Marcelo Aranda Humanities and Social Science
Blood and Steel: Honor and Personal Violence in Early Modern Spain and Japan
Personal violence was an endemic problem for Early Modern societies, since both elites and the upwardly mobile acted according to codes of honor rooted in the past. Two cultures, Early Modern Spain and Japan, handled this problem in outwardly similar manners. While governments imposed strict penalties on personal violence, martial artists in both societies created systems of combat that addressed not only the immediate physical concerns of their students, but also their spiritual and psychological needs. By analyzing and comparing 16th century Spanish and 17th century Japanese fencing manuals I will illustrate the manner in which different cultures dealt with this problem. I will also reference studies about personal violence from the fields of Japanese history and anthropology.