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Bushido & Kagekiyo Essay

Through his Kagekiyo, a Noh Play, playwright Martin Burke describes events that reflect the Japanese Samurai Bushido spirit especially through the character called Kagekiyo. For example, according to the Bushido concept, warriors were supposed to demonstrate fearlessness and athletic prowess, an aspect that is explicit through Kagekiyo’s actions. To illustrate, Kagekiyo faces the advancing Genji warriors head-on, thus successfully leading his Heike platoon in vanquishing their opponents. This act demonstrates bravery and an athletic spirit.

Further, according to the Bushido tradition, persons are supposed to demonstrate an inclination to leading a frugal life. Likewise, Burke describes Kagekiyo as living like a somewhat anonymous beggar in Hiuga’s Miyazaki area. The warrior thus demonstrates wisdom in trying to erase all the past historic events that he was previously involved in. Kagekiyo realizes that he cannot realistically live on such past honor. Conversely, Bushido requires people to demonstrate honesty and kindness. Kagekiyo thus demonstrates compassion for Hitomaru – his daughter – by not rudely sending her away.

The father even heeds to the daughter’s pleas that he narrates his past war stories. To demonstrate honesty, Kagekiyo owns up that his life is beyond repair and that he does not want this issue to unnecessarily antagonize his daughter. Bushido spirit is thus evident through the behavior that Kagekiyo depicts. Conversely, Haiku – a Japanese poetry development method – was eventually assimilated into the Bushido culture. I am of the view that a number of notable Haiku characteristics facilitated such assimilation.

For example, Haiku generally demonstrates internal sufficiency and independence with regard to context. It can thus stand alone as an autonomous literary work. Since Bushido advocated for internal competence and independence, a similarity between the 2 entities is evident. Such similarity thus possibly pushed for the adoption of Haiku into the Bushido tradition. Work Cited Higginson, William J. and Harter, Penny. The Haiku Handbook, How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku. Tokyo Japan: Kodansha, 1989

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