Samara Vespia

IV. Ethnocentrism:

1. During this period of time ethnocentrism was most common and
nationalism was spread to all the people of the country in which they lived. It
was very uncommon for someone to experience a clash of culture within
themselves. And an understanding and liking of another culture other then their
own. To be interested in a country for reasons other then money and trade was
very rare. This greediness caused great misunderstandings between people of
the east and people of the west. Then again some people are different and
posses the strength to go against the majority to try and appreciate cultures
other then their own. In the story “Shogun”, John Blackthorne [a British pilot
and captain of the ship Erasmus] along with his crew sail across the seas to find
the Islands that Blackthorne insists exist, The Japans. Because of the crew being
closeminded and unacknowledged about countries other then their own,
ethnocentric, and greedy has caused them not to appreciate the Japanese
culture but to hate it, which in return caused the Japanese to dislike them as
well. Putting myself in the crew’s situation would mean that I would accept all
the knowledge and views that the crew took with them on their voyage [ which
were few].

A big part of appreciating anything is knowing what it is you are trying to
appreciate. John Blackthorne went into this expedition searching to find land
that he new was there. A place he studied and learned about. John new what he
was looking for which made the land easier for him to appreciate once it was
found. For the crew, on the other hand, their purpose for finding the new land
was not for educational reasons or for appreciating anything but for starting
trade and a money flow right away, they didn’t even believe their were anything
called the Japan’s in the first place. Appreciating the enchanting and new land
was the last thing on their minds.
Ethnocentrism played a big role in people’s life during that time. For
some people it was the only thing they had. The only thing that meant
something important to them and to their country. These men in the crew didn’t
have much so they held on to it and took it very seriously. They held their
culture, nationalism, and pride right under their arm like a frightened woman
would hold onto her purse. Blackthorne’s crew were so buckled down to their
beliefs and slaved drived to think things like people from other countries were
demonds they had a tough time excepting foreign beliefs and foreign customs.
No way were they going to look at any other country close to the superiority that
their own country had.
To John, landing on these hidden islands was like finding a buried
treasure full of new land, languages, people all hidden in the sea. To his crew it
was like a plague of greediness sickness infected all but John, because to them it
was a place few believed was even there, a place thought to be filled with
demons and if there was such a place called the Japans it would only be
important for trade and ways to receive money. All they wanted was to be
known as the first to discover Japan and accept any money and attention that
came along with the discovery. They could care less about all the things John
wanted to accomplish which made it difficult for them to survive in these new
and different surroundings.

Trying to put myself in a crew members position is difficult because I
believe I know why they don’t appreciate any foreign cultures, however there
are some ways I understand why the crew feels the way they do. Working as a
crew member on a ship, most of the time meant that they were poor men.
Which also meant that they had very little, or nothing to call their own. So when
beliefs like nationalism and ethnocentrism were passed throughout cultures
those people who lacked looked at it as something important that had meaning,
something that everyone equally took a part in. So they grabbed that chance and
excepted the beliefs and held onto them very tight. Their pride in their country
was all they could say they had that meant something because they had nothing.
So if I were a crew member who took great pride in my country, entering
another one, not knowing much about it because I could not afford school and
hearing all the rumors about these new people being