Bring Back The Coliseum II

Ivan Morris gave examples, from each period of Japanese history, of sincere noblement and samurai who suffer defeat at the hands of practical politicians and thus became tragic heroes. The fact that some of them were also paragons of loyalty is not at all strange, since sincerity and loyalty are closely related. For a retainer or vassal, sincerity could consist solely of loyalty toward a sovereign. Moreover, both of these virtues have to be put to the test to determine whether they are genuine or not. Suffering is their common motif. Death is the ultimate demonstration of fidelity.

The theme of loyalty-to-death was expressed very early in Japanese culture, for example, in the following stanza written in 749 and included in the Man’yoshu, Japan’s first major anthology of verse :

By the sea our corpses shall steep in the water.
On the hills our corpses shall rot in the grass.
We will die by the side of your sovereign.
We will never look back.

Gregory Barrett, Archetypes in Japanese film: the sociopolitical and religious significance of the principal heroes and heroines, 1989, p22

氣志團 (Kishidan) – 族 (Zoku)

See Also : Bring Back The Coliseum

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