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Using the book Hagakure, write a 5-6 page paper addressing the following question:

Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure has been called the “Bible of the Samurai,” but it was written after Japan’s warrior class had stopped fighting. Is Hagakure a valuable guide for warrior-bureaucrats in an age of peace, or is it anachronistic and closer to work of fantasy fiction? Evaluate the contents of Hagakure and consider the political and social context of the age that the book was written in responding to the question.

History of the Samurai: Is Hagakure a valuable guide for warrior-bureaucrats in an age of peace, or is it anachronistic and closer to work of fantasy fiction?

Sample Solution

Described by Mr. de Montheron, “all these fancies representing the death of Husain and all his family with him, which made weep and scream so many men and women, and which lasted three or four hours passing before the king, may be called with reason a true spectacle of grief.” With the positive foreign policy promoted by Shah Abbas I, an increasing number of European travelers settled in Persia. Many of them provided a considerable amount of travel reports with detailed observation of the social, religious and political life of Persia. Observed by Olearius, when foreign guests and the royalties presented themselves to the public, dramatic and spactacular devices were adopted in the ceremonials to enhance the commemoration and mourning.[18] The display of props, luxury, weapons, as well as the use of music and poet in the procession, all contributed to the sensory experience of both the performer and the spectator, and which has also completely transit the ritual service to a theatrical play.[19] After Shah Abbas’s deliberate development of Muharram ceremonials, it has become a public drama spectated by him the emperor, and the foreigners the true audiences. According to Jean Calmard’s table listing information of Muharram ceremonies under the Safavids in the main travel accounts, rituals observed by Western travelers in Isfahan are all located at the Royal Maidan. In some of the reports the location is detailed to Ali Qapu; some of them record the processions performed at the Maidan in front of the Shah. The Maidan is located in the centre of Isfahan with four monumental structures articulated on the four sides: the royal bazaar, the Ali Qapu palace, the Sheikh Lotf-Allah Chapel-Mosque on the east and the Royal Mosque [Fig, ]. In particular, the Maidan and its Ali Qapu palace was the specific site of viewing and an embodiment of both religious and political power. Standing on the talar of Ali Qapu with the Shah would have heighten and enhance the spiritual and sensory experience of the ritual. + evidence of Ali Qapu’s role For example, take a palace like the Ali Qapu in Isfahan. The five-story building served as a place for the judiciary to hold office on certain days of the week and as a place for ceremonial functions. Such palaces were special to Isfahan in the 17th century, during the reign of the Safavid dynasty. They had elegant wooden pillared porches in front (known as talar) which were open on three sides, allowing for a full 180-degree viewing stage overlooking the public square or gardens. They were spacious enough to host hundreds of guests, including governors, ambassadors, high-level European merchant representatives, and so forth. The distinction here lies in the fact that the Shah hosted these feasts, while the Ottoman Sultan was never seen in such ceremonies, nor were the Indian Mughal emperors personally engaged in eating and drinking with their guests.>

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