Heart of a Samurai


Change is inevitable and occurs in the simplest and unexpected form. This is clearly shown in the book ‘Heart of a Samurai’ by Margi Preus where a fourteen year old Japanese boy brought two nations that differ in culture and are from different continents together. As shown in the book, Japan was a rigid country that did not embrace change easily, while America was a flexible country accepting changes easily. However, because of a simple boy, Japan could not avoid embracing the changes. Therefore, using the themes in the book ‘Heart of a Samurai’, an extensive analysis of how change is inevitable and occurs in the simplest and unexpected form is done.


The first theme is the theme of dreams. After the ship wreck on a fishing expedition, the crew were rescued by an American ship and taken to America. In America, Manjiro was dreaming that one day he would go back home and become a samurai (Preus, 2010). This dream was providing Manjiro with hope. After saving money in America, Manjiro went back to Japan to pursue his dreams. As a result, he became a samurai leading to the opening up of the Japanese borders despite their rigid ways of living (Preus, 2010). Therefore, the dream of a simple boy led to changes in Japan. In this case, the Japanese did not expect the change and it was inevitable for them to face the changes. This example proves the fact that change is inevitable and occurs in the simplest form and at the time least expected.

The second theme is the theme of equality. In the social structure of the Japanese, Manjiro was among the low class. Manjiro dreamt of going back to Japan and becoming a samurai, thus elevating his family’s social class (Preus, 2010). It was not easy because a person from the low class could not become a samurai. This shows that there was no equality in Japan. However, after Manjiro returned to Japan, he was able to convince the council and become a samurai (Preus, 2010). As a result, this brought the first change of accepting people from the low class to become samurais. This change was inevitable because the council could not disprove his claims, and it was least expected. Astonishingly, it was from a simple man.

The final theme is the theme of friendship. For a long time, Japan did not allow other ships to come close to their borders. Moreover, Japanese did not allow their people to visit other countries (Preus, 2010). On the other hand, the Americans did not interact with the Japanese because of this culture. This means that Americans did not visit Japan or take any Japanese people to America. After the American ship rescued Manjiro and the other fishermen, Captain Whitfield becomes fond of Manjiro developing a friendship (Preus, 2010). As a result, Captain Whitfield decided to adopt Manjiro taking him to America. Moreover, it is because of this friendship that the Japanese realized that the Americans were not barbarians but excellent people who made a friendly gesture by rescuing them (Preus, 2010). It is clear that the change was inevitable because the two parties had to relate with one another and they did not expect it.


Presently, change is taking place at an increasing pace. This is clear in the book ‘Heart of a Samurai’. The book shows that people should expect change anytime. Secondly, change occurs in simple ways, and it is inevitable. In this case, people should realize that instead of becoming rigid or resisting change, they should be flexible to change and embrace it. Change cannot be avoided and it would be of vast significant value if people accepted it like it happened in the book by Preus.

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