Examining the traits of Gendai Budō in modern society
The main proposed project “World Survey on Budo and Society”, a biannual survey on Japanese Martial Arts to be administered using the Amazon Mechanical Turk survey platform initially in Japan, the US and Italy (following waves can be administered in France, Russia, Australia, Egypt, and Brazil), aims to examine the traits of Gendai Budō (roughly translated as modern Japanese Martial Arts) in modern society and its social, economic, and political implications. While social sciences, particularly history, acknowledge that Gendai is a reinvented tradition we will investigate its goals focusing on its emerging effects from Japan to a global scale.
To offer some initial insights we aim to look at the debate in the field of Gendai Budō studies that suggests it as distinguishable from older forms of combat training and modern self-defense for the very reason that it is focused at the level of sociological effect by means of applications to combat principles outside the hand-to-hand fighting context. The latest English translation of the 1st article from the Budokan Charter clarify this point stating the goals of Gendai Budō: “Through physical and mental training in the Japanese martial ways, exponents seek to build their character, enhance their sense of judgment, and become disciplined individuals capable of making contributions to society at large.”
Concepts and comparisons to explore
Here we have some very interesting ‘concepts’ we would like to define and measure such as: “character”; “sense of judgment”; “disciplined individuals”; “making contributions to society.” A starting point would be to define these concepts and came up with an operative definition to see how such effects if any can be measured.
Then a quantitative comparison between Japan and other geographical context will be performed over the ideas of competition, ‘combative pedagogics’ to develop ethics and moral values through ritualized combat, sacralization, and marketization as how these factors would impact the political discourse along the lines of national and global identities, and the conflict/cooperation dilemma.
There are numerous individual projects underway which will connect to the main project. International partnerships are also in place. A Japanese partner has already been identified in Alexander Bennett, PhD, Associate Professor at Kansai University in Osaka.
We expect a number of articles, at least one book project to be produced, and a conference to be organized.