It is said that Japanese culture is both delicate and fierce; defend this viewpoint with examples.

Essay by flightmedic911A+, November 2003

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The Japanese culture has a rich tradition of fierceness to its enemies, yet it is also a culture steeped in beauty and grace. The Japanese have been able to transform themselves from a nation that was a military superpower of its time, to its current role as an economic superpower. They have done this by embracing their culture, both the beauty and the aggressiveness.

The Samurai warrior is an interesting example of the Japanese fierceness yet they expressed its cultural beauty. From 1185 to 1868 the Samurai was the premier warrior of the Japanese. Samurai were supposed to lead their lives according to the ethic code of Bushido ("the way of the warrior"). Strongly Confucian in nature, Bushido stresses concepts such as loyalty to one's master, self-discipline and respectful, ethical behavior. After a defeat or similar event, many samurai chose to commit ritual suicide (seppuku) by cutting their abdomen rather than die a dishonorable death.

Given this brief background of the Samurai, it seems odd that many Samurai "retired" to pursue other interests. Matsuo Bashô (1644-1694) stands as one of the greatest - if not greatest - of Japan's haiku composers. A samurai turned wandering priest, Bashô wrote a book called 'Narrow Road of Oku' and many of his poems remain well known in Japan - and around the world. Perhaps one of the most fascinating arts that has come to be linked with the samurai is the cha no yu, or tea ceremony. Few activities in general are quite as thoroughly refined and thoughtful and yet evolved through such troubled times. Complicated and yet utterly simple, at once straightforward and deep, the tea ceremony in many ways could be a metaphor not only for the samurai ideal but also for the land of Japan itself. To view the tea...