Thursday, June 11, 2009

Matthew ( pointed out to me that at one time the samurai were a completely exotic concept to most Americans. But now, thanks to a generation of samurai movies and the popularity of recent of movies like “Kill Bill,” samurai are as common as cowboys and Indians in American pop culture. However, the popular image of slice and dice warriors hardly does justice to the complexity of the samurai or their real place in Japanese culture. Samurai means “one who serves” and for over 600 years, the government’s political authority depended on the skill and loyalty of these warriors. The historical tale of the Forty-Seven Ronin who avenged the insult to their lord and then committed ritual suicide (or seppuku) is still part of the living culture of Japan. For 700 of those years, the Hosokawa clan has been intimately linked with not only the highest levels of government but also with the arts of calligraphy, poetry, the tea ceremony, painting and pottery.

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