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Samurai Archives Japanese History Podcast


Follow your hosts on a trek into Japanese history, from ancient Japan to the end of the Samurai and all points in between - culture, warfare, literature, and interviews. Simply stated, our mission is to bridge the gap between the popular and the academic, and to bring the world of academic Japanese history accessible to a wider audience through discussion of topics and authors in an informative but informal manner. We encourage those listeners who want to know more to seek out works by the historians and authors we reference and interview, and to contribute to the conversation. Conversely, we hope scholars can view us as a way to reach a broader, non-specialist audience and raise the bar for general understandings of Japanese history. The Official Podcast of the Samurai Archives Japanese History page.

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Nov 5, 2014

Welcome to our sixth bonus episode, which we'll be splitting into two parts. In part one, Chris and Forest look at the self-serving nature of Bushido and the spectre of death that stalked the Samurai on the battlefield.  It is often claimed that not only did Samurai not fear death, they embraced it, if not actively sought it out on the battlefield, and that Samurai acheived this Zen state both by the nature of being a Samurai, and by incorporating the ideology of Bushido into their Samurai souls.  If you take a step back and actually look at that with a critical eye, it quickly becomes clear that this is patently ridiculous.  Obviously Samurai lords had to rely on their Samurai, and their position and success depended upon convincing men to march out and potentially die on the business end of a sharp spear, so they'd use whatever ploy they could come up with, be it "Bushido" or anything else to accomplish this. So, with this in mind, what was was actually going on?  What the heck was everyone thinking?

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