The relationship between ethos and ethics seems evident. When used as a noun, Ethics is the philosophical study of principles relating to the conduct of right or wrong actions. Contrariwise, ethos is the basic values that make up the character of a person, a culture, or in the case of this book, a nation. A Class. A Classic Essay on Samurai Ethics.

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Thank you for your understanding. More information. This paper looks at self-censorship and censorship in Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Nitobe, Inazo as well as in four different translations of the book.

Nitobe was descended from one of the great samurai families, but he converted to Christianity, married an American Quaker from Philadelphia and studied widely in the US and in Europe.

The main purpose of his book was to make Japanese culture acceptable to and valued by the West and in particular Philadelphia at the beginning of the 20th century, but he also had to assure the approval of the imperial authorities.

A descriptive, diachronic study of the translation of selected cultural references shows the four translations to be good examples of the way translations vary over time. They also illustrate the relationship between context, pretext and text Widowson, and the visibility or invisibility of the translator Venuti, We have also found it useful to draw on skopos theory, as well as some aspects of the Manipulation School, in particular ideology, censorship and the emphasis on translation between distant languages and cultures.

The analysis of the four translations shows that censorship of cultural references is evident during periods of conflict such as the Japanese translation of and the Spanish translation of He was thus responsible for censorship just after the Spanish Civil War. Should we consider his adaptation of the text as manipulation, censorship or self-censorship?

He idealized the samurai caste by domesticating their values and teachings in order to make them more acceptable to American readers brought up in the values and teachings of the New Testament. The purpose of his book was to help Western readers understand and value Japanese culture at the beginning of the 20 th century. However, at the same time, Nitobe was an employee of the Japanese government and had to make sure that he did not fall into disgrace at home.

Evidence of the skopos can of course be found in the text. In this study, a descriptive, diachronic study of the five texts has shown how their different skopos are reflected in the translation of cultural references. This certainly seems to be true for some of our translators and is probably equally so for readers of their translations.

Most of our translators are not only very visible in their translations Venuti, , but they have also provided paratextual information about their skopos, or pretexts in the shape of forewords, prefaces or introductions.

We have also found it useful to draw on some aspects of the Manipulation School, in particular ideology, censorship and problems posed by translation between distant languages and cultures Bassnett, []; Bassnett and Lefevere, ; Hermans, The analysis of the four translations shows that manipulation or censorship of the cultural references in the source text is most evident during periods of conflict, for example the Japanese translation of and the Spanish translation of The five texts are presented in chronological order with a brief description of each context and pretext.

They were all published with forewords, prefaces or introductions that explain the purpose of the author and translators. Nitobe Inazo grew up in the Meiji Era , a period when Japanese society was undergoing transformation.

Nitobe and other promising young students were educated at home and abroad so they could learn from the West and contribute to the modernization of their country.

Nitobe also served in the Japanese colonial administration, most notably in Taiwan between and Miwa, , pp. During this period, unlike many other Asian countries, Japan managed to escape Western colonization.

In fact, Japan learned to emulate Western imperialist strategies and become a European-style colonial power in its own right Diez del Corral, , pp. One of the results of these military victories was the growing prestige of the Japanese forces in the West.

Japan established the foundations of a modern state during the Meiji Era, a period of military euphoria fuelled by nationalist and imperialist propaganda. The concept of Yamato Damashii [the soul of Japan] represented all those qualities and traditions that made up Japanese national identity. Theories about the unique essence of Japanese culture were developed within the Nihonjinron movement the term used to describe the discourse on Japanese identity.

Three of the most important books published in this tradition at that time were written originally in English by Japanese authors. His reputation in Japan has fluctuated over the years, where he has often been criticized for being too Western in his approach.

In , he was sent on a gruelling tour of the United States to defend the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and was criticized by both sides; by the Japanese for his pacifism and by the Americans for defending the Japanese military position.

In fact, his books were censored for a brief period Howes and Oshiro, , pp. However, on the whole, he has remained popular in the West, as can be seen by the numerous translations of his works. Bushido is only one of his many publications. Nitobe completed the book in Monterey, California in December However, the most internationally successful edition was the one published by G.

This code began to take shape in the Kamakura Period and developed throughout the feudal period with the evolution of the samurai class. It came to be regarded as a legally-binding, consuetudinary ethical code that represented the spirit of Japan Yamato Damashii. In fact, the Meiji Restoration was started by a group of samurais from the provinces whose economic situation had become increasingly precarious.

This situation resulted from, on the one hand, the abuses and corruption of the central government in Edo [Tokyo] under the rule of Tokugawa and, on the other hand, the diminished importance of their role during the long period of peace He also questioned whether it could survive during a period of political and social revolution when Japan was being invaded by Western influences.

Nitobe made his intention explicit in his preface to the first edition. He was trying to explain Japanese culture to the West at a time when very little was known about it:. I found that without understanding feudalism and Bushido, the moral ideas of present day Japan are a sealed volume. He wrote about his concept of translation, continually posing questions about how to express Japanese cultural concepts in a foreign language.

Nitobe was well acquainted with the European trends and admired the German philosophers, as did Ortega y Gasset, the Spanish philosopher. It would appear that both were influenced by the same ideas about translation. However, Nitobe was particularly conscious of the difficulties of translating between distant cultures and languages, between East and West. He used both foreignizing and domesticating strategies to get his message across.

On the one hand, he maintained the Japanese terms and, on the other, he tried to explain the concepts with examples that would be familiar to his readers:.

Bushido means literally Military-Knight-Ways- [ Having thus given its literal significance, I may be allowed henceforth to use the word in the original. The use of the original term is also advisable for this reason, that a teaching so circumscribed and unique, engendering a cast of mind and character so peculiar, so local, must wear the badge of its singularity on its face; then, some words have a national timbre so expressive of race characteristics that the best of translators can do them but scant justice, not to say positive injustice and grievance.

Nitobe not only made his intentions quite clear in his preface, but he also left very clear signals in the three quotations he chose to precede the text. The poem is not often included in modern anthologies, but it was important in the Victorian era because it reflected on one of the great debates of the day—the balance between reason and faith.

The message is that while we need science and technology, we are lost without our spiritual roots. Hallam was a nineteenth-century historian who was particularly influential for his work on the English constitution and the formation of other European states.

The quotation selected by Nitobe refers to the spirit of liberty, religion and honour that made up the ideals of knighthood and how these ideals sometimes emerge from the depths to inspire humanity. Between and he gave lectures in Vienna on medieval poets as forerunners of romanticism, while perfecting his philosophy of history, which viewed national cultures as organic developments.

German nationalism was very influential in the development of Japanese nationalism during the decade that followed the Meiji Restoration, and Nitobe obviously found a kindred spirit in Schlegel. Nitobe drew on his varied studies in comparative philosophy, universal literature, law and comparative religion to find points of encounter between traditional Japanese and Western values, questioning the Manichean division between Christians and pagans so common in the West in the nineteenth century.

It is with ecclesiastic methods and with the forms which obscure the teachings of Christ, and not with the teachings themselves, that I have little sympathy. I believe in the religion taught by Him and handed down to us in the New Testament, as well as the law written in the heart.

In his role as cultural mediator between East and West, Nitobe was walking a tightrope. However, as can be seen in the four translations we have studied, each translator made his own reading, interpreting the text in his own context and in light of his own pretext, censoring, consciously or unconsciously where necessary. The reference is not explicit, but the intertextuality would have been immediately clear to English-speaking Protestants at the beginning of the twentieth-century.

Three of our translators Spanish or French Roman Catholics seem to have been unaware of this intertextuality, or at least they did nothing to maintain it. In its highest form, politeness almost approaches love. The authentic person, with a respectful heart, may say: politeness is compassionate, politeness is tolerant, politeness is forgiving, politeness is not envious, it is not proud, it is not puffed up, it is not rude, it does not put its interests first or criticize others.

It is essential to become familiar with the socio-political context in order to understand the where, why and when of this translation. He was both initiator and translator of the book. He insisted on his faithfulness to the author of the source text.

In his preface, the translator described the translation strategies he used to remain faithful to the source text and maintain what was exotic and unique in the Japanese culture. His one criticism was that, whereas Nitobe had compared the codes of the samurais and European chivalry in general, he had not mentioned the close similarities between the samurai and the Spanish caballero. Why did not Louis Napoleon beat the Prussians with his Mitrailleuse, or the Spaniards with their Mausers, the Filipinos, whose arms were no better than the old fashioned Remingtons?

The Soul of Japan , was published in , when France was still an important colonial power and the centre of European culture; however, intellectuals were concerned about the cold winds of change. Bellesort was a traveller, ethnologist, writer, poet, journalist and literary critic. As a journalist, he worked as a special correspondent for Le Temps and the Revue des deux mondes in Chile, Bolivia, Sweden and the Philippines.

In he was sent to Japan to cover the end of the Sino-Japanese War. Little is known about Charles Jacob, the translator, but he seems to have followed the guidelines laid down by Bellesort.

Bellesort reported that only on his second visit to Japan, in , at the outbreak of the First World War, had he started to hear the Japanese talk about Bushido: la Voie du guerrier.

However, Bellesort insisted that in no way was it a new religion. They all share a strong Orientalist tendency to emphasize what is exotic in Japan. Bellesort claimed that such a chivalric concept of knighthood was not to be found anywhere else in the Far East, in India or Malaysia.

He had been surprised to discover that the bushi virtues were so similar to those of European chivalry, that money was scorned and honour was not measured by material wealth. The saint had also been fascinated by the ideal of Japanese courtesy, aimed not only at creating beauty, but also practising the most essential moral principles.

Certainly, the translator usually maintained the emotional intensity and the vivid metaphors of the original. To us the country is more than land and soil from which to mine gold or to reap grain—it is the sacred abode of the gods, the spirits of our forefathers:. He was Professor of Colonial Policy at the University of Tokyo from a post that had originally been created for Nitobe and a prolific scholar, who, in many of his books, was critical of Japanese domestic and foreign policy—in particular of Japanese colonial policy in Korea, China, Manchuria, Taiwan and Micronesia.

Some of them were explicitated in his introduction to the translation, whereas others can only be guessed at. The translation was not the first translation into Japanese. Not only was the translation difficult to read, but it was out of print and difficult to find. Therefore, in the introduction to the edition, Yanaihara wrote that he had tried to modernize the text while, at the same time, preserving some of the chivalric, poetic language so as not to alienate readers.

However, Yanaihara may have had other reasons for translating the work. The boy was dressed as a samurai, placed on a go board and given a real sword instead of his toy sword. After this first ceremony of adoptio per arma ,.

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Bushido: The Soul of Japan. A Classic Essay on Samurai Ethics

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? There are eight virtues of Bushido, the code of the samurai: justice, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty, and self-control. These virtues comprise the essence of Japanese cultural beliefs, which are still present today. Nitobe's book is an excellent read for anyone who wants a comprehensive look at the pulse of what drives the Japanese to produce and achieve in war and economics. His writing style is clean and practical rather than sophisticated or complicated.





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