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Old 05-29-2009, 11:32 PM   #101
Buck
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Quote:
Rennis Buchner wrote: View Post
The context of the work's value is what seems to need to be discussed more here. As I have said previously, the idea that "the Japanese" considered it such a "primer" is false. Many Japan did, and still do, reject the work as having not much, if anything, to do with whatever historically might have been called Bushido.

... but it is when you go around trying to claim as being a continuation of bushi-based Japanese ideals accepted by all (or even most) is were you run into trouble and get massively long threads on the issue.

Rennis Buchner
This is what I have been saying all along, if you go back through my posts you will see it. Like I said, Nitobe never was writing a book on bushido, he was using it as a instrument in his argument, an argument that was laid out in his preface. And in the passages I posted you see he wasn't concerned with defining, or what ever, his concerns where on a bigger scale and scope, the cause of Japan. He tells us that in the foward and more precisely in the last chapter in his book. You have to consider his time period and who was his audience in the way he wrote the book, it was for them to understand something in their snobbery and arrogance could get their head around about his culture i.e. Japan has no religion, that is absurd, impossible! -kind of thing.

You would have to think that Nitobe's book was defining budo like the Hagakure or other such books to say Nitobe's views are flawed on bushido. That thinking is the flaw, either way. Again why isn't he criticized concerning Christianity, having a flawed view be? It is because he is mis-read as defining bushido as Yamamoto and others did before. Why is he misread, because he wrote his book around 1899 in English of that day, since there no need to translate it in comtemporary English, like the Hagakure that was written in Japanese.

Last edited by Buck : 05-29-2009 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:48 PM   #102
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

The book is about religion. Here again why isn't Nitobe being criticized about Christianity? The book shows that Japanese have ethics and moral in a way snobby parlor Victorians can understand. It was written for them to prove something to them, and not the Japanese martial arts community, or ours.

I find it odd that there is the effort to discredit Nitobe on the grounds of bushido by people on the net. People who don't, haven't, are prohibited, and unable to live the bushido life. Again it goes back to what I said to Ron about Slavery and Cowboys.

Last edited by Buck : 05-29-2009 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:49 PM   #103
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Peter,
this is the quote you are concerned with it should read as follows and the quote is italicized and in bold for your your convenience:

Something to consider when there is comment made about Nitobe being flawed in his understanding of Bushido. I would definately not mistake Nitobe for anything thing else than being, well I will quote him, "The direct inception of this little book is due to the frequent queries put by my wife as to the reasons why such ideas and customs prevail in Japan." He is talking about what formed his moral notions which he credited it to Bushido. He was born during the feudal period of Japan.
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Old 05-31-2009, 12:03 AM   #104
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

I am not entirely sure why you made the last post, or whether we are actually on the same wavelength. I myself have the book and I think we need the first few paragraphs of the Preface to the First Edition:

"About ten years ago, while spending a few days under the hospitable roof of the distinguished Belgian jurist, the lamented M. de Laveleye, our conversation turned during one of our rambles, to the subject of religion. "Do you mean to say," asked the venerable professor, "that you have no religious instruction on your schools?" On my replying in the negative, he suddenly halted in astonishment, and in a voice which I shall not easily forget, he repeated "No religion! How do you impart moral education?" The question stunned me at the time. I could not readily answer, for the moral precepts I had learned in my childhood days were not given in schools; and not until I began to analyse the different elements that formed my notions of right and wrong, did I find that it was Bushido that breathed them into my nostrils.

"The direct inception of this little book is due to the frequent queries put by my wife as to the reasons such and such ideas and customs prevail in Japan.

"In my attempts to give satisfactory replies to M. de Laveleye and to my wife, I found that without understanding feudalism and Bushido, the moral ideas of present Japan are a sealed volume.

"Taking advantage of enforced idleness on account of a long illness, I put down in the order now presented to the public some of the answers given in our household conversation. They consist mainly of what I was taught and told in my youthful days, when feudalism was still in force." (Preface, pp. xi-xii.)

In my university graduate classes (all Japanese students), there tended to be an even split between those who thought that Bushido was crucial for understanding "the moral ideas of present Japan" (even in 2008, when I last taught the class) and those who thought it was a dead concept, never really instantiated, that was finally laid to rest as a result of World War II.

Nitobe's wife was American and I can imagine the domestic scene. I remember a similar scene many years later, when I myself started aikido training in 1969. My Japanese teacher taught that aikido was/is essentially bushido, teaching and practicing all the same virtues that Nitobe lists. The only difference with Nitobe is that my teacher laid far more stress than Nitobe on the Emperor (though Nitobe is fairly effusive):

"Mommsen, comparing the Greek and the Roman, says that when the former worshipped he raised his eyes to Heaven, for his prayer was contemplation, while the latter veiled his head, for his was reflection. Essentially like the Roman conception of religion, our reflection brought into prominence not so much the moral as the national consciousness of the individual. Its nature-worship endeared the country to our inmost souls, while its ancestor-worship, tracing from lineage to lineage, made the Imperial family the fountain-head of the whole nation. To us the country is more than the land and soil from which to mine gold or reap grain--it is the sacred abode of the gods, the spirits of our forefathers: to us the Emperor is more than the Arch Constable of a Rechstaat or even the Patron of a Culturstaat--he is the bodily representative of Heaven on earth, blending in his person its power and its mercy. If what M. Boutmy says is true of English royalty--that it "is not only the image of authority, but the author and symbol of national unity," as I believe it to be, doubly and trebly may this be affirmed of royalty in Japan." (Nitobe, Bushido, pp. 14-15.)

Now many years later, I still believe that my first teacher--and also Nitobe, present a view of Bushido that is fundamentally flawed.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 05-31-2009, 12:12 AM   #105
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Phil,

Secondly, there is no relationship between your quotation and 'his moral notions'. Perhaps you should have given the entire section:
"In my attempts to give satisfactory replies to M. de Laveleye and my wife (who asked "the reasons why such and such ideas and customs prevail in Japan"), I found that, without understanding feudalism and Bushido (with a footnote on pronunciation), the moral ideas of present Japan are a closed volume."
"Taking advantage of a long illness, I put down in the order now presented to the public some of the answers given in our household conversations. They consist mainly of what I was taught and told in my youthful days, when feudalism was still in force." (Preface, p. xii).

So where is the actual evidence about the 'formation of his moral notions'? Actually, Nitobe was born in 1862, which would make him just SIX years old when the 'feudal period' officially ended.

Many apologies for sounding like a professor in a tutorial, but if you are going to quote Nitobe himself in defence of your argument, you should be fair to Nitobe as well as yourself.

As always, best wishes,

PAG
Your right. I stated moral notions was referred to by me as the closest thing Japanese had to religion within the context of the book etc. To me the sentence "...I put down in the order now presented to the public some of the answers given in our household conversations. They consist mainly of what I was taught and told in my youthful days, when feudalism was still in force." To me he is saying that HE was taught. Clearly indicating he wasn't defining what Bushido is as some many think and believe he was. That task was already done by those who where Bushido, those who where still alive that influenced him, who lived and continued to follow Bushido in their lives and their hearts until they died.

There is no demarcation of time that definitively says Bushido ended here. It not a goal line on a football field, or a declaration of surrender. Scholars argue that Bushido ended in after the Shimabara rebellion, other don't. Point being it took some time before Bushido was phased out over time and eventually disappeared into obscure practice. We can say Nitobe was influenced, and taught by experts in Bushido, something he infers to in his own words. "...I had learned in my childhood days,were not given in schools;they were imparted as part of the feudal tradition that still held sway over much of Japan in my youth." And in his own words, he doesn't state or imply he is an expert in Bushido or that he is writing a book that defines Bushido. But, rather trying to answer question that put him on the spot by Westerners in such a way that would be comprehend by Western readers that he had moral education. Part of that was using European parallels- implied Bushido being part of that parallel. Bushido being something he received education in, that still had an influence on Japanese life back then. All done in a way for the benefit of the Western reader .

The rest of the preface supports that three times. He says how discouraging it is for him not to be a native English writer, how in his "discourse" he has made "parallel examples from European history and literature hoping it will help the comprehension of foreign readers." To help them understand "Bushido and the feudal system is essential to a comprehension [of the Western readers] of the soul of Japan. And he also says "All though the work, I have tried to illustrated the points I have made with similar examples from European history and literature. I hope the is will make the subject more relative for the comprehension of the Western reader." He wants them to understand he had morals and points to Bushido to show that presented in a way that would be understood by Western readers. He was bother by the fact he couldn't write as well a native English writer to get his message across better.

Nitobe is concerned about how effective is argument for the cause of Japan. It is clear he is not providing the world with what is or isn't, what should be and shouldn't be Bushido. The guy Ron cited obviously didn't read the preface when he slammed Nitobe. It was really off the mark of what Nitobe was really discussing and what Nitobe was about.

It is us, in our ignorance who don't understand Nitobe's point when we criticize him for not presenting Bushido as we see it should be, and that he has a flawed view on Bushido- as we see it

BTW my edition doesn't number the preface.

Also I just noted Peter you posted a new post, I have yet to read before posting this one. Which means this is not a response to your new post.
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Old 05-31-2009, 12:51 AM   #106
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Now many years later, I still believe that my first teacher--and also Nitobe, present a view of Bushido that is fundamentally flawed.

Best wishes,

PAG
Respectfully, that is your opinion. An opinion you have later come to believe, because, as you imply, you are wiser and thus now think he is flawed as well as your teacher and all the other Japanese that support Nitobe.

Personally I find that difficult to get me head around. It is easy for us to say that almost a hundred later, and being Westerners. I know you have been in Japan a long time, and have experience with the culture. But....That goes along the lines that a White man can understand what it is like to be a black slave. And saying that a black man who was born at the end of slavery and was freed at six years old has a flawed view of slavery base on a book he wrote to communicate that he and the black race are not a species of animal-lesser than human. You can't deign them that experience, with all due respect. You can't be so arrogant to say Nitobe's view of Bushido is flawed, with all due respect. He was closer, way closer, to Bushido, and what it was. He didn't write a definite book on the subject. He wrote about Bushido in a way that could be understood by Victorian Westerners who snub him and Japan. He lived and was taught Bushido under it's influence. His father and mother, and other family lived it, surely.

We practice Aikido, not Bushido. What right do we have to criticize and say a Japanese scholar and researcher who was educated in Bushido and was born at the end of that period, who was trying to show his moral up bring, based in Bushido, to snobby arrogant Westerners, and didn't feel he convey it well enough. If his views are flawed, then they are a hell of allot more right then ours will ever be.

What book, what author is the definite authority on Bushido, Tsunetomo who was a samurai that was more of a suit wearing pencil pushing samurai, then a harden uneducated illiterate battle field vet? A book that was used as a model, put in practice like the Bible, of how to be a samurai for one particular samurai clan?

What is the validation that permits us to make such judgements upon Nitobe and those like him of who is and isn't flawed in their views of Bushido? Regardless of what we think of ourselves, we will certainly never touch or engage in Bushido. We stand at the museum class and take notes.

Peter and others take my tone as being rude or disrespectful. I post in all due respect.

Last edited by Buck : 05-31-2009 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 05-31-2009, 01:50 AM   #107
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Hello,

A few comments.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Respectfully, that is your opinion. An opinion you have later come to believe, because, as you imply, you are wiser and thus now think he is flawed as well as your teacher and all the other Japanese that support Nitobe.
PAG. Yes. It is my opinion--and is subject to the same kind of peer review as Nitobe's opinion about bushido.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Personally I find that difficult to get me head around. It is easy for us to say that almost a hundred later, and being Westerners. I know you have been in Japan a long time, and have experience with the culture. But....That goes along the lines that a White man can understand what it is like to be a black slave. And saying that a black man who was born at the end of slavery and was freed at six years old has a flawed view of slavery base on a book he wrote to communicate that he and the black race are not a species of animal-lesser than human. You can't deign them that experience, with all due respect. You can't be so arrogant to say Nitobe's view of Bushido is flawed, with all due respect. He was closer, way closer, to Bushido, and what it was. He didn't write a definite book on the subject. He wrote about Bushido in a way that could be understood by Victorian Westerners who snub him and Japan. He lived and was taught Bushido under it's influence. His father and mother, and other family lived it, surely.
PAG. I disagree. I do not believe at all that you cannot understand bushido unless you have been born a Japanese. Thus your case of black slavery is quite irrelevant. In the same way, since I was not living in Hiroshima at 8.15 on August 6, 1945, I do not have direct experience of being an A-bomb victim. However, I have a pretty good idea of the moral issues involved in dropping the bomb, and also a pretty good idea of the issues concerning the city government's policy on nuclear weapons, or whether the A-bomb Museum presents a truthful picture of what happened. I do not need to have been an A-bomb victim, in order to understand these issues and have an opinion concerning these issues. I do have an obligation to make sure that these opinions are as well-informed as possible and the same is true of Nitobe's opinions. (In this respect, this thread had hardly scratched the surface.)
Furthermore, I do not agree that an opinion that Nitobe has a flawed view of Bushido is at all arrogant. I am an academic and Nitobe wrote a book. His ideas are public knowledge and his arguments can be tested. Is what he states true, or reasonable? What are the explicit premises of his arguments? What are the assumptions he takes for granted? What effect do these unargued assumptions have on his argument as a whole? This is not arrogance: it is academic common sense.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
We practice Aikido, not Bushido. What right do we have to criticize and say a Japanese scholar and researcher who was educated in Bushido and was born at the end of that period, who was trying to show his moral up bring, based in Bushido, to snobby arrogant Westerners, and didn't feel he convey it well enough. If his views are flawed, then they are a hell of allot more right then ours will ever be.
PAG. Well, as I stated in my previous post, my first aikido teacher argued that aikido was bushido: that when we practised aikido, we practised bushido. I disagreed with him then (and said so) and I disagree with him now. The way you state your views about criticizing Nitobe, you are implicitly denying the possibility of serious historical research and analysis. The wartime Kokutai no Hongi tract also presented a view of Bushido that was just as flawed as that of Nitobe. We have every right to question publicly stated views about Bushido and its argued relationship with aikido. Whether his audience were 'snobby arrogant westerners' is beside the point: it is the ideas themselves that are in question. And the last sentence in the above paragraph (in bold type) is quite unworthy of you as a reasonable debater, given your past contributions to AikiWeb. If you really believe what you have stated, then there is no further point in continuing this discussion.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
What book, what author is the definite authority on Bushido, Tsunetomo who was a samurai that was more of a suit wearing pencil pushing samurai, then a harden uneducated illiterate battle field vet? A book that was used as a model, put in practice like the Bible, of how to be a samurai for one particular samurai clan?
PAG. I hope these are rhetorical questions. I am not concerned with the Hagakure. No one stated in this thread that Nitobe was 'the definite authority on Bushido'. I have seen that some Japanese I have encountered do regard him as an authority on Bushido, but others agree with me that his view of Bushido is flawed.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
What is the validation that permits us to make such judgements upon Nitobe and those like him of who is and isn't flawed in their views of Bushido? Regardless of what we think of ourselves, we will certainly never touch or engage in Bushido. We stand at the museum class and take notes.
PAG. I think I have explained my view of the validation above. Whether we ourselves practice Bushido, or not, is a separate issue and has a much wider scope than Nitobe's view and the question of its validity.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Peter and others take my tone as being rude or disrespectful. I post in all due respect.
PAG. Not at all.

Best wishes,

PAG

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 05-31-2009 at 01:54 AM.

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Old 05-31-2009, 10:43 AM   #108
Buck
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Peter,

I want to thank you for your time with this topic. I know what I said about your statement that you feel Nitobe view is flawed, stuck in your craw. I felt your statement to criticize your statement similar to how Nitobe is criticized by a group on the net that sees Nitobe to be flawed, and influencing many similarly. This is because I think those who see Nitobe being flawed and influenced by them see it from strictly one perspective, and not his. He faced many challenges in explaining the abstract question presented to him in a way he new best that would result in the best understood answer of those who had no idea of his culture.

Therefore it is easy to criticize Nitobe, it makes him an easy mark to do so, because his book was a first attempt to explain to Westerners the complexity and uniqueness of how he seen his oneself and culture way back in the 1800s. In comparison with today where have more contact and understanding of the Japanese.

I think if one is going to criticize Nitobe's view on Bushido, it is something of light fare that is done in one sentence or on a blog, or alike where editors and experts are absent in evaluation of the piece that is posted. I think Nitobe deservers a proper argumentation in the proper forum, regardless of the vanity (I feel of some) who will admonish anyone on the net who subscribes to Nitobe's view of Bushido.

Evidently, we didn't do this here. What I tried to do is give an alternative view on seeing Nitobe. A view I think is more substantial than saying his views on Bushido are flawed, by those who really where not in his shoes, or could be. A man who struggled to communicate himself and his culture to snobby, even pompous closed minded academic Victorians. The flaw of Nitobe was to take the bait they set out. I think that is how the book should be looked at. Of couse it is not the definative book on Bushido, it wasn't intended as I read it, it was a clever refute to say if your going to attack me, you are attacking your own beilef system because yours and mine (moral education) share the same fundemental commonalities. I also think he may wanted to be accepted and recognized by his Western peers and may had been conflicted. That kind of stuff, I think is essential in viewing Nitobe. That is the magic of it, where we can see for possibly the first time in his book the cultural struggle, or what have you, between Japan and the West. A tell, that is more interesting then simply discrediting Nitobe's use of the abstraction of Bushido. We are able to see how different the two cultures where, and the differences in thought and philosopy very readily with Nitobe.

I think under different circumstances Nitobe's book and the use of Bushido would have read different. That is something we also have to take in consideration.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello,

A few comments.

PAG. Yes. It is my opinion--and is subject to the same kind of peer review as Nitobe's opinion about bushido.

PAG. I disagree. I do not believe at all that you cannot understand bushido unless you have been born a Japanese. Thus your case of black slavery is quite irrelevant. In the same way, since I was not living in Hiroshima at 8.15 on August 6, 1945, I do not have direct experience of being an A-bomb victim. However, I have a pretty good idea of the moral issues involved in dropping the bomb, and also a pretty good idea of the issues concerning the city government's policy on nuclear weapons, or whether the A-bomb Museum presents a truthful picture of what happened. I do not need to have been an A-bomb victim, in order to understand these issues and have an opinion concerning these issues. I do have an obligation to make sure that these opinions are as well-informed as possible and the same is true of Nitobe's opinions. (In this respect, this thread had hardly scratched the surface.)
Furthermore, I do not agree that an opinion that Nitobe has a flawed view of Bushido is at all arrogant. I am an academic and Nitobe wrote a book. His ideas are public knowledge and his arguments can be tested. Is what he states true, or reasonable? What are the explicit premises of his arguments? What are the assumptions he takes for granted? What effect do these unargued assumptions have on his argument as a whole? This is not arrogance: it is academic common sense.

PAG. Well, as I stated in my previous post, my first aikido teacher argued that aikido was bushido: that when we practised aikido, we practised bushido. I disagreed with him then (and said so) and I disagree with him now. The way you state your views about criticizing Nitobe, you are implicitly denying the possibility of serious historical research and analysis. The wartime Kokutai no Hongi tract also presented a view of Bushido that was just as flawed as that of Nitobe. We have every right to question publicly stated views about Bushido and its argued relationship with aikido. Whether his audience were 'snobby arrogant westerners' is beside the point: it is the ideas themselves that are in question. And the last sentence in the above paragraph (in bold type) is quite unworthy of you as a reasonable debater, given your past contributions to AikiWeb. If you really believe what you have stated, then there is no further point in continuing this discussion.

PAG. I hope these are rhetorical questions. I am not concerned with the Hagakure. No one stated in this thread that Nitobe was 'the definite authority on Bushido'. I have seen that some Japanese I have encountered do regard him as an authority on Bushido, but others agree with me that his view of Bushido is flawed.

PAG. I think I have explained my view of the validation above. Whether we ourselves practice Bushido, or not, is a separate issue and has a much wider scope than Nitobe's view and the question of its validity.

PAG. Not at all.

Best wishes,

PAG

Last edited by Buck : 05-31-2009 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 05-31-2009, 12:09 PM   #109
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

I think my participation in this thread has run it's course, given two simple facts.

1 : One of the arguments has been that others are making assumptions...yet the only ones in this thread that I see doing that are the ones who wish to either support their view of Nitobe's work as a valid source for some level of a definition of Bushido, or those putting forward an idea of an "internet conspiracy". These are assumptions...and no evidence has been presented to bolster these assumptions in any way with anything like facts or critical thinking. This being coupled with the use of words like "ego", "vanity", etc., show a willingness to use those assumptions to cast others in a negative light, without the ability to actually back that up. Further, assumptions are made as to what the motives of others are. And these assumptions are again used to cast others in a negative light.

2 Phil has repeatedly ignored the reasoned arguments of others actually trained in this kind of discussion, and actually mis-characterized the contributions of serious scholars in the field. When it is clearly shown that these are NOT being posted on the web, but rather, in serious scholarly journals, and that the authors are looking at the work as a whole and in the context of the times when it was written, his response is: to simply repeat the same weak accusations as earlier, and accuse professional, trained historians of not reading the actual work! He shows no willingness to engage the arguments in good faith, by either addressing the arguments in a factual and logical way, or by accepting that he may have misconstrued something, and moving forward from there.

Lacking any semblance of honest debate, there really is no point in continuing. I am glad however that the conversation (such as it is) took place, because it does give some good examples of what is (and is not) intelligent debate. Hopefully others reading it will be able to look at the various arguments and come to reasonable conclusions on their own. That is one of the values of this sort of medium. Perhaps in future when I see the same thing happening, I'll just post a link to this thread, and move on, rather than attempt to engage someone who simply is not really interested in engaging to begin with.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 05-31-2009 at 12:14 PM.

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Old 05-31-2009, 05:52 PM   #110
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I think my participation in this thread has run it's course, given two simple facts.

1 : One of the arguments has been that others are making assumptions...yet the only ones in this thread that I see doing that are the ones who wish to either support their view of Nitobe's work as a valid source for some level of a definition of Bushido, or those putting forward an idea of an "internet conspiracy". These are assumptions...and no evidence has been presented to bolster these assumptions in any way with anything like facts or critical thinking. This being coupled with the use of words like "ego", "vanity", etc., show a willingness to use those assumptions to cast others in a negative light, without the ability to actually back that up. Further, assumptions are made as to what the motives of others are. And these assumptions are again used to cast others in a negative light.

2 Phil has repeatedly ignored the reasoned arguments of others actually trained in this kind of discussion, and actually mis-characterized the contributions of serious scholars in the field. When it is clearly shown that these are NOT being posted on the web, but rather, in serious scholarly journals, and that the authors are looking at the work as a whole and in the context of the times when it was written, his response is: to simply repeat the same weak accusations as earlier, and accuse professional, trained historians of not reading the actual work! He shows no willingness to engage the arguments in good faith, by either addressing the arguments in a factual and logical way, or by accepting that he may have misconstrued something, and moving forward from there.

Lacking any semblance of honest debate, there really is no point in continuing. I am glad however that the conversation (such as it is) took place, because it does give some good examples of what is (and is not) intelligent debate. Hopefully others reading it will be able to look at the various arguments and come to reasonable conclusions on their own. That is one of the values of this sort of medium. Perhaps in future when I see the same thing happening, I'll just post a link to this thread, and move on, rather than attempt to engage someone who simply is not really interested in engaging to begin with.

Best,
Ron
Ron glad you decided to chime in,and make criticism that are seemly out of know where, as if I was arguing directly with you. I don't see how your post fits in other then trying to discredit my opinion that Nitobe's view on Bushido isn't flawed, and that there isn't a conspiracy (which obviously there is- 3 or more people make it a conspiracy) to prove that. I understand your ad hominem attacks on me, because you have no other contribution to the argument? I am having a discussion, I provide my opinion, because it would be arrogant of me to think I am an expert on the Japanese and Bushido. I base my discussion on Nitobe from his book. I didn't know him personal, and God knows I am not Japanese, nor did I ever want to be, nor could I ever be, and this includes Bushido. My criticisms is on individuals like yourself, that take a wide sweeping red pen to Nitobe's book, and stamping it incorrect. Therefore, then are we not missing all the other good stuff in the book?

Nitobe may not have written a strict definition of Bushido by your standards, so If Nitobe's view is flawed then whose isn't, yours? How about Tsunetomo's view? So then whose definition do you put up against Nitobe's to show us what flawless Bushido is?
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Old 05-31-2009, 06:49 PM   #111
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Ron glad you decided to chime in,and make criticism that are seemly out of know where, as if I was arguing directly with you. I don't see how your post fits in other then trying to discredit my opinion that Nitobe's view on Bushido isn't flawed
I think you have to turn off your attack-sensors and really read what Ron wrote to see how his post "fits". Put simply, he is pointing out that those you disagree with are providing scholarly research to back up what they say, whereas you...well, to be honest, it sounds like your sources are a bit more like Cliff's Notes. Now, you'll probably accuse me of making an ad hominem argument too, but I've got no dog in this hunt, I've got nothing against you, and I'm not even talking about you...just about your argument.

Look, I'm no scholar of Japanese history and culture either. I know a few things, but if someone who's a scholarly heavy hitter were to refute one of my cherished notions, I'd like to think that I would reexamine what I thought was true, rather than simply insist, "Is so!" -- which is kind of how your arguments are sounding to me, I'm afraid to say.
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:13 PM   #112
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

I messed it up here and this is how this is suppose to read.

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Peter,

Revised

I want to thank you for your time with this topic. I know what I said about your statement that you feel Nitobe view is flawed, and stuck in your craw. I felt to criticize your statement that criticized Nitobe's view of Bushido is similar to how Nitobe is criticized by a group on the net. And that, is influencing many to seeing Nitobe being flaw based on limited argumentation.

This is because I think some of those many who are influenced to see Nitobe as flawed, view Nitobe similarly as those Victorian writers challenging him. What is different is they just accept what they hear and they don't ask for a balanced informative argument but rather 't they just accept what they hear because it was said so on the net. Everyone with this view sees it from strictly one perspective, and it isn't Nitobe's.

He faced many challenges in explaining the abstract question presented to him in the way he knew best that would result in the best understood answer of those who had no idea of his culture. During Nitobe's time Japan little was known about it, and it was a mystic and mysterious place.

Therefore it is easy to criticize Nitobe, it makes him an easy mark, because his book was a first attempt to explain to uppity Westerners the complexity and uniqueness of how he seen himself and his culture way back in the 1800s.

Now in comparison with today where we have more contact and understanding of the Japanese it is more easy and familiar to do so. There is no mysterious East, no bridges to build, etc. Our current day and age is a global one, where isolation, as it is a thing of the past.

I think if one is going to criticize Nitobe's view on Bushido, it is something of light fare that is done in one sentence or on a blog, or alike where editors and experts are absent in evaluation of the piece that is posted. I think Nitobe deservers a proper argumentation in the proper forum, regardless of the vanity (I feel of some) who will admonish anyone on the net who subscribes to Nitobe's view of Bushido.

Evidently, we didn't do this here. What I tried to do is give an alternative view on seeing Nitobe, something that is lacking on the net. What is needed is a counter argument -which should be done better than I have done.

I think if we are to say Nitobe’s views are flawed on Bushido, it has to more substantial than just saying so by those who where not ever in his shoes, or could be. Remember he is Japanese working from that end of things to get Westerners to understand the cause of Japan and not the cause of Bushido. He is a man who struggled to communicate himself and his culture to snobby, even pompous closed minded academic Victorians. The flaw of Nitobe was to take the bait they set out. I think that is how the book should be looked at.
Of course it is not the definitive book on Bushido, it wasn't intended to be as I read it, instead it was a clever refute to say if your going to attack me and my belief system, you are attacking your own belief system because yours and mine (moral education) share the same fundamental commonalities.

I also think he may wanted to be accepted and recognized by his Western peers and may had been conflicted. That kind of stuff, I think is essential in viewing Nitobe. That is the magic of it, where we can see, for possibly the first time, in his book the cultural struggle, or what have you, between Japan and the West. A tell, that is more interesting then simply discrediting Nitobe's use of the abstraction of Bushido. The attribute of the book is we are able to see so many different things between the two cultures, like the differences in thought and philosophy and is very readily seen with Nitobe.

Nitobe is also giving us a look at Japan that is more palatable, more digestible, less concentrated to those who are starting their venture into the Japanese cause. The least relevant points than, in comparison, here and above, are whether or not Nitobe does or doesn’t have a flawed view of Bushido, taken to be the exemplary model of Bushido.

I think under different circumstances Nitobe's book and the use of Bushido would have read different. That is something we also have to take in consideration when discussing Nitobe comprehensively and fairly.
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:43 PM   #113
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I think you have to turn off your attack-sensors and really read what Ron wrote to see how his post "fits". Put simply, he is pointing out that those you disagree with are providing scholarly research to back up what they say, whereas you...well, to be honest, it sounds like your sources are a bit more like Cliff's Notes. Now, you'll probably accuse me of making an ad hominem argument too, but I've got no dog in this hunt, I've got nothing against you, and I'm not even talking about you...just about your argument.

Look, I'm no scholar of Japanese history and culture either. I know a few things, but if someone who's a scholarly heavy hitter were to refute one of my cherished notions, I'd like to think that I would reexamine what I thought was true, rather than simply insist, "Is so!" -- which is kind of how your arguments are sounding to me, I'm afraid to say.
Awe, shucks. But...but... that is our relationship. We are internet pundits.We attack each other blindly without reading what the other is saying.

I see what your are saying. Though I feel everyone makes mistakes and can be wrong. Or miss something or get stuck in box. Sometimes fresh eyes are needed, a different perspective is needed. Not everything functions in an academic world. The Ivory Tower world is a world of argumentation. In the academic world it is common to discredit others ideas in favor of yours.

When I post about Nitobe, I am giving an opinion, I am challenging the idea that just because the internet says so, its gotta be true, and not specifically one individual. I don't think you or I need to be an academic (a researcher) to see from different angles, etc.

Also a matter of fact is, Nitobe was a heavy or one of the heaviest academic hitters of his day. He was one of the first in the area of expertise in Japan and Europe. It is odd Mary, that you didn't see that. Rather, you seen Peter as such. When in fact Nitobe paved the way for Peter and others, for all of us really in a way. Nitobe was a pioneer and as so had great value to what he wrote.
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Old 05-31-2009, 07:53 PM   #114
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I see what your are saying. Though I feel everyone makes mistakes and can be wrong. Or miss something or get stuck in box.
Well, sure, but the thing is, scholars get called on it. An academic can be dull, stodgy, abrasive, and uninterested in innovation, but they can't be persistently or consistently factually incorrect without having the academic world call BS on them and substantiating their charges. Did you ever hear the saying, "You have the right to your own opinion; you don't have the right to your own facts"? There is a difference between fact and opinion, and opinion can't gainsay fact. Now, what we're talking about here isn't quite as cut and dried as the difference between "2+2=4" and "kickypunchydo is the best martial art for self-defense", but there's still a big difference between an opinion based on a casual reading of one secondary or tertiary source, and one formed by a critical reading and careful study of numerous primary sources.

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Also a matter of fact is, Nitobe was a heavy or one of the heaviest academic hitters of his day. He was one of the first in the area of expertise in Japan and Europe. It is odd Mary, that you didn't see that. Rather, you seen Peter as such. When in fact Nitobe paved the way for Peter and others, for all of us really in a way. Nitobe was a pioneer and as so had great value to what he wrote.
Do me the courtesy of not telling me what I see who as, mmmkay? Nitobe could be viewed as a "pioneer", yes, but a "pioneer" of what? Not a pioneering scholar of bushido, which is the subject at hand, not so?
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Old 05-31-2009, 09:50 PM   #115
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Well, sure, but the thing is, scholars get called on it. An academic can be dull, stodgy, abrasive, and uninterested in innovation, but they can't be persistently or consistently factually incorrect without having the academic world call BS on them and substantiating their charges. Did you ever hear the saying, "You have the right to your own opinion; you don't have the right to your own facts"? There is a difference between fact and opinion, and opinion can't gainsay fact. Now, what we're talking about here isn't quite as cut and dried as the difference between "2+2=4" and "kickypunchydo is the best martial art for self-defense", but there's still a big difference between an opinion based on a casual reading of one secondary or tertiary source, and one formed by a critical reading and careful study of numerous primary sources.

Do me the courtesy of not telling me what I see who as, mmmkay? Nitobe could be viewed as a "pioneer", yes, but a "pioneer" of what? Not a pioneering scholar of bushido, which is the subject at hand, not so?
Mary, slow down... and re-read my posts. Do me that courtesy, because I don't want you be embarrassed. I said he was an academic pioneer. I never said of Bushido, but between Japan and Europe,i.e. he wrote his book in English concerning .... I have explained it so many times just go back and pls. re-read my posts.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:07 PM   #116
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Oh, I give up. You win, Philip. You're totally right about all of it.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:47 PM   #117
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Buck

I've read and reread your posts now a bunch of times. The only real question I have is whether you wonder why it is that virtually *everyone* is disagreeing with you?

Seems to me there are two possibilities.

One is that your posts are just incredibly difficult to understand (too complex? too esoteric?). And everyone here is simply not of a caliber to understand your point.

*or*

Maybe, just maybe, we do understand what you're saying, but... you're simply wrong...

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Old 06-01-2009, 05:31 AM   #118
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I studied Nitobe in a university in the USA, keep in mind he was well versed in western thinking, and culture. So, I studied him from a western view, along with other western thinkers, not concerning budo, but rather his argument. Which again is totally missed on the western internet that is so bound and determined to show how fundamentally wrong he was about what is and isn't Japanese budo.
I think it will help me, at least, to understand your position about Nitobe if you explain a little more about how you studied him. Did you, for example, read Kitasawa's biography? What was the main theme of the course?

I taught Nitobe's theories of bushido in a course for doctoral students at Hiroshima University. My students were all Japanese and the course featured nihonjinron from a western perspective: how non-Japanese (like Hearn and Benedict) and Japanese living abroad (like Nitobe) contributed to this phenomenon.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 06-01-2009, 07:59 AM   #119
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Please note the following:

I did not attack you, I attacked the lack of evidence and the manner of your arguementation. Read below carefully...you might find it fits your posts much more than mine.

As I said, not much more to say here. I personally do not bother with a definition of Bushido, because it simply is not a factor in my training. Not at all. Budo however, is a strong factor in my training. If you'd like to start another thread about that, I might be interested in discussing my thoughts on the matter. If you can avoid these types of side issues.

Best,
Ron

Quote:
Translated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person."

An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of "argument" has the following form:

Person A makes claim X.
Person B makes an attack on person A.
Therefore A's claim is false.
The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).

Example of Ad Hominem

Bill: "I believe that abortion is morally wrong."
Dave: "Of course you would say that, you're a priest."
Bill: "What about the arguments I gave to support my position?"
Dave: "Those don't count. Like I said, you're a priest, so you have to say that abortion is wrong. Further, you are just a lackey to the Pope, so I can't believe what you say."
Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Ron glad you decided to chime in,and make criticism that are seemly out of know where, as if I was arguing directly with you. I don't see how your post fits in other then trying to discredit my opinion that Nitobe's view on Bushido isn't flawed, and that there isn't a conspiracy (which obviously there is- 3 or more people make it a conspiracy) to prove that. I understand your ad hominem attacks on me, because you have no other contribution to the argument? I am having a discussion, I provide my opinion, because it would be arrogant of me to think I am an expert on the Japanese and Bushido. I base my discussion on Nitobe from his book. I didn't know him personal, and God knows I am not Japanese, nor did I ever want to be, nor could I ever be, and this includes Bushido. My criticisms is on individuals like yourself, that take a wide sweeping red pen to Nitobe's book, and stamping it incorrect. Therefore, then are we not missing all the other good stuff in the book?

Nitobe may not have written a strict definition of Bushido by your standards, so If Nitobe's view is flawed then whose isn't, yours? How about Tsunetomo's view? So then whose definition do you put up against Nitobe's to show us what flawless Bushido is?

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:07 AM   #120
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

Quote:
con⋅spir⋅a⋅cy  /kənˈspɪrəsi/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kuhn-spir-uh-see] Show IPA
–noun, plural -cies. 1. the act of conspiring.
2. an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.
3. a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose: He joined the conspiracy to overthrow the government.
4. Law. an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.
5. any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.
Hmmm...oh never mind...

Best,
Ron

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Old 06-01-2009, 11:42 PM   #121
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I think it will help me, at least, to understand your position about Nitobe if you explain a little more about how you studied him. Did you, for example, read Kitasawa's biography? What was the main theme of the course?

I taught Nitobe's theories of bushido in a course for doctoral students at Hiroshima University. My students were all Japanese and the course featured nihonjinron from a western perspective: how non-Japanese (like Hearn and Benedict) and Japanese living abroad (like Nitobe) contributed to this phenomenon.

Best wishes,

PAG
I don't see Nitobe is glorifying his culture, of twisting the truth to make Japan look good. He isn't being absurd or expecting to accept such absurdity of his culture. There are other more modern author's that do that. And I am not guilty of nihonjinron. Like I said before, he wrote in English and defending what a Western peer found absurd that Japanese religion isn't like there. What is the similar term to nihonjinron when Westerners do it? When we stereotype and are pompous, self-righteous, think our ways are superior, and our God is supreme, well history is full of good old fashion spilled blood, torture, etc. because of that. But mostly, it takes form in what is reflected in the Victorian age attitude of superiority, and self-rightious ways that is documented by Nitobe. Yes, I think Nitobe was being accurate on how they snubbed him.

I think Nitobe answered his critics in the accepted Western model, and that is clearly seen and stated. I don't think he knew what nihonjinron meant, a genera that came after him. I know you see nihonjinron in a negative context and it only applies to Japanese; being unique to Japanese. I don't think nihonjinron applies to all Japanese books and authors. Watanabe Shōichi and Yuiko Mishima (I don't know any others off hand.) are good examples of nihonjinron, that rival many others and books of the West.
I studied him in an undergraduate upper level religion class. BTW, that is where learning begins, and it doesn't end there in a class room

Last edited by Buck : 06-01-2009 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:06 AM   #122
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

BTW, for sake of discussion say Nitobe was guilt of nihonjinron how would that make his writing of Bushido flawed? If he isn't guilt of nihonjinron, how is his view flawed?

Keep in mind I not saying his description of Bushido is or isn't flawed, I am saying that Bushido isn't or is the main idea of his book. What is the main idea is to point to that Japanese isn't without morals and ethics. To support this he uses the example of Bushido and parallels that with Knighthood's.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:23 AM   #123
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Oh, I give up. You win, Philip. You're totally right about all of it.
Your a good internet pundit up to this point. It isn't about you or me, it is about Aikido and Bushido. Your post was directed at me, "...but there's still a big difference between an opinion based on a casual reading of one secondary or tertiary source, and one formed by a critical reading and careful study of numerous primary sources."

I stated that I was not arguing formally, but giving my opinion, and if you read my posts even at best haphazardly you would have known that. And that I did study Nitobe. And I still am. I don't need a Ph.D to critically read, or go beyond college to deepen by understanding and knowledge, or even become an expert.

Please taken a moment and really think about what you said to me and how you said it. And what you are reading. Maybe you will not respond to me as if we are children playing a board game, and you lost. It isn't a contest.
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:33 AM   #124
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I studied him in an undergraduate upper level religion class. BTW, that is where learning begins, and it doesn't end there in a class room.
Many thanks.
I agree that learning does not "end there in a classroom".

PAG

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Old 06-02-2009, 06:13 AM   #125
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikido and Bushido

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
And I am not guilty of nihonjinron. Like I said before, he wrote in English and defending what a Western peer found absurd that Japanese religion isn't like there. What is the similar term to nihonjinron when Westerners do it?

I don't think he knew what nihonjinron meant, a genera that came after him. I know you see nihonjinron in a negative context and it only applies to Japanese; being unique to Japanese. I don't think nihonjinron applies to all Japanese books and authors. Watanabe Shōichi and Yuiko Mishima (I don't know any others off hand.) are good examples of nihonjinron, that rival many others and books of the West.
I mentioned nihonjinron in Post #74 only to ascertain more clearly how you had studied Nitobe in college. To discuss this here would involve too much thread drift, away from the main topic of how the philosophy of bushido and of aikido can be compared. If you want to discuss nihonjinron, I suggest you begin a new thread.

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