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We at FSRI extend best wishes, hopes and sympathy for all people affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan,  and those affected by the tsunami in Hawaii and the US West Coast. As relief efforts get underway we will post links to aid organizations.

Here are a few links to historical maps:
Japan 1855
Japan 1911
Japan Chosen (Korea) 1911
Japan 1917

The Hidden Relevance of Japanese Historical Influences.

Follow this link to a very interesting article called ” Sport and Physical Education under Fascistization in Japan” by Ikuo Abe, Yasuharu Kiyohara, and Ken Nakajima on the InYo website.

The scantiness of the information about sport and physical education in Japanese history has caused foreign readers to be unfamiliar with the subject. Japanese sports historians have not yet established uniform translations for the technical terms in this field. Although we have a considerable accumulation of historical studies in this field, our first step should be limited to a sketchy introduction rather than a detailed and analytical history. This paper aims to demonstrate, as briefly as possible, the consolidating process of Japanese fascism and its influence on sport and physical education.


The formative process of Japanese fascism is subtly but essentially different from Italian Fascism and German Nazism, which had mass parties and are generally called “fascism from below”. Japanese fascism is instead typified as “fascism from above”. The Emperor System and its power groups have constituted rigid power structures and the charismatic governing apparatus since the Meiji Restoration. For this reason, we adopted the term, “fascistization”, and took a relatively long time-span for the explanation of the formative process of Japanese fascism.

Katsumi Irie skillfully described the fascistization of Japanese physical education in four developmental stages: germination (1917-31), transition (1931-1937), domination (1937-41), and culmination (1941-45). Instead of using his precise and accurate turning points, we use two stages — germination (before the Manchurian Incident of 1931) and consolidation (1931-1945). Simplification, sometimes, is needed for a brief introduction to a topic.

Click Here to read the rest of the article.

I am in the process of writing an article about the use/misuse of terms like ‘fighting spirit’ and ‘ego’ in karate training for this blog. I should have it up before too much longer. In the meantime I would like to invite readers to look at the attached articles and think about hazing, socialization, and abuse as they relate to the gendai budo such as karate. I am not trying to pick on Japan by drawing attention to these articles, hazing is a problem in most cultures, however budo people often get soft headed and doe eyed when something is regarded as traditional or common practice in Japan.

An Institutionalized Hazing System

Brutal Beating Death Brings Sumo’s Dark Side to Light

and last but not least;

Japan’s Education, Oct 1986, Tokyo Business Today (see last section, ” Tradtion without Responsibility”)

If you are at all interested in reading a brief account of the modernization of Japan’s military you may want to take a few minutes and read the article “From Swords to Guns”. Click Here.

For a more full account of the reforms initiated during the Meiji, including military, political, and educational reforms, click Here.

I found this article on kamikaze that I thought some of our readers may be interested in. The  “Training and Attacking” may be most interesting section for martial artists.

Click here; Encyclopedia: Kamikaze

Follow this link to an excellent response by Karl Friday to two questions posed by Scott R. Brown;

“1) Did the Bushido code, whether written out or not, exist as a concept in historical Japan?

2) Was the Bushido code used as a means to foster yamatodamashii in the soldiery during WW II?”

This should be of interest to anyone who has practiced any form of the bugei.

“The Historical Foundations of Bushido”

Here is a link to an interesting article dealing with the writings of Zen notables such as D.T. Suzuki and Hakuun Yasutani regarding their endorsement of militarism and anti-semitism in Japan during the 1930’s and beyond.

Meditating on War and Guilt, Zen Says It’s Sorry

"Try to see yourself as you truly are and try to adopt what is meritorious in the work of others. As a karateka you will of course often watch others practice. When you do and you see strong points in the performance of others, try to incorporate them into your own technique. At the same time, if the trainee you are watching seems to be doing less than his best ask yourself whether you too may not be failing to practice with diligence. Each of us has good qualities and bad; the wise man seeks to emulate the good he perceives in others and avoid the bad."
Funakoshi Gichin


May 2020

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