legend of matajuro: redux

Loooong back, in 2006 (actually ’tis not that long ago), I typed in the very fascinating & incredible story about Matajuro; it is here: The legend of Matajuro; please read it first to make sense of this post. If you already have done that, that’s great!

In my opinion, it is a very fine & an absorbing piece on what constitutes education and awareness. Enjoy.

So, this year, the new erdkinder on the new block also did this ritual of reading and savouring it. But Rama, unlike me, has brought in a good structured interpretation of the story so that one can contemplate on it.

Rama’s questionnaire has got three parts: factual, interpretive and evaluative so that the erdkinder have some tool to dice and splice the story with. Apparently, the children also had a seminar and some fascinating discussions centering around the legend, which I missed.

I reproduce the questionnaire hereunder in toto for your edification.

Seminar – The legend of Matajuro

Factual questions –

    1. The name of the story?
    2. From which book has this excerpt taken? Who was its author? –
    3. What was the Yagyu family into which Matajuro was born reputed for?
    4. To which province did Matajuro’s travels take him?
    5. At the foot of which falls was the Kumano Nachi shrine?
    6. What was the name of the teacher he found?
    7. What is a hakama?
    8. What was Matajuro cooking when Banzo last struck him?
    9. What vegetable was Matajuro peeling?
    10. What was the highest peak of the bugei
    11. For how long did matajuro stay with Banzo? For how many years did Banzo attack him?
    12. With what did Banzo reward Matajuro?

Interpretive questions –

  1. Why did Matajuro’s father banish him from the dojo? Was his action effective?
  2. How old or young do you think Matajuro was?
  3. How was Banzo regarded by the people?
  4. “That’s too long, long” said Matajuro.  What does this say about him?
  5. What were his duties in the hut?
  6. Matajuro did plan to leave even before Banzo struck him with the bamboo.  Then why did decide to stay?
  7. How can you describe Matajuro?
  8. What qualities did Matajuro learn that made earn his certificate?
  9. Do you think Banzo was a good teacher?  Why?

Evaluative questions –

  1. What was the message of this Zen story?
  2. Is there a difference between Matajuro’s parents and yours?  How?
  3. How is the story reflective of the tradition of Zen and Japan?

— END —

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