Livsidealet i förändring : En komparativ litteraturstudie kring utvecklingsprocessen och definitionen av begreppet bushidō
Sammanfattning: The samurai has been viewed as the Oriental equivalent of the feudalistic knights of Europe ever since the Europeans of old first landed on the shores of Japan in the 16th century. This comparison was not only because of their positions as the military class of their respective societies, but also because of the similarities in ethics and morality causing them to personify the concept of chivalry. The code of moral principles, based on the influences of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shintoism, which the samurai was either instructed or required to observe, is called Bushidō or the Way of the Samurai. By the application of the theory of conceptual history, the study analysed the three works The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, Hagakure – The Way of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, and Bushido – The Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe. The purpose of the essay was to analyse and discuss how bushidō has been defined and explained by the three sources written in different time periods and how these three authors differ in their definitions of bushidō. Furthermore, the definitions were contextualized based on the societal changes of Japan between the time of writing the sources. The results showed how the authors focus on different aspects of what is included in bushidō and how the samurai was supposed to act for the benefit of society. Musashi added more focus on the way the samurai was supposed to excel on the battlefield. Tsunetomo, however, wrote his work while peace in Japan had established itself and thus focused on how the samurai was supposed to behave outside of the battlefield. Nitobe’s definition of bushidō also showed implications of a change in society based on how he chose to explain the concept of what bushidō was, and how it had evolved without the knights who had fostered it. Lastly, the study was discussed within an educational context. The samurai have seen a rise in popular history through games, film, advertisements, and more, and thus the curiosity of students, not only in Oriental culture, but Japanese culture in particular has been acknowledged. Therefore, teachers need further development of their own knowledge within the field of Oriental culture, which this study hopefully succeeds in.
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