Presenting a history of the contradictory, often militaristic, role of Zen Buddhism, this book documents the unknown support of a supposedly peaceful religion for. Following the critically acclaimed Zen at War (), Brian Victoria explores the intimate relationship between Japanese institutional Buddhism and militarism during the Second World War. Victoria takes us onto the naval battlefield in the company of warrior-monk and Rinzai Zen. A compelling history of the contradictory, often militaristic, role of Zen Buddhism, this book meticulously documents the close and previously unknown support of a supposedly peaceful religion for Japanese militarism throughout World War II. Drawing on the writings and speeches of.

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He follows this history up through recent apologies by several Zen sects for their support of the war and the way support for militarism was transformed into. Zen at War (2nd Edition) [Brian Daizen Victoria] on kaz-news.info *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A compelling history of the contradictory, often militaristic. download Zen In War: Read Kindle Store Reviews - kaz-news.info

He holds a M.

In addition, Brian has published numerous journal articles, focusing on the relationship of not only Buddhism but religion in general to violence and warfare. Zen and Japanese Militarism: Weatherhill, Brian Daizen Victoria at http: Brian Daizen Victoria is an academic, historian, educator, author and a priest in the Soto lineage.

He has written two influential books, Zen War Stories and Zen at War and numerous articles dealing with Zen Buddhism and its approach to war and violence. Some of his articles are collected here. He examines how karma was used to justify war and social oppression in Japan. This is an important rebuttle of Victoria's accusations about Suzuki. Well worth reading.

This included proving to the government that Buddhism could play a practical role within the emperor-focused order.

The first decades of Meiji posed great challenges to Japanese Buddhism, and they were no less tumultuous for the samurai.

When too deeply in debt, or having committed a crime, they left their homes and the service of their masters, and roamed at large. The samurai, who had been made effectively redundant by the formation of a new conscripted imperial army based on European models, gradually had their hereditary stipends and privileges stripped away by a series of decrees in the years after Having lost both the ideological and practical support for their traditional exalted position in society, many struggled to adapt to the new order, resulting in a number of violent uprisings.

These culminated with the Satsuma Rebellion in Southwestern Japan, which involved tens of thousands of disgruntled former samurai, and was only suppressed by the government with great loss of life on both sides. There were popular tales of samurai incompetence, as well as many satirical poems about their decline, portraying them doing manual labor and unable to pursue their former leisure activities. The first major step towards a positive reevaluation of the samurai came through the work of the journalist Ozaki Yukio Ozaki was banned from Tokyo for three years due to his political activism in , and he used this opportunity to travel to the United States and Europe.

Ozaki was most impressed with England, and was especially taken by the idealized Victorian discourse on chivalry and gentlemanship that he recognized from reading English books in his youth. He was convinced that English conceptions of the gentleman provided the moral foundation of the British Empire, as this seemingly noble ethic meant that Englishmen enjoyed great trust and respect abroad. In a dispatch sent to a major Japanese newspaper in , Ozaki explained his views of English gentlemen, while lamenting the supposed moral failings of their Japanese counterparts.

According to Ozaki, Japan was doomed to failure if it did not adopt an ethic comparable to English gentlemanship.

Ozaki proposed reviving the ethical ideals of the former samurai, which had long been in decline. The former was due to the precarious state of Chinese rulership and increasingly hostile relations with Japan, while the process of negotiating the unequal treaties with the Western powers negatively impacted public opinion.

A number of other writings on bushido appeared in the early s, generally referring to Ozaki or responding to his arguments. Linking Zen, bushido, and the martial arts The firm establishment of bushido as a commonly accepted and even fashionable concept during and after the Russo-Japanese War led to its adoption by a broad spectrum of institutions and social groups during the decade By claiming a link to bushido, individuals and organizations promoted sports, religious orders, and other causes in a patriotic manner, providing relatively recent innovations with historical legitimacy apparently stretching back centuries or even millennia.

Promoters of the martial arts were among the most active participants in the nationalistic bushido discourse that emerged after As a result, promoters of martial arts including kendo, judo, jujutsu, and sumo, to name but a few, were highly active in the fabrication of supposed historical links to bushido and an idealized Japanese martial tradition.

To understand bushido, you must know Buddhism and Confucianism. Instead, writers focusing on the connections between Buddhism and bushido were compelled to put forth new interpretations that downplayed Shinto, Confucianism, and other elements commonly linked with bushido.

Furthermore, the early bushido promoted by Ozaki Yukio, which relied on Western models, was similarly unsuited to Buddhist aims.

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Through careful selection and appropriation of elements of bushido discourse, however, Japanese Buddhists were able to construct their own bushido theories and to benefit from the broad popular appeal of the ideology. By the early s, Buddhism had established itself in the popular mind as one of the thought systems that broadly contributed to bushido. In the second decade of the Meiji bushido boom—from to —Buddhist engagement with bushido discourse increased dramatically along with popular interest.

Promoters of the Zen schools expended by far the greatest efforts to link their teachings to bushido, and current popular perceptions linking Zen with the samurai are the result of this activity. In spite of a dearth of historical evidence, the supposedly close relationship between Zen and bushido became accepted due to the support it had among some of the most influential figures in broader bushido discourse. This can be seen in one of the most extensive early treatments of the subject, the book Zen and Bushido.

During this period, Akiyama argued, warriors developed a strong connection with Zen Buddhism. Akiyama also dismissed the idea that other, much larger Buddhist schools such as the Pure Land or Tendai schools could have had a significant influence on bushido during the Kamakura period.

He led the capture of Port Arthur in the Sino-Japanese War, and lost both of his sons in battle for the same city against Russia in Another promoter of Zen who frequently invoked bushido was Suzuki Daisetsu. In this regard, his writings from as early as are revealing for the later development of his bushido thought. For this reason, unavoidably we have taken up arms.

This ahistorical bushido-based interpretation led to countless tragedies in the s and s. It is important to note that Suzuki published this article in English, making it useful to include concepts readily recognizable to a foreign audience.

Suzuki was one of the main promoters of the Zen-bushido connection both within Japan and overseas, but he was far from alone.

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Nukariya Kaiten was another influential proponent of samurai Zen to foreign audiences, especially through his popular book, Religion of the Samurai. And now it is looked upon as an ideal faith, both for a nation full of hope and energy, and for a person who has to fight his own way in the strife of life.

Bushido, or the code of chivalry, should be observed not only by the soldier in the battle-field, but by every citizen in the struggle for existence. Although he implies that Zen had been popular before this, there is no evidence to support this contention, indeed Zen had been relatively unimportant—especially to samurai—for several centuries by this point. In the case of both Zen and bushido, an essentially new development was given an idealized past from which it had supposedly suffered a temporary decline.

Promoters of Zen most openly and effectively embraced the militarism inherent in the warrior ethic, but interest in bushido reached across denominations. In addition to aiding in the colonization of Hokkaido and the other northern territories, Buddhist sects sent missionaries and medical workers to the wars with China and Russia.

At the same time, they spread morale-boosting information and collected donations and supplies on the home front. Their extensive attempts to tie Zen teachings to the burgeoning bushido discourse around the time of the Russo-Japanese War created a belief that the two had always been linked. Tsuda argued that even after its arrival in the Kamakura period, Zen did little more than accentuate existing warrior thought and practice.

By the s, many people were convinced of the intricate and ancient relationship between Zen, samurai, bushido, and the martial arts, and this ideological mix became a core element of nationalist thought, as can be seen in the writings of Yasuoka Masahiro and others. His works are widely read, and continue to contribute to the notion that Zen formed a sort of spiritual foundation for the samurai in general and bushido in particular.

Partly as a result of his efforts, Zen came to be even more closely identified with the samurai. At the same time, Zen and bushido were detached from problematic associations with the early twentieth century, in spite of the fact that the connection between the two was a product of this very period.

The Zen-samurai relationship was the result of conscious efforts on the part of Zen promoters to gain patriotic legitimacy by engaging closely with the burgeoning bushido discourse. In contrast, the relationship between Zen and the martial arts was less straightforward, and developed from a confluence of several factors.

As a result, both Zen and the martial arts were widely seen as closely related to bushido, an impression that was strengthened when direct links between the two were drawn explicitly in popular works by promoters of both, such as Eugen Herrigel. Notes: I would like to thank Denis Gainty and Brian Victoria for reading and providing invaluable suggestions on a draft of this article.

The responsibility for any shortcomings that remain is, of course, entirely my own. Bibliography: Akamatsu, Toshihide. Hall and Toyoda Takeshi eds. Japan in the Muromachi Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, Akiyama Goan, ed. Tokyo: Hakubunkan, Akiyama Goan.

Anesaki, Masaharu. London: Kegan Paul, Hakubunkan: , pp.

Bein, Steve trans and commentary. Benesch, Oleg.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, Bennett, Alexander. Kendo: Culture of the Sword.

Zen War Stories

University of California Press, Besserman, Perle and Steger, Manfred. Zen Radicals, Rebels, and Reformers. Wisdom Publications, Bodiford, William. Sources of Japanese Tradition Volume 2.

New York: Columbia University Press, , pp. Brink, Dean Anthony.

Brown, Roger. New York: Columbia University Press, Calman, Donald. London: Routledge, Cleary, Thomas. Shambhala, Colcutt, Martin.

The Three Pillars of Zen

Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Collcutt, Martin. Kornicki and I.

McMullen eds. Religion in Japan: Arrows to Heaven and Earth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Heisig and Paul Knitter trans. Zen Buddhism: A History. New York: Macmillan Publishing, Friday, Karl F. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, Fukuhara Kenshichi. Nihon keizai risshihen.


Osaka: Fukuzawa Yukichi. Gainty, Denis. New York: Routledge, Gluck, Carol. Berkeley: University of California Press, , pp. Goble, Andrew Edmund.

Zen Terror: The Death of Democracy in Prewar Japan

Griffis, William Elliot. New York: Harper, Grossberg, Kenneth Alan.These underwent a major dilution of doctrine through the increased displacement of Zen study by esoteric elements and formulaic approaches that made teachings more accessible. Suzuki, the most famous exponent of Zen in the West, is shown to have been a wartime proponent of this Zen-inspired viewpoint which enabled Japanese soldiers to leave for the battlefield already resigned to death.

Brian Victoria is a genuinely radical historian who asks followers of Zen-and by extension all Buddhists-to look beyond the pristine, other-worldly image the tradition has presented and understand the deep compromises that came from its relationship with power. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, , pp. Angel Kyodo Williams. Please create a new list with a new name; move some items to a new or existing list; or delete some items. Mark Ravina.