20 August 2008

Red Beard

I recently watched the 1965 Japanese classic Red Beard (あかひげ) by Kurosawa (黒澤). The film tells a touching story about an arrogant new doctor who chaffs at being sent to a poor rural clinic but gradually develops a deep respect for the head doctor ("Red Beard") and decides to stay on. While watching the film, it occurred to me that Red Beard is an excellent example of the Confucian ideal--a deeply moral person who is acutely aware of the individuals and community around him and seeks, in subtle ways, to restore harmony and justice. In some parts of the movie, Red Beard even demonstrates that uniquely Confucian trait of expressing grave disappointment in his own failures while asking even his disciples to reprove him when he falls short.

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