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A MiddLab Project

Creating a National Ideal: How Baseball Drove Bushido in 20th Century Japan

Learn more about History and Japanese at Middlebury College

Baseball is certainly Japan’s most popular sport, in part because players there are said to embody bushido, an ancient set of values said to have described samurai gentlemen of old. However, bushido is far from timeless and unchanging. Instead, it is a dynamic term that has changed, especially in the 20th Century, as Japanese society has struggled to maintain its unique identity despite the homogenizing pressures of globalization. I argue that baseball players bring about this change by setting examples for the rest of society, and that as the behavior of players has evolved, the popular perception of bushido and the way Japanese citizens idealize their own history has evolved right with them.

People

Adam Lee
Researcher

Neil Waters
Sponsor & Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies

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A MiddLab Project

Oath-Sworn: The Concept of Oath-taking in Northwestern Medieval Europe

Learn more about History and Undergraduate Research at Middlebury College.

Oaths play an important role in our modern society from swearing-in procedures to Middlebury’s own Honor Code. A thousand years ago, oaths had a much larger role in early medieval society. Oaths were used to create artificial bonds between people. These bonds were the glue that kept the often violent early medieval society from falling apart. My study focuses on the social history of the oaths in northwestern Viking Age Europe through a close examination of Norse Sagas and French and English epics.

People

Christopher Rogers
Researcher

Louisa Burnham
Associate Professor of History & Advisor

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The use of perspective taking, loosely defined as checking in with another person’s point of view, inhibits aggressive responding. The present study investigates two specific perspective-taking methods: Imagine-Other, which involves imagining how another person feels by trying to understand the situation from his/her point of view, and Imagine-Self, which involves coming to know the other’s perspective by imagining oneself in the other person’s situation.

People

Aviva Bannerman
Researcher

Suzanne Gurland
Assistant Professor of Psychology & Advisor

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