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White hope or yellow peril?: Bushido, Britain, and the Raj

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Chapter Summary

In the late nineteenth century, the tide of European dominance seemed to be receding as the alleged superiority of the white male Christian came under challenge. One component of the European imperialist worldview was a perceived link between Christianity and civilisation, and Nitobe sought to overturn that perception as well. The lessons of bushido that Repington was urging on his countrymen were seconded by the anonymously written Decline and Fall of the British Empire (1905). Japanese intellectuals, unconnected to the government, did much the same on their own and found a willing audience among their British counterparts. The appeal of the bushido concept was especially strong among Indian nationalists, and as it grew in strength, anti-Japanese conspiracy theories began to take hold in Britain.

Keywords: Britain; British empire; bushido; Christianity; civilisation



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