1986 Volume 31 Issue 3 Pages 181-196
This thesis intends to analyze the physical practice and its philosophical background of a Japanese in the 19th century, when the Western physical education was not yet introduced. The means of this analytical research was through three letters written by Shoin Yoshida, 22years-old samurai, in 1851 and addressed respectively to his father, uncle, and the elder brother. It was found, through reading these three letters, that Shoin Yoshida practiced horse-riding and kenjutsu, Japanese art of fencing, ev6ry two days, and that, he walked 4 kilometers to visit his masters in strategics and Chinese philosophy. He maintained his health in good condition by his hard physical practice. The first finding is that people of samurai cast had acquired their own method of physical practice before the Western physical education was introduced into Japan. The second point that this thesis emphasizes is that Shoin Yoshida practiced this theoretical physical practice as his duty, i.e. elective obligation for self-training. For Shoin Yoshida, to maintain good health was a moral of human being, and was "Filial Piety" (孝) to the parents. The letter to his father improves his belief. The health viewpoints of Shoin Yoshida were strongly reflected by Confucian Analects.