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Institute for Jedi Realist Studies - Bunraku - Institute for Jedi Realist Studies


  • shea (shlomit)
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shea (shlomit) created the topic: Bunraku

As you probably know the Jedi on Star Wars were very much influenced by the samurai in the Japanese culture, also from the Shaolin monks which were legendary known as fighting monks. But that is just a start to just how much was Japan an inspiration on story telling in the west. The concept of what we know as dark side and light side (at least for what my research had shown so far) has started with the idea of the battle between social duty and commitment to your own feeling. This is known as “Giri” (duty or obligation) and “Ninjō” (human emotion, I was also told that this the core for the ninjas core belief). Those terms were first presented in the Tokugawa shogunate (1603 -1868 CE) which was known as the time when the people were under very strict ruling of the shoguns. Which because at that time Japan was beginning to allow a privet market were getting richer, but because the samurai and the shogun were under government pay weren’t getting any richer. So there were a lot of rules which their purpose was to limit how the people could show their wealth, like they weren’t allowed to carry two swords or build bug houses. So in order to avoid a civil upraise they open the entertainment quarters. To enter those they had to be very rich and richer they were the better tea house they could go to and they could ask for the best Geisha and other kinds of entertainments they offered....
The reason they did that was so people (mostly male) could go and experience things they could not in their regulate lives. For example the Geisha was presumed to be able to provide romance which at that time was not a wife’s duty. Not because it didn’t exist but because marriage was a social obligation. It was very rare to marry out of love and affection. So this was reflected also in the theater. It started in the puppet show called Bunraku. With an old Buddhist belief that if a couple in love would commit suicide at the same place and the same time they would reborn as husband and wife (this belief had cost many lives, this is only one example). This shows that the people who went to see those acts (which were performed to the lower classes) came to watch how the puppets show what happens when they chose to follow their Ninjō, but usually it came at a great cost (like their lives). There were two types of writings:
1. Sewa mono-
daily topics.
focus on the characters emotional state.
Usually creating types of characters (with distinctive attributes of their own).
At the end usually the Ninjō over powers the Giri but with a great cost to the characters.

2. Jidai mono
Historical events.
Focus on the story and not dialogues.
Most of the time they act for external reasons and forced to actions and not for personal gain.
Characters are designed as a quality, like: the loyal subject, the brave warrior, the generous master (employer, not spiritual), the admired woman or villain.
At the end there is an emphasise of the good over coming evil and winning.

(Also only to the Jidai Mono- the reason they show stories as “historical” was because they would show current event as if they happened a long time ago so the government wont get upset of them presenting their failures. Its a theatrical element called “me teta”, also used in Star Wars {if I wrote the name wrong, i’s sorry but I couldn’t find anything online about it. Its a translation from my note book}). This is a very short summery of what i learned, i know there is so much more tot his. This concept had developed later on to the Kabuki theater to other types of story telling.

So after learning all that in a class about Japanese Theater I saw there was a connection to the question I saw asked many many times. What set apart Jedi and Sith, and although there were a lot of answers given to this question they always presented something that to me was too simple. Both Jedi and Sith are belief systems, which means that every individual will understand and act differently. Every one of us and all around the world are always making choices based on the conflict between what is known n the west as a selfish choice and a selfless choice. Though we can always know what are the consequence of what we choose we can learn and develop from them.

I would really to know what you think about this, thank you for reading :meditate

For more information:
Tokugawa shogunate
Giri (Japanese)
Ninjō (Japanese)

..."Paper is dead without words
Ink idle without a poem
All the world dead without stories
Without love and disarming beauty

Careless realism costs souls"....(-Nightwish)
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Johannes (Yoshio) replied the topic: Bunraku

A very interesting read and unfortunately my knowledge in this area is too limited to really contribute to that topic but there is one thing I would like to add as You had been writing about Ninja and as I’m studying Bujinkan Budo NINJUTSU/Taijutsu, I feel, I might be able to add something here.

What my teachers keep telling us is that the Ninja could only be that ‘successful’ because they knew Japanese society at their time and its codes, duties and obligations, the Giri. Only when one is able to understand those ‘basic’, one can make use of them and act outside this frame and therefore become able to ‘surprise’ the common people. Nowadays when we think of Ninja most of us would have a picture of those black masked warriors in mind but nothing is further away from truths than that! For example, if one takes Hattori Hanzo, maybe the most well known Ninja in history, one will easily find out that he had been a Samurai and in the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
So, what I wanted to say is, that Ninja needed to know the Giri and also understand the Ninjou (without knowing the Kanji, I still would assume that the ‘Nin’ here means human or man and not ‘Shinobi’ or ‘Nin’ of ‘Ninja’ as this ‘Nin’ would be translated as ‘to steal away’, ‘to hide’ or also ‘to forbear’) to become able to do what they needed to do in their missions.

Qui-Gon Jinn: "We cannot control our emotions, but we can decide how we go along with them."
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