Japan By River Cruise

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Summary

We ask scholar Oleg Benesch if the "samurai spirit" is the reason for Japan's voluntary compliance with corona guidelines, and should he fail in his duty to answer, we expect him to choose the only honorable way to deal with the shame.

Show Notes

We ask author and scholar Oleg Benesch if the "samurai spirit" is the reason for Japan's voluntary compliance with corona guidelines, and should he fail in his duty to answer, we expect him to choose the only honorable way to deal with the shame.

Ollie recommends a cruise line even though it could stand to show a little more compassion.
 
Bobby talks about how EDM artists who profit off of the Japanese river cruise industry are actually harming it, and not just because they're producing EDM.

Topics discussed on this episode range from:
  • Why Oleg became fascinated with Japanese castles
  • How Japan ended up with so many concrete castles, and why Oleg finds them perplexing 
  • Why Ollie has a different impression of Japanese castles than the Americans in the conversation and what he considers a "proper" castle
  • Why Japan might regret how it handled its castles
  • The idea of Japanese social responsibility/social compliance
  • Is Japanese adherence to corona guidelines attributable to Bushido
  • What is Bushido and what does it encompass
  • How did the idea of Bushido as a code get off the ground and how has it evolved
  • What Oleg thinks was one of the core MOs of real Samurai
  • Were the Samurai who provided the sources that helped codify Bushido REALLY warriors or did they just want to be?
  • How Ollie relates the ruling class of Samurai to the British ruling class
  • How the 19th century British aristocracy is partially responsible for creating what Bushido (seriously)
  • How the tendency to celebrate and elevate the past is not unique to any particularly
  • Can we really identify what Samurai ethics were? Bobby can.
  • How historical evidence was cherry picked to create Bushido
  • Who Bushido was created for and why
  • How it shifted into a martial philosophy 
  • The difference between Westernized Bushido and Imperial Bushido
  • MULTIPLE BUSHIDOS EVERYWHERE
  • How the US Army's perception of Japanese Bushido affected the Pacific War
  • How Japanese-Americans tried to used Bushido to assert their loyalty to the US during WWII
  • Why being hard to define has given Bushido lasting power
  • The way in which the world had to look at Bushido differently when Japan won the Russo-Japanese war
  • How it changed again after Japan losing World War II
  • When Bushido tends to crop up in conversation today
  • Are the other things we hold up as parts of "Japanese" cultural identity really A: accurate and B: unique?
  • What Oleg thinks about what we CAN say about things that are unique to a certain culture
  • A DEFINITIVE ANSWER as to how good Bushido is as an anti-coronavirus policy
SO MUCH GOOD STUFF IN THE EXTRAS THIS WEEK YOU GUYS. Ollie says they're our best yet.

Topics discussed on the extras range from:
  • The Last Samurai
  • Tom Cruises fascination with the book on Bushido
  • Nihonjin-ron : The theory of Japan's cultural uniqueness/superiority and how Japan self-orientalizes
  • How the way academic angles on Japanese culture and popular ideas of Japanese culture interplay and build each other
  • The bizarre story behind the ORIGINAL book on Bushido, and Nitobe Inazo, the guy who wrote it (or did he?)
  • Why castles in Japan look the way they do
  • How Japan enjoys the portrayal of Japan in the West
  • Correlations between the modern view of Chivalry and the modern view of Bushido
  • How Japan fails to recognize diversity inside and outside of its borders
  • How much does the average person buy into stories of national identity, and are their actions affected by them
  • Some minor disagreement about the facts wallet-returning in Japan, in which Ollie was correct
  • How Oleg approaches researching Japanese history, and how he sees the driving forces behind things like the development of Bushido and the history of castle as universal human traits


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Content Links:
Oleg's books:
Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace
Inventing the Way of the Samurai: Nationalism, Internationalism, and Bushido in Modern Japan (The Past and Present Book Series)

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What is Japan By River Cruise?

Stand-up comedians Bobby Judo and Ollie Horn purport to report on the Japanese river cruise industry each week.