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Inventing the Way of the Samurai – Nationalism, Internationalism, and Bushidō in Modern Japan - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Inventing the Way of the Samurai: Nationalism, Internationalism, and Bushidō in Modern Japan

Oleg Benesch


This book examines the development of the ‘way of the samurai’ (bushidō), which is popularly viewed as a defining element of the Japanese national character and even the ‘soul of Japan’. Rather than a continuation of ancient traditions, however, bushidō developed from a search for identity during Japan’s modernization in the late nineteenth century. In the 1880s the former samurai class was widely viewed as a relic of a bygone age, and the first significant discussions of bushidō at the end of that decade were strongly influenced by contemporary European ideals of gentlemanship and chivalry. A ... More

Keywords: Japan, samurai, bushidō, nationalism, militarism, internationalism, invented tradition, chivalry, Meiji, war

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780198706625
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198706625.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Oleg Benesch, author
Anniversary Research Lecturer in History, University of York