5.0 out of 5 stars
The Way of the Samurai, Jun 17 2006
Since World War II, the West has forgotten the Shadow soul of Japan, the collective impulses that have been repressed by "Occupation Law" and the imposition of democracy. The Japanese are seen stereotypically as being overly polite and smiling business executives and camera snapping tourists. The emphasis has been on the soft counterpart of the Japanese psyche, on the "chrysanthemum" (the arts) as Mishima puts it, and the repression of the "word" (the martial tradition). The great American anthropologist Ruth Benedict wrote of the duality of the Japanese using this symbolism in her "Chrysanthemum and the Sword," to which Mishima referred approvingly. He insisted that Japan return to a balance of the arts and the martial tradition, to what, we would call individuation (rebirth/renaissance), allowing the repressed Shadow archetype to reassert itself.
Mishima was himself that synthesis of the scholar and the warrior, who rejected pure intellectualism and theory in favour of action.