Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Shogun

Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1)Shōgun by James Clavell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Chinese philosophy the Yin and Yang are the two opposing forces beneficial to the well being if there is harmony. In the book Shogun harmony is Wa. While I sound philosophical let me be clear that Shogun is not a philosophy book. The best modern pop culture analogy I can give would be Game of Thrones only here you have the real world of samurais.

The harmony or the Wa I speak of is to the quality of the book. James Clavell has mixed east and west elements often opposing into a seamless story worth 1,000 pages long.

Love

Europeans know love but in Japan it feels like master servant. Love may seem like a foreign concept but compared to a samurai’s sense of duty what would you pick? This is the type of duty that does not shy away even to the pain of death. Who knows amid the dedication to duty, respect and admiration may come in? On the other hand love as any romance novel, poem, or song will tell you can fade away.

Life

A Christian European may see Seppuku as suicide, a waste of life, but to see it in another way the practice assures one hundred percent commitment maybe more in anything endeavor. To fail is to die. Then there is the samurai temper that would kill in a flash of an instant for the slightest infraction. I am dishonoured they often shout. The opposite side and this is the best among the samurai was able to lay down a strategy that spans years. This he did by avoiding moves of desperation even when the situation was dire.

Fate

What happens is the will of God. A Christian would find the remark a sign of strong faith since there is implied acceptance. In Japan it’s all karma. It is what it is, no praying it away. You can always pray for a better will of God can you?

All of that and mix it with political intrigue like Game of Thrones made for one enjoyable book. I have not read a novel in a long while and I tell you I finished it in 2 weeks. That is saying something considering I can actually just watch stories like Game of Thrones.

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