these great warriors faded from the landscape of Japan, their moralities still fought for a place in the notably-isolationist culture of Japan. As the Japanese role in a new Westernized world came into question, the warrior code once feared by many was now revered as a national characteristic of Japanese ideals. The broader civilian population came to identify...