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Modern Bujutsu & Budo: The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan (Volume 3)

Draeger, Donn F.

New York: Weatherhill, Inc., 190 pages (1974)
ISBN: 0-8348-0351-8

Highly Recommended

This is an extremely well-written description of the modern Japanese martial arts. Beginning with a historical overview of the Meiji and Taisho eras as Japan lifted the isolation policies of the Tokugowa shogunate and expanded its influence to other nations, Draeger leads into the Showa era and World War II, examining the effect of Japan's martial culture upon the tragic events of the time. Draeger astutely addresses several issues that relate Japan's martial heritage to its foreign policy decisions of the first-half of the twentieth century, most notably the difference of the Meiji era samurai to the those of ages past and how the samurai ideals were misrepresented by the modern Japanese army.

In part two, Draeger examines the history, proponents, and philosophy of modern Japanese martial arts including the modern bujutsu (Batto-jutsu, Keijo-jutsu, Taiho-jutsu, et al.), Kendo, Judo, Karate-do, Aiki-do, Nippon Shorinji Kempo, and, to a lesser degree, Kyudo, Naginata-do, and Juken-do. The information presented is prolific, clear, and insightful. For each discussion, Draeger clarifies the origins of each martial art, moves on to its "essence, aims and techniques," and finishes with an overview of the art at the time time of publication (1973). Draeger enables the reader to better understand the uniqueness of each martial art.

The last chapter addresses the issue of "The Future of Modern Budo." Draeger is quite unforgiving for "the failure of the exponents of modern budo systems to achieve spiritual maturity" with "arbitrary rules and shallow theories posited by the exponents of modern disciplines presid[ing] over the demise of the classical concept of [bu]do." Draeger's analysis basically challenges the reader to look beyond the superficial and stylish and seek the true spirit of budo.

Without reservation, this book is excellent and highly recommended, surpassing Classical Bujutsu: The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan (Volume 1) and Classical Budo: The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan (Volume 2) in the presentation of the subject.

Related Titles

Annotated by: Charles A. Buhs (November 1996)

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Martial Arts: Aikido | Iaido | Judo | Jujitsu | Karate | Kendo |

Topics: history | philosophy | weapons |



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