Monday, 3 May 2004

Poor orientalism

We have had a spate of samurai films recently and they have inspired some ill-informed comments. One of the critics demonstrated his profound ignorance of things Japanese by referring to the writer Yukio Mishima’s obsession with an old samurai practice known as Bunburyodo, translating it as "the dual way of literature and the sword”.

This is nonsense. Mishima’s philosophy was romantic-militaristic twaddle, and he never really understood Bunburyodo. Those familiar with the seminal essay called The Importance of Being by the Japanese-Indian philosopher Osikawai-Oudh will know that the word means, literally, “The Way of Earnestness”, and refers to the ancient Japanese tradition of travelling to give succour to sick friends.


Anonymous said...

Took me a long time to work this out but I got there in the end.
J B Wrotham

Minerva said...

Ah...but did he wear a handbag?