Musui's Story: Katsu Kokichi As A Masterless Samurai

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The autobiography, Musui’s Story, depicts the life of Katsu Kokichi, a samurai who lived during the Tokugawa period of Japan. Katsu Kokichi was a masterless samurai who never held public office, due, in large part, to the trouble he often found himself in throughout his youth. As he grows older, however, he reflects on his youth and attempts to change his life for the better. He becomes a person others can count on and he uses his familial connections to aid others in his community. Despite his best efforts, he is still unable to make amends entirely as people still associate him with his troubled youth. This leads him to consider how best to correct his mistakes as a samurai throughout his youth, and he shares this advice in the hopes that …show more content…
When he is finally found, as punishment for running away, he is kept in a cage. However, throughout his time in the cage he “reflected on [his] past conduct and came to the conclusion that whatever had happened had been [his] fault” (Katsu 68). The experience has a positive outcome for him as he learns to read and write, having previously left school without regard to his lessons in the first place. After he is released from the cage, he meets an old man who gives him a piece of advice that redefines the course for the rest of his life: “‘People are wont to repay a good deed with ingratitude. Well, why don’t you be different and try returning a good deed for every act of ill will?’” (Katsu 73). This advice leads to even more positivity in Katsu’s life as he begins to help people in debt and in trouble as he had been. This furthers and strengthens his connections and helps him later in life. He is recognized for his kindness and people are willing to help him in …show more content…
He spends much of his adult life working to build his reputation and make compensations for his youth. Nevertheless, he is never considered anything more than a miscreant and must continuously atone for his past ways. His deep association with the Yoshiwara does little to heighten his status as a noble figure. Consequently, he forges deep connections with people within the Yoshiwara as well and is highly regarded there. In the end, he retires without ever having held down steady employment and ever having received a formal education. He relies on his own wits and strengths to sustain him. Although he does not follow all of the traits of a promising samurai in the early stages of his life, he recognizes the importance later and begins to live his life on the principles he believes are

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