Full Metal Daemon Muramasa – Peace is the Noblest Pursuit

Full Metal Daemon Muramasa

In Full Metal Daemon Muramasa, Minato Kageaki endeavors on a journey to defeat his true enemy, which is not the silver star, but himself. After a brief period of deliberation, he decided that he keeps losing because he has not abandoned all thoughts (無想/musò) in favor of overcoming the slight lag in his movements. However, he is ultimately unable to abandon rational thought because of his intense desire to defeat his enemy, a contradiction he is unable to escape from.

Full Metal Daemon Muramasa is now available on PC, through JAST store.

Individualism Vs Collectivism

Full Metal Daemon Muramasa

To understand the specifics of the challenge Kageaki has to overcome, we need to grasp the difference between the western and eastern philosophy regarding the concept of self. The concept of self in the west is consistent with independent construal and in the east with interdependent construal, or in other words, the west emphasize the existence and exploration of oneself, while the east acknowledges the true form of the inner self as “selflessness“, the absence of self, or becoming something akin to a part of the collective.

To learn about yourself, you must forget yourself“, its very different from the western view of ego, and up until today, self (ego我/ga) and its accompanying thoughts (sò/想) or individuality is still not regarded as an essential element of humanity in Japanese society. Even in the language, the terms relating to the self are used very delicately and are often omitted. The speaker emphasizing the self is thought to be detestable, as people are expected to master cooperation or non-assertiveness.

The Way of Harmony

Full Metal Daemon Muramasa

The approaches our protagonist refers (Muga/Muso) are all techniques of Aikido 合氣道 (Literally meaning the path of harmony). The discipline of aikido can be challenging to foreign mindsets because it does not move the self in a linear fashion, only through rigorous daily activities, instead it encourages the total opposite, to combat the self, to look at the mind from all angles, and defeat your own ego, therefore becoming a part of the world itself.

You absorb or blend with your opponent’s energy, rather than trying to land the hardest blow or exert your own energy. In fact, through putting aside your fear and your self-absorption, you being acting to protect both yourself and your opponent, because Aikido changes your world view to include your opponent, and it’s a lesson that business people often spend a lifetime trying without success to learn. After all, if you are unable to see what your opponent is seeing, or be your own opponent, you are going to fail.

Understanding How Progress Works

Full Metal Daemon Muramasa

This is (In my opinion) What Kageaki failed to see in the earlier routes of the story, or in other words, failed to conquer himself. Harmony (和/Wa) with the world and oneself means cooperation with the people around you, and on a deeper level it can mean being in harmony with your circumstances and not trying to push or force a situation. He tried to surrender thoughts and freewill to other parties (Ichigo, Kanae, Chachamaru), and therefore, he avoided the harmonious mindset.

You are disheartened when studying because you don’t feel you are making the progress you want to, and its the same with business, relationships, and every other facets of life. Meanwhile, when you appreciate the fact that you will lose while you gain, you will begin taking measures to minimize loss and forgetting, instead of crying over not remembering. One who is in harmony with the world, who is accepting of all angels and views, will move very differently from one who hasn’t conquered themselves.

If you think in this way, you will always try to find a Win-Win situation for everything, and everything moves in your favor. All of the Aikido practices can be summarized in the Win-Win solution and finding opportunities to cooperate. Not being passive about things, but at the same time we try to think in a broader aspect that involves for example a swift victory to protect your opponent from harm, and for your self to avoid being in years of conflict. If you think with love and harmony, the road will open before you.

Peace is the Noblest Pursuit

Full Metal Daemon Muramasa

Have you reflected on the story? Do you see where I am pointing at? Yes, the doctrines Kageaki were raised on, to not kill. The fight with the captain that ended in one slash without delivering harm to the opponent, and the last fight where Kageaki decided that should ultimately accept everything. The fight is between an opponent who rejected the world, and someone who strives to still be a part of this world and act upon that will.

The beauty of Full Metal Daemon Muramasa is that it converts spiritual concepts and ideals into materialistic forms, through the rules imposed by the mechanized armors. The way of the Full Metal Daemon Muramasa (The true route) is for everyone to live and not die, and continue acting in the best interests of the world, and that’s why even after Kageaki decided to kill himself for Hikaru’s Sake, this was not the final answer to seek, as it is not a Win-Win situation, and does not encourage harmony (和/Wa).

If someone dies, someone else must die, but if someone acts in the interest of making their opponent live, then by default the other person would act with the same in response. That’s why the final fight reflects a beautiful harmony in which Kageaki ended up wanting Hikaru to live, and she by turn shared his feelings. This mindset referring to the absence of heart and mind is often called the state of Mushin (無心 “no mind/heart”), where the mind is not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything.

Harmony and Aikido

It’s also the reason why many sword practitioners forsake the sword after a long living, because there is no meaning in conflict, or sometimes there has to be conflict, but for the sake of ending conflict, and inviting everyone to cooperate and be harmonious. It doesn’t contradict with the notion of becoming a warlord, because even those Aikido practitioners have to stand up and fight, but the ultimate goal is always Wa.

Aikido teaches that seeking peace and harmony is honorable, and there are different ways to achieve that, but for that to happen, you can’t bury your true thoughts, nor you can have an oppositional stance with the world. Harmony is found when all energies are in balance, yours and your opponent’s. An enlightened warrior would never agree to live like this, without harmony, without Wa, or even die without them.

If we look at the last words Kageaki left, He said: 和を以て貴しとす、Wa wo motte tōto shito su. Written with the double meaning Kanji for Harmony/Peace and Valor/Noble, it says: With Harmony, I shall be Noble, or value Peace/Harmony above all else. But now with more insight, we can deduce that Harmony does not only reflect the conflicts of war, but everything that resembles a person. The past, the present, the future, accept all, and act for the sake of everyone. The last step of Aikido training, called 澄み切り Sumi-Kiri: Clarity of Mind and Body.

Peace is the Noblest Pursuit

The word kiri comes from the verb kiru, “to cut.” Literally, sumi-kiri means “cutting through the clutter” of distractions, fear, ego, anger, and anxiety. It’s the ability to find your calm energy, hold on to your one-point, achieve mushin, and understand all of the aikido concepts and apply them whenever you are, weather in battle, or business, or even your own home and you own bed. You are not the thoughts you have, you act without their obstructions.

When you embrace sumi-kiri, you know without knowing, see without seeing. You’re aware of everything that’s happening within and around you, but you’re not zipping around or darting your eyes from place to place like a startled squirrel. You’re alert, and not in an agitated, overcaffeinated way—you’re completely calm and yet completely ready to take decisive action, because you have finally defeated the self.

Achieving Sumi-Kiri won’t erase all the problems and obstacles from your life, but when you are at or near that state, things will slow down, and problems will become opportunities. They will cease to unsettle you. You’ll be able to see that counterintuitive answer, that hidden path, that win-win solution nobody else can see. You will be comfortable with the problems you face, and you will be able to accept the world as it is, and as it is not.

and you will be not crying anymore, You will stay on the path, which was ironically clear from the start, even written on the title screen with lucent words.

I wasn’t crying. If, by chance, you saw tears on my face, Then you must have seen me laughing …. Those were surely tears of joy” – Minato Kageaki, The Full Metal Daemon Muramasa.

References Used: The Mushin Way to Peak Performance by Michael Veltri. Available on Amazon.

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