Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobé explains samurai philosophy to Westerners. Nitobé lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was born and grew up in Japan and later moved to Europe for study. He worked for the League of Nations and retired in Canada. He came to have a deep understanding of both east and west. His knowledge of Western philosophy and cultural anthropology far exceeds mine for depth.

He is the perfect writer to compare and contrast Japanese and Western thinking. He helps readers understand foreign concepts and practices like ritualized suicide, the roles of women, bushido loyalty. In doing so he gets readers to consider their own culture in a new light. His writing is graceful and insightful. I read this on the train to help me develop a warrior-like mind for law school. It didn't exactly do that as it showed that the samurai were more complex and merciful that I previously believed.

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