Samurai Williams is considered as one of the most important readings on this history of relationship between Japan and the West and how Japan started to open for trade to the Western World. This biographical novel depicts a very rich historical context of how Japan emerged on the world scene through its trade with the Western World and how it started to be actually discovered.
Though Giles Milton presents the facts in really fascinating manner however, what is also critical about this novel is its vivid and rich depiction of the contacts between two different cultures and how the actual culture of Japan started to Westernize with the incursion of the new ideas and people within the mainstream Japanese society. Apparently this story deals with the time when Europe was busy in exploring the world for the purpose of trade and as such extensively travelling as well as cultural adaptations happened.
In search for a larger empire and accumulating wealth, Europe and especially England went on to rule different countries of the world. However, what is so critical about that era is the fact that it represents one of the most critical eras of modern history as it is from where the seeds of globalization and socio-political changes started to take place. The depictions Giles made in this novel reflects that era in which the cultural exchange resulted into the opening of trade between the countries as well as the discovery of many important countries of the world.
This research paper will basically discuss, analyze as well as compare the various relationships between the Europeans and the Asians and as such will assess whether these relations were positive or not and whether the book has been able to truly portray the complexities of such contacts between the two. Giles Milton In order to understand what Samurai Williams depicts and carries forward as a literary message, it is critical that a review of the Giles Milton’s literary style is considered.
He is considered to have a very special interest into the history and most of his work based on depicting some historical periods during the Elizabethan and Jacobean period. What is also critical is about the work of Milton is the fact that he attempts to carve out the truth behind the major historical events, which have radically altered the path of history and Samurai Williams also seems to be part of that thinking and style.
Though, if discussed in the pure sense of Novel, Milton’s works are not Novels, but they read like a Novel and presents a fine blend of history with the fiction and as such most of his work successfully presents historical events and records with a very interesting and readable style- something which a reader of today’s world really demands. (Faulkner 2002).
The recent wave of blending fiction with the non- fiction like the work of Dane Brown clearly indicates a radical shift into the overall style of the modern writers and Samurai Williams is also an effort in this direction. The subsequent sections of this research paper will discuss how the relations between the European and Asians are depicted in the Samurai Williams and whether Milton was successful in bringing in a true picture of portraying the real complexities of the contacts between Asians and Europeans. Samurai Williams
It is important to understand that those who dared to sail to Japan to exploit the relationship between the William Adams and the local lords of Japan included traders as well as missionaries therefore in order to analyze the relations between the two, it is critical that we must be a distinction between the aims and objectives of the two groups of Europeans in Japan. What one can discover at the outright is the fact that these two groups faced a very uphill task of adjusting into a culture which was largely alien to them and as such presented tough challenges to accommodate oneself in that culture.
The long established culture of Japan almost has everything a culture can provide to live a life therefore presented a very tough challenge to the Europeans, who were nothing more than a sour thumb in a culture which initially looked not so accommodating to them. In a sense, apparently, the relations between the Asians as well as Europeans, therefore, were largely based on a cultural constraint and as such the initial phase of their interaction is depicted as one that reflects the potential conflict between Japanese and European.
In its true sense, William Samurai is not a book of historical accounts but reflects the relations between the European and Japanese culture and succeeds in outlining a comparison between the two cultures. Since this book is set within the Japanese environment as the host culture therefore it is critical to note that it successfully depicts as to how the Japanese culture of hospitality and care for others also reflects in the relationship between the two.
The earlier accounts of the William Adams’s stay at Japan as well as subsequent friendship with the Japanese Shogun reflect that the relations between the two cultures varied over the period of time. The initial phase of the cultural interaction was mostly of doubts and fears about each other however, as soon as both the cultures started to know each other things seem to have settled down and the true reflection of the Japanese culture start to emerge. Spence 2003) It is also important to understand that the book William Samurai has been successful in outlining that despite being isolated from rest of the world, Japanese culture is far superior than that of the Europeans and although the motives of the European were to exploit the Japan for trade purposes still Japanese responded with a positive outlook and attempted to present the true character of the Japanese culture.
This character of Japanese culture is also important because historically this culture has remained protective of its values and successfully kept itself insulated from the Western values and progress made by the West over the period of time. This fact about the Japanese culture also indicates that the relationships between the two groups might have been mixed rather than positive or negative.
William Samurai has successfully depicted this vivid difference between the two cultures also and as such attempt to present an analysis which is largely in favor of the Japanese culture. In a sense, it is also critical to note that William Samurai failed to present a very rational and balanced analysis of the issue of the cultural interaction. Since the book is set within the historical context of Japan and Europeans are shown as external agents therefore naturally the writer’s attitude has been favorable towards Japanese.
Further, European considered Japan as a trading machine for them therefore naturally their relationships with the Asians were purely based on the commercial basis as against the Asians who consider often attempt to mingle with personal values and culture with that of their business. If we even reflect upon the current business culture of Japan, we come to know that it is still based on The Japanese model of management with very little influence of the Western World. Numerous research studies confirm that Japanese often does not distinguish between their personal and professional values.
Thus, it may not be entirely possible to comment that the William Samurai has been successful in portraying the real complexities of the cultural differences between the two cultures. Similarly, the other group of the Europeans i. e. the Missionaries was on the mission to bring in Christian religion in the country however, they too seem to have been targeting of the strong religious values of Japanese. Conclusion William Samurai is one of the rich accounts of the relationship between the two cultures and attempts to define the two cultures in a larger historical context.
The intrusion of European into Japan to exploit the trading potential of Japan and their subsequent interaction with the Japan as a country of strong cultural values reflects that the two cultures rarely found a conciliatory link between each other. The book though has been successful in reflecting that the basic complexities of the two cultures however, it may not have been wholly successful in depicting the true complexities of the cultural interaction.