Sunday, February 10, 2008

Be "Wa", be Samurai is the trendy pattern.

Be "Wa" ! Have good manners, generosity, patience and be cool, calm and collected. Manage "harmony"! These days in Japan, it is said to be trendy to share these attitudes. Attitudes or characteristics of a society such as the contemporary Japan doubtful and recreating old pattern?

Japan reviews its love for the samurai, according to the Mainichi who has been reading Japan Weekly Playboy which says, "that bushido is back on young trendsetters". "Samurai" has become a "watchword for hot in Japan in recent months", with samurai movies drawing fans into theaters, video games featuring swashbuckling sword wielders racing off shelves, comics devoted to stories of feudal-era heroes selling like hot cakes and a new magazine devoted to bushido ("the way of the warrior") coming out at the start of the year.

But people aren't just talking about samurai, the Japanese men's edition of the weekly says, "they're also talking like samurai, using an archaic form of Japanese like the warriors of old", language that would sound something like to Shakespeare for English speakers or Rabelais for France contemporary fellow men.

"Samurai are supposed to be strong, quiet types, right? So they sit there with their arms folded, saying nothing. After about an hour, they'll come over and pay, handing out their cash without showing their wallets. A modern wallet wouldn't match their image. The otaku girls in (the Tokyo shopping district of) Akihabara really like these guys."

Ah, this is what it is to be a contemporary Samurai? So the Geisha boom is trendy too... desu ne?

I did enjoy the scenic of the movie (photography was magnificent, not much the interpretation of Japanese history) of the "Last Samurai" of Edward Zwick with Ken Watanabe and... (yes I know) the real life zapper Tom Cruise. Director Zwick is "no stranger to epic or to fantasy" according to a critic of The Independent, A. Quinn, but as the script writer of the movie said, it is rather how each second of life is really lived that it makes a samurai loving life. Kurosawa also studied and described in his movies the concept of honour in a changing world. So Japan is changing, you know...

The article carries on like this: "We're seeing the active adoption of 'wa' (Japanese-ness), which has been going on in Akihabara and other places for a few years now. More characters appearing in Akihabara are wearing Japanese-style garments, Japanese style items are becoming hits and more men and women have taken to wearing kimono. These things have accompanied the booming interest in the Japanese language. People are discovering that the charms of "wa" (harmony) are not just in objects, but also in the language itself," Yuki tells Weekly Playboy. "People are using samurai language, discovering how much fun it can be and getting hooked to it. Because it's a language that is limited to use among friends, it also helps to create a bond. Using samurai Japanese is fun. From a psychological viewpoint, it's a manifestation of craving for intimacy. They want to belong to a group and are satisfying their need to have like-minded others around them. From a psychological viewpoint, it's a manifestation of craving for intimacy. They want to belong to a group and are satisfying their need to have like-minded others around them." End of quotes.

I'd better study my stoicalness and persuade myself that only virtue in accordance with nature is sufficient for happiness, as Zeno of Citium the Greek wrote long, long, long time ago in the birthplace of western philosophy...

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