The Evolution of the Ancient Way of the Warrior: From the Ancient Chronicles to the Tokugawa Period

  • Maria Paola CULEDDU Sapienza University - Rome
Keywords: Bushidō, samurai, Shogunate, literature, history of Japan, Gunki monogatari, legal codes, transformation

Abstract

The term bushidō is widespread today and involves history, philosophy, literature, ­sociology and religion. It is commonly believed to be rooted in the ancient “way” of the bushi or samurai, the Japanese warriors who led the country until modern times. However, even in the past the bushi were seldom represented accurately. Mostly, they were depicted as the authors thought they should be, to fulfil a certain role in society and on the political scene.By taking into account some ancient and pre-modern writings, from the 8th to the 19th centuries, from the ancient chronicles of Japan, war tales, official laws, letters, to martial arts manuals and philosophical essays, and by highlighting some of the bushidō values, this article attempts to answer the questions how and why the representation of the bushi changed from the rise of the warrior class to the end of the military government in the 19th century.

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Author Biography

Maria Paola CULEDDU, Sapienza University - Rome

"Cultore della Materia" in East Asian Studies, Assistant

Published
2018-06-29
How to Cite
CULEDDU, M. P. (2018). The Evolution of the Ancient Way of the Warrior: From the Ancient Chronicles to the Tokugawa Period. Asian Studies, 6(2), 87-109. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2018.6.2.87-109
Section
Historical Backgrounds