chapter  9
12 Pages

THE SPIRIT OF MEDIEVAL JAPAN

JAPANESE CULTURE It might be tempting to think that the advent of the uncultured warrior society of Kamakura, then the struggles which followed the setting up of the Muromachi bakufu, would result in the brilliant culture of the Heian era being engulfed in the general chaos. However, if political events and the hazards of war brought about profound and lasting social and economic changes, the spirit of Japan, all that constitutes what is now known as bunka, Japanese ‘culture’, survived these vicissitudes at the same time being influenced by disorders which affected the life of the whole country. The refined elegance, the affectation, and in a word, the decadence which characterized society during the latter part of the Fujiwara epoch could, without doubt, have led to the impoverishment of the arts and of the spirit, to a real decadence. Under the influence of Kyôto’s aristocracy, the strength of purpose and the simplicity of manners of the new rulers of the country were soon to undergo a transformation.