Musui's Story

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Musui's Story

The time after the fifteen hundreds marked a time of great change in Asian countries. Places like China saw a new dynasty take control of the country. And almost every Asian civilization from India to Indonesia came in contact with people from western nations which changed the way people did business and the way Asians viewed the world. Japan, however, seemed to keep separate from the rest of Asia in the way that they were hesitant to deal with westerners. Despite their separateness, this period in time still brought an immense amount of change to Japan and its culture. The autobiography titled Musui's Story shows what life was like during Japan's time of change. When taking Musui's Story in context, one can see not only the change and decay of the samurai way of life but also the change that all of Japan saw during this era.

In order to understand Musui's Story, one must first understand Japan's history up the point where the book was written and who the samurai were in Japanese society. The time period that Musui's Story is written is commonly called the Tokugawa period or the Edo period which began in 1603 and lasted till 1868. Before this time, Japan was in a state of constant civil war. And while there was one emperor in Japan, the country was divided in a feudal system. In was in this feudal Japan that the samurai, a class of warriors, emerged. These warriors were essential to Japanese society because of the constant warfare. These warriors were supposed to live by a code or a way of life called bushido; which means "way of the warrior." Analogous to the code of chivalry by European knights, bushido emphasizes things like loyalty, self sacrifice, justice, sense of shame, refined manners, purity, modesty, frugality, martial spirit, honor and affection. The samurai were bound to protect their lord and serve the Shogun who was the highest ranking samurai. After a while certain shoguns began to try to totally unite Japan. Oda...
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