Masculinity, Media, and the Middle Ages: Chivalry and Bushido in Popular Culture 

Alva Bailey and Dr. Colleen Delaney 

Abstract

This project investigates how the concepts of Western European chivalry and Japanese bushido are represented in contemporary popular culture. It examines features of the medieval societies to which these ideas are tied, including professional warrior classes, feudalism, and philosophy, in order to establish a basis of comparison between the two concepts. These examinations also serve to interrogate how medieval peoples understood chivalry and bushido, how modern peoples have understood them, and whether both concepts truly originated in their respective medieval periods. This research also questions how ‘accurately’ chivalry and bushido are envisioned in the popular imagination by tracing their varied uses and definitions over several centuries. A survey of contemporary media investigates how the concepts are portrayed within current popular culture, with specific attention to movies, TV shows, comics, books, and video games from both the West and Japan. The survey’s findings will provide insight into the reasons for the continued popularity of chivalry and bushido as tenets of masculinity and as remnants of an idealized past.

Presentation

Session 2 – 3:00p.m. – 4:15p.m.

Room A – Sierra 1411 

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