Japanese Patriotism and Ethnocentrism told through the book: Requiem for Battleship Yamato

Essay by DawgieUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Requiem for Battleship Yamato is a paradigm of the enduring warrior spirit in Japan. Though subtle in its revelation, patriotism and ethnocentrism both played major roles in the way Yoshida thought and wrote. The heroic patriotism of Yoshida and his shipmates is best shown by the manner in which many of them choose to die. The book was more a journal of the ways in which his comrades died than a historical recount. No native of Japan, much less a survivor of the battleship Yamato could have not been influenced by both a strong sense of patriotism and ethnocentrism.

The intended mission of the battleship Yamato was itself the zenith of Japanese patriotism. Patriotism is simply a love of and dedication to one's country. No one can doubt the pride members of the Yamato had in fighting for their country. As one crewman stated "Isn't it enough to wear on your breast the chrysanthemum emblem of the special attack force and to die with 'long live the emperor' on your lips?" (p41) Although there were arguments against only that as a reason to die, no one doubted the statement's validity.

On more than one instance in the book Yoshida scolds himself for faltering. When his fear seizes him for a moment he thinks "Ah, what a coward! Deadening your senses now by taking refuge in alcohol." (p20) Yoshida may not recognize it as patriotism but clearly he shows his love of his country simply in his attitude. In keeping with the warrior code of samurai during Japan's feudal period Yoshida doesn't allow himself to be taken by fear and thinks to embrace death, to die with honor. He wishes not to stain himself or his country with shame. Yoshida writes "I too naturally reach for my side, touching the line...