Even if my body decays on the fields of Musashi, my Japanese soul will live forever.
This is a quote by Yoshida Shōin, a Samurai and an intellectual during the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate. He was against the policy of national isolation, put in place by the Shogunate, and believed it was essential to incorporate modern advances while holding on to traditional values.
Shōin was only 29 years old, when he was executed for plotting rebellion. However, the Shogunate fell a few years later and Japan was set upon a path of transformation, from a feudal society into the modern state of today, partly due to the efforts of his famous pupil, Takasugi Shinsaku.
Here is the Japanese version of the quote.
Mi wa tatoi
Musashi no nobe ni
Kuchinu to mo
When I first read these words, I was instantly fascinated by Japan. Only a great culture could have inspired such noble sentiment in a man. I feel the same way about my own.
The words ‘Yamato Damashii‘ meaning ‘Japanese Spirit’ or ‘ The Soul of Japan’ were used as a tool of propaganda during World War II by Japanese nationalists. Even such a splendid belief can be distorted into an expression of self-conceit, by those who refuse to appreciate the world for its immense possibility and delightful diversity.
Thank you, Nezel Yurong, for challenging me and giving me the opportunity to share some of my favorite quotes. Please visit her wonderful blog @ Purposive Writer. I’m sure you will appreciate her thoughtful writings.
Rules of the Challenge
- Three quote for three days.
- Thank the person who nominated you.
- Three nominees each day (no repetition)
- Inform the nominees.