Showing posts from February, 2021

Survey of Japanese History Texts

My reading theme for February 2021 was Japanese history texts. These are a few thoughts on the titles I (Richard) read. There are many others, but these are the group I chose to read in February 2021. Introduction Each month I have a theme for my martial arts reading. In January 2021 the theme was Primary Japanese Samurai Philosophy Texts . This month I decided to get a better understanding of Japanese history. I selected a mix of general history texts, military history texts, and first-person accounts. Premodern Japan 2nd Edition and Modern Japan 5th Edition by Mikiso Hane and Louis G. Perez, 2014 and 2012 Premodern Japan 2nd Ed , Mikiso Hane and Louis G. Perez, 2014 Modern Japan 5th Ed , Mikiso Hane and Louis G. Perez, 2012 I present Premodern Japan and Modern Japan together as you could consider them volumes 1 and 2 of a general history of Japan. The authors each earned PhDs. While I could not determine the field for the late Dr. Hane (who passed away in 2003), I read that Dr. Per

Beware Your Sources: A Brief Look at Kano Jigoro's Paper on Jiujutsu and Jiudo-Judo

  Introduction While working on the monthly Martial History Team book survey, I needed to research the famous late 19th century paper on "jiujutsu" by professor Kano Jigoro and the Reverend Thomas Lindsay. A quick Google search yielded the version hosted by Judoinfo titled "Jujutsu and the origins of Judo, by Jigoro Kano and T. Lindsay, 1887, (Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Volume 15)." In addition to seeing the word "judo" in the title, I saw it throughout the online text, e.g., "Amongst these was the art of jujutsu, from which the present judo has sprung up." This did not seem right to me, so I investigated further. Going to the Source Thanks to the wonderful Internet Archive , I was able to find a copy of the original article in its original form. It appeared in Volume XVI (16), not volume "15", of the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, published in 1889, not 1887. The paper notes that the authors read it t

Did Kano Jigoro Ask to Be Buried in a White Belt?

  Did Kano Jigoro ask to be buried in a white belt? Introduction Today I encountered the following excerpt from a book published in 1992 by an Aikido practitioner named George Leonard, titled Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfilment : “When Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, was quite old and close to death, the story goes, he called his students around him and told them he wanted to be buried in his white belt. What a touching story; how humble of the world's highest-ranking judoist in his last days to ask for the emblem of the beginner! But Kano's request, I eventually realized, was less humility than realism. At the moment of death, the ultimate transformation, we are all white belts. And if death makes beginners of us, so does life—again and again. In the master's secret mirror, even at the moment of highest renown and accomplishment, there is an image of the newest student in class, eager for knowledge, willing to play the fool. And for all who walk the pat