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Coursework Example: The Significance of the Samurai to Japanese National Identity

2 pages
543 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
Course work
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What is the Significance of the Samurai to Japanese National Identity?

The samurai military class played a significant role in shaping the culture of the Japanese people and the overall Japanese national identity. Despite the fact that samurai is no longer in existence, the influence of these military warriors continue to manifest itself in the Japanese with the samurai heritage being evidently visible in all over of Japan. For example, the samurai heritage is visible and preserved in the great castle, the carefully planned garden and in the beautifully preserved samurai residences. The samurai heritage is also ingrained deeply in the Japanese people psyches. Bushido has been the basis of samurai conduct which is considered as the way of the warrior. As a unique philosophy, bushido valued honor, selflessness and reckless bravery as well as the duty of the warrior to the master with the aim of surrendering ones life while embracing death. Fear had no place in the way of the warrior. This behavior was viewed as a conduct of respect, self-discipline and ethical behavior that has become the role model behavior amongst Japanese and for other classes across Japans history.

What Characteristics of the Samurai are Evident in Modern Japanese Society?

Bushido, a warrior cipher of Samurai, is still present in Japan. The most significant feature of Bushido is loyalty along with respect and honor. The three virtues are vital to the country, families and in the Imperial house. Today, Japanese citizens do not dishonor the core virtues as they are keywords lost in several societies. Japan is perhaps the sole country globally eminent in these values. In numerous ways, Bushido embraces several issues of peoples lives today as present Japanese culture entails a diverse combination of the new and old. Japanese children are instilled with respect, loyalty and honor implying that they learn ethical systems and traditional arts in the educational set up and the society.

Explain the Significance of the Story of the 47 Samurais. Why do you think it is so Important, Even today, to Many Japanese?

The ideals of the samurai including commitment, selflessness and the glorification of death to express an individuals honor as a samurai was a mark of class. In each class of the Japanese society, there were distinct values for each class including peasants, artisans, samurai, and merchants. The ronis actions and motives reflect the ideals of the Tokugawa society which up to date the modern Japanese still shows sympathy. Today, Japanese continue to value loyalty and gives identity to distinct groups of belonging. For instance, businessmen introduce their business names before introducing their names. Up to date, the values of bushido are still held with great significance among the Japanese people.

Does it Matter That Elements of the Story are Unclear and May be Untrue? What does this tell us About National Identities?

Although elements of the samurai story might be untrue and unclear, it still matters in the development of Japanese national identities. National myths and legends are often inspiring anecdotes about the history of a country. Such myths and stories are important national symbols that affirm the countries values. These fictionalized stories are usually elevated to mythological and esteemed levels so as the nationals can be true to the nation


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