Samurai William Essay

1725 Words7 Pages
In Giles Milton’s novel, Samurai William, the reader is taken to the other side of the globe to experience the history of old world Japan. Though out the book, Milton provides reason for complex historical events and actions, while still communicating the subtleties and mysterious customs of the Japanese. The novel also closely examines the wide range of relationships between different groups of Europeans and Asians, predominantly revolving around the protagonist, William Adams. The book documents the successes and failures that occur between the two civilizations, then links them back to either the positive or negative relationship they have. As the book goes on, the correlation is obvious. Milton shows us the extreme role that religion,…show more content…
All of these things were found by the Japanese to be incredibly rude and insulting and they took the Europeans for barbarians. On the other hand, it was the Europeans who looked upon the Japanese as backwards in their thinking. There were incredibly complex aspects of the country. Samurais were known to test their swords on criminals by chopping their bodies to bits; casual violence was no need for alarm here. There were subtle things like how they wore long strips of silk draped around their bodies held only in place by a knotted rope; they tweezed the hairs from their faces and wore their hair in oily buns on the tops of their heads. All of these differences could have very well been the negative road block that would have stopped all progress in the relations between the two civilisations. Alessandro Valignano was quick to recognise this potential disaster. He ordered that his Jesuits live like natives to create harmony and understanding. He wrote a manual for them to follow with all the behaviours this foreign country was built upon. He also encouraged them to “think and behave as though they were Japanese, to act with dignity and stoic decorum”. In turn, the Jesuits became accustom to the way of life of the Japanese, and found themselves to be much more successful in their relationships with them. When William Adams came to the Land of the Rising sun, he was at first incredibly homesick
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