View Full Version : Yamato Damashii education in pre-WWII Japan

21st December 2003, 03:51

I'm writing an essay for my Contemporary Japanese History class about the nationalistic movement in Japan in the early 20th century and especially the selling of the "bushidou" as a national idealogy. I've so far found a few good articles on the subject, namely Karl Friday's article "Bushido or Bull? A Medieval Historian's Perspective on The Imperial Army and the Japanese Warrior Tradition", G. Cameron Hurst III: "Death, Loyalty and the Bushido Ideal", Ikuo Abe, Yasuharu Kiyohara and Ken Nakajima: "Sport and Physical Education under Facistization in Japan". As one can guess from the fore mentioned articles, I'm planing to take a critical viewpoint on the whole bushidou ideal.

The kind of books and articles I'm now after is the late 19th - early 20th centry commentaries to classical texts that influenced the the idea of Yamato Damashii (I've understood that Hakagure was one quite important influence) and the writings from that time that were popular and widespread among the right wing politicians and the army (like Inazo Nitobe's "Bushidou", which, If I've understood correctly, was not only popular in the Western world, but also in Japan). I'm also interested in any studies about the goverment education and propaganda drawing the link between Yamato Damashii and the "bushidou".
Hurst mentions Takagi Takeshi as Nitobe's contemporary, but I can't find any further information about him.

English language sources preferred, but Japanese will also do.

Thank you in advance!

John Lindsey
21st December 2003, 04:05

I suggest you read the book "Zen at War."

Joseph Svinth
21st December 2003, 05:00
You might find some guidance from this class reading list:

The text you mentioned is probably Takagi, Takeshi. A Comparison of Bushi-do and Chivalry. Trans. by Tsuneyoshi Matsuno. TM International Academy: Japan,1984. You may need to check the online library catalogs to see who has it, and then sic interlibrary loan on them.

I also recommend Prof. Bodiford's essays in Thomas A. Green, ed., "Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia," California, 2001.

P Goldsbury
21st December 2003, 11:45
Joe's list is pretty comprehensive, but you might like to look at Eiko Ikegami's "The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan" for a more sympathetic analysis of the Hagakure than that usually given by other scholars.

Best regards,