Eräässä toisessa projektissa minulla oli haasteena kirjoittaa rajoitetussa ajassa järkevä englanninkielinen kirjoitus yhdestä kolmen vaihtoehdon aiheesta. Aiheet kaikki käsittelivät jollain tavalla Japanin kulttuuria. Valitsin aiheekseni ”bushi-don”. Ilmeisesti onnistuin tehtävässä melko kiitettävästi, koska sain testissä arvosanaksi täydet pisteet. Ajattelin jakaa kirjoitelman tänne blogiin kanssa, jos vaikka se herättäisi mielenkiintoa lukijoissa. Aikarajan takia juttu on tosin aika lyhyt. Toivottavasti tuommoinen lontoonkielinen juttu vaihteeksi ei haittaa muuten suomenkielisessä blogissa.
’Bushi-do’ (the way of warriors)
Bushi-do is the moral code of the samurai class developed during the feudal period of Japan’s history. The underlining moral guidelines and virtues had been in development as early as 11th century, but mostly the period from 16th century onwards has widely been considered the formative times for Bushi-do. Although the word ‘bushi-do’ was not commonly used during these ages, and was only used mainly in more modern literature.
The core of bushi-do was formed during the relatively peaceful time of Edo period from Neo-Confucianist throughs. The samurai class of Edo period had comparatively little to do with actual warfare, and thus they had time to focus on the philosophical side of the warrior lifestyle. Thus the core virtues of loyalty, honor, martial prowess and frugality of bushi-do were formed. Later scholar, Nitobe Inazo, expanded the bushi-do code to encompass eight specific virtues, righteousness, heroic courage, compassion, respect, integrity, honor, loyalty and self-control. One could draw parallels between bushi-do and the chivalry morals that developed in Europe during the similar feudal period.
Throughout the ages, bushi-do, like many other national concepts (religion, ethics), has been modified to suit the current people of power. One may argue that many of the virtues of bushi-do were not practiced at all during the warring states period, but were a later addition for the purpose of romanticizing and elevating the samurai class above the common people or as promotion tool for so called “uniqueness” of the “Japanese spirit”. This had been used as a great destructive force in mobilizing the nation for the purpose of elite’s aspirations before and during the WW2.
In modern Japan, bushi-do is seen as guide to self-sacrifice for the good of the society or the family unit. Luckily it rarely results in the extreme events like seppuku. Nevertheless, the loyalty and unquestionable obedience towards one’s superior may result in sickness or even death due to overwork, karoshi. On milder level, it may compel the worker to put in extra hours without pay and thus affecting the family life or upbringing of the children (absence of male in home). The good qualities of bushi-do shouldn’t be disregarded either in modern times. If directed well, the virtues of frugality, compassion and righteousness can make a difference professionally and privately.