The Last Samurai Essay

909 Words 4 Pages
     The idea of honor is different to many people. The dictionary defines honor as, That which rightfully attracts esteem, respect, or consideration; self-respect; dignity; courage; fidelity; especially, excellence of character; high moral worth; virtue; nobleness; specifically, in men, integrity; uprightness; trustworthiness; in women, purity; chastity. [1913 Webster]. However in the film The Last Samurai, the idea of honor seems to differ between the different people in each culture.
     The Americans equate honor with how many battles have been won. Not necessarily how the battles are won. We are introduced to the idea of American culture changing the Japanese way by first being
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Japan believed that in order to succeed in the modern world they themselves needed to modernize. The towns began to change, people began dressing differently. Out went the kimonos and in came the suits and top hats.
Another look at the swing in the idea of honor takes place the streets of Tokyo. Japanese soldiers confront a samurai for caring weapons in the street. When asked to remove his swords the samurai does not comply, the soldiers answer to this by forcefully placing the warrior on his knees and cutting off his "top knot". The cutting of a samurai's topknot is a dishonoring action, and yet the Japanese soldiers believe that by upholding the law that they themselves are the honorable ones.
     The samurai warriors value honor above all, even life itself. The samurai seem to tie honor to many different religious beliefs such as karma, destiny and faith, although they believe that perfection can only be found in death. The idea of samurai honor comes from the willingness to die for a cause. The samurai believe that the loss of a battle is more shameful than dieing in the heat of battle. The samurai believed it to be dishonorable to use firearms, they used traditional weaponry in battle such as swords and bow and arrow. The samurai refused to give up their swords because to them the sword represented their ancestors. To them the sword was an extension of their own soul.

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