Many of Japan's admired historic figures were adulated for being "warrior scholars," since they were equally adept at leading armies and composing poems. This ideal is referred to as 文武両道 (bunbu ryodō). Bun refers to writing and by extension the literary arts. Bu relates to martial or military matters. Ryodō means "both ways."

"Bunbu ryodō" happens to be a good description of my longtime friend Marty Kuehnert, who's both a prolific writer and an enthusiastic sportsman. Marty even used this aphorism in the title of one of his many books, 「文武両道、 日本になし- 世界の秀才アスリートと日本のど根性スポーツマン」 ("Bunbu ryodō, Nihon ni nashi — Sekai no shūsai asurīto to Nihon no konjō supōtsuman," "No bunbu ryodō in Japan: The world's scholar-athletes and Japan's guts-only sportsmen"), in which he blasted Japan's education system for its almost total lack of effort to make top athletes apply themselves academically.

As you are about to see, the simple character 文 (bun) is indeed ubiquitous enough to warrant a full column.