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    B U S H I D O :: The Soul of Japan

    As I began my Introductory Course Training at The Institute For Jedi Realist Studies, my fascination with the Jedi way of life grew even stronger than it ever was before. I wanted to know more about where the foundation and original inspiration for the Jedi came from. I conducted some of research on George Lucas and the Jedi to eventually find that much of the foundations for the idea of a Jedi were drawn from ancient Eastern cultures and religion, particularly the Samurai Martial Culture. I drove down to my local bookstore and browsed around the Martial Arts section to find Bushido, The Soul of Japan written by Inazo Nitobe. I was very excited to dig into this book and pull what I could from it and apply it to my Jedi studies.

    I went into this book with the preconception that it was going to be going over the way of the Samurai, more of a guide to the ancient code. What I found was a bit on the contrary. With chapter titles like Self Control, Politeness, Honor, Rectitude of Justice, Self-Control and The Duty of Loyalty I was positive that this was going to be a guide to how to live the Samurai way. What I found instead was a commentary that would speak a little bit about the chapter theme, and then compare it to Western living, as well as Christianity. This was kind of a let down for me, as I was looking for ancient Japanese wisdom.

    Although it was not he focus of every chapter, there were a few moments within the book that I was able to learn more about The Way of the Samurai and relate it to the Jedi path. I particularly enjoyed the chapter entitled Honor, in which I found these quotes:

    “When others speak all manners of evil things against thee, return not evil for evil, but rather reflect that thou was not more faithful in the discharge of thy duties.”-Ogawa

    “When others blame thee, blame them not; when others are angry at thee, return not anger. Joy cometh only as Passion and Desire part.” – Kumazawa

    I found that both of these quotes relate closely to the line in the Jedi Code “There is no passion, there is serenity.” The Samurai, as do the Jedi, know that better solutions may come when one can remove strong emotions that may blind us in order to find a resolution. Only then will we be able to find peace, joy, and serenity.

    Thanks to my current course involvement at the Institute, I was within a period of deep introspection while reading this book. This allowed me to take a step back and realize that when we make a strong preconception of something and it does not turn out how we wanted it to, we cannot just turn our backs on it and run away. We must learn to open our minds and accept it, in this case a book, for what it is and accept any knowledge that it can give to us. In the past I probably would have put the book down after a couple of chapters, I realized this, and opened my mind to pull what lessons I could from the book. Even the act of finishing the book taught me enough to make it worth the cover price, and a valuable tool in learning to live the Jedi way.

    To sum things up, reading Bushido was in no way a waste of time. Although I was looking for more of a philosophical approach to the Way of the Samurai, I was able find deeper meaning within myself while simply completing the act of finishing the book. I was able to pull a fair amount of knowledge about the Samurai, and there is undeniably a very close connection to the Jedi lifestyle. I am intrigued to continue my quest to learn more about the Samurai and the spiritual side of their code.


    Thank you. I think you’ll enjoy Warrior 101 which does include a lot of what you seek. Yoshio is rather knowledgeable in this area, more so after his year in Japan.

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