Friday, July 6, 2012

Zatoichi - Applied Morality Through Necessary Violence



Song:   Nights In White Satin

Group:   Moody Blues



Now...
at first glance...
the article title and the song title simply don't have any relationship.

Ah...
but when I had first heard this song as a young boy in the late 1960s...
on my brand new state of the art AM/FM transistor radio that my dad had bought for me...
I only knew the song titles and lyrics by sound.

I thought that the title was...
"Knights In White Satin"...
instead of...
 "Nights In White Satin".


This is what I had thought the song was about in my little mind  :)

It was one of the first modern songs to incorporate a full orchestra.

The song sounded so epic...
(it is still one of my favorites)
it reminded me of the many movies I loved to watch as a child.

As I listened to this song...
a whole mini movie conjured itself in my mind...
of Knights on the eve of battle...
riding forth to rescue a fair maiden from evil...
 of the great love the lead knight had for her...
and of the great honor and friendship that his comrades displayed
in riding with him...ready to fight to the death to conquer evil...
all in the name of chivalry, goodness and honor...
true morality.


Tales and movies of...
the Knights of Europe...
and of the Samurai of Japan...
were my favorite of all.

It was of good defeating evil...
of one (or the few) against the many...
of great hardship heartily endured...
of great sacrifice readily chanced...
of death itself...
courageously faced...
 in order to protect the innocent...
and to truly live life as free and honorable men.


Honor can only be earned where the great probability
of great personal sacrifice exists.

The highest honor comes from courageous actions in the face of death...
in the protection of the innocent...
in the name of goodness.

Honor is the highest virtue...
the morals demonstrated by a person.

It is violence that MUST sometimes be used
in order to effect the protection of the good and innocent
from those whom are of evil intent and from their inevitably evil actions.

As I have made the case for...many times in past articles...
there are but two types of violence:

Justifiable
and
Unjustifiable

To protect good from evil...
the innocent from the predator...
the asserter from the aggressor...
using it as a last resort...
and in a correctly measured amount
(using only the amount necessary to effect the result)...
is Justifiable.

To NOT do so is to...
allow enslavement and/or death of the innocent...
allow evil to triumph over good.

To NOT be prepared to do that which may be necessary...
is to abdicate the sacred responsibility of all whom are of good.

By claiming that ALL violence is evil...
is to embolden all whom are of evil...
as they know they merely need just up the ante to 
that of violence...to make all fold.

They become the winners of all...
and of all they desire...
by default.


THAT is why peace can ONLY be assured through strength.

Whether by the mere threat of it making it too expensive
a proposition for those of evil...
or through the actual conquering of evil when necessary...
good must reign supreme...
or the good and innocent SHALL become the prey...
the slaves...
of all whom are of evil.

Evil DOES exist...
as does the manifestation of it
in the Aggressor...
the Coveter...
the Predator.

It is not an "opinion"...
it is an indisputable fact
(made so by numerous real life examples...
not only throughout history in every part of the world...
but through the present day to day examples of it).

And no...
I am not talking of using violence as a first response
against injustice...where other means may work.

I am talking of responding to TRUE evil...
where there exists no possible response
other than to protect through justified force.



Now...
on to Zatoichi.




Zatoichi is the name of a blind swordsman
who travels Japan in the mid 1800s on foot...
earning his way through his skills as a masseur and as a gambler.

Although he is technically an outlaw...
he is a very moral man who stands for good and right...
as reinforced only through Justified Violence...
to protect the innocent from evil...
through the deadly effective use of his cane sword.

Many of his movies are available for free through HULU.

You need just type in Zatoichi in the search bar and some of his 
many movies will appear.

They are subtitled and only the first two movies are in black and white.
All of the others are in color.

His first movie came out in 1962 and went on for many years.

His movies were so popular in Japan...
so enduring...
and captured the hearts of so many...
because they had captured the essence of true morality.

I was raised on Zatoichi... as well as many other Samurai movies.

The Zatoichi movies don't have the spurting blood that many others had.

What had appealed to me most was his sense of morality...
his true courage and sense of justice.

In the early 1960s, we had lived in a small Japanese village
(we lived there from when I was 3 to 5 years old...we then got on base 
housing at the Misawa Air Base in Japan from when I was 5 to 6 years old).

When we lived in the village...
I remember wanting...
more than anything...
a Katana 
(sword - just as most Japanese boys).

I had always admired the Samurai of the many movies I had seen.

We often went to the numerous Japanese festivals throughout the year.
There were always bright colorful displays of all sorts of toys for sale...
delicious foods and drinks...balloons...etc.

I wanted nothing other than a Katana.

They were, of course, made of plastic.
However, they were still realistic in shape and were sized for boys.
They came complete with a scabbard and the Katana could be drawn
and wielded just as the ones in the movies.

When, through numerous pleadings, my mother finally relented...
I finally got my Katana.
I was so proud.

At home...
I had my mother dress me up in my Kimono (male)...
and sash (Obi) so I could tuck my Katana in the sash...
just as the Samurai did in the movies.

I had a pair of Geta (the wooden shoes seen in many Samurai movies)...
and in full dress...
I would stroll the dirt streets of the village looking to right wrong...
to take on imaginary villains...
ready to strike fear into the heart of evil with my sword of justice  :)

Although it may seem absurd...
it is precisely the honorable dreams of little children...
engendered by honorable examples...
which grow into the Morals of adults.

Zatoichi...
encompasses so many of the righteous virtues...
so many examples of true morality...
I simply cannot emphasize enough...
the value of having young children exposed to it
(or other like movies)...
to help mold their sense of...
  justice...
 honor...
 true morality.


Post note:  Stay away from the 1989 movie - Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman.
It had taken on "modern" standards...it included spurting blood and warped morals.

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting post. I think Japanese people put a high value on morality or social rules.

    In a sense, "Zatoichi" was epoch-making as a movie ABOUT Japan, as well as "The Karate Kid." Samurai (and Karate fighters) never resort to violence without a cause, and they have their own rules. They have a sense of morality.

    This post reminds me of the famous line by Philip Marlowe. "If I wasn't hard, I wouldn't be alive. If I couldn't ever be gentle, I wouldn't deserve to be alive." I think it's like the spirit of Samurai.

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  2. Yes, it is exactly morals which help guide a nation. It allows people to agree on certain rules...ones which will be followed regardless if they are being overseen or not...which allows people to work together. It is a nation filled with people who work together which becomes one in purpose. Such a nation cannot help but achieve greatness.

    Japan is known throughout the world as a nation guided by morals and its people with the ability to pull together as one. It is this concept of teamwork which so many other nations admire.

    Japanese men are seen as very proper gentlemen...humble while being very strong in will and capabilities. They are known to be very savvy and fearsome warriors when necessary...both, on the battlefield, and in the boardrooms of business.

    Japanese women are seen as being among the most feminine, gentle, and most beautiful women in the world.

    I like that saying by Mr. Marlowe also.

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