An infrequent topic on this blog has been Japan and the Japanese who for a variety of reasons remain fascinating to me. The main being that I am married to a Japanese woman with whom I have children and I lived there for just shy of ten years. Though this reason doesn’t entirely explain my fascination.
Of keen interest to me is the culture of the Japanese which I last considered in my review of the late Michael Crichton’s 1992 novel Rising Sun. This imparted knowledge of Japanese culture through the character of John Connor. I took issue with a number of the fictional Connor’s observations but overall, I got the impression Crichton had done his homework well before writing the novel. The topic of this post will be the Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano’s 1580 report on his experiences in Japan. This is quoting from The Christian Century in Japan 1549-1650 by C.R. Boxer which I am in the middle of reading.
Before proceeding I want to state that while my previous commentary (and no doubt some of what foll0ws), might show some distaste for aspects of Japanese culture, I am on the whole, very fond of them. In fact I would consider a lot of my criticism in the familial sense as we are all more acquainted with the shortcomings of those we love and so too — their virtues. The Japanese have the latter in abundance but the former certainly exist too.