The Bushido Code: The Eight Virtues of the Samurai. Tim Clark. A Brief History of the Samurai. The word samurai originally meant “one who serves,” and. The Project Gutenberg eBook of Bushido, by Inazo NitobÉ, A.M., Ph.D.. . Bushido, then, is the code of moral principles which the knights were required or . BUSHIDO. Code of the SAMURAI. JUSTICE (gi)- Bushido not only refers to martial justice, but to personal justice. Justice is the strongest virtue of Bushido.

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Bushido. The Warrior's Code. BY INAZO NITOBE. To my beloved uncle Tokitoshi Ota who taught me to revere the past and to admire the deeds of the. Samurai I. BUSHIDO CODE of HONOR. Strongest Virtue. Do What is Right. Highest Attributes of the Soul. Regards for the Feelings of Others. Character, Prudence. Bushido is the proper term for the Samurai Code. It means. "The way of the warrior." The Bushido held restrictions on the Samurai, prohibiting them from doing.

A true warrior must have heroic courage.

It is absolutely risky. It is living life completely, fully and wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.

They are not as most people. They develop a power that must be used for good. They have compassion. They help their fellow men at every opportunity.

If an opportunity does not arise, they go out of their way to find one. They do not need to prove their strength. Warriors are not only respected for their strength in battle, but also by their dealings with others. The true strength of a warrior becomes apparent during difficult times. Nothing will stop them from completing what they say they will do.

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Thanks to its empowering vision of the past, the extreme nationalist movement embraced bushido, exploiting The Soul of Japan to pave Japan's way to fascism in the buildup to World War II. And so too The Last Samurai exploits Inazo Nitobe's depiction of bushido, renewing movie-going audiences' admiration for a venerable concept and glorified past that never truly existed.

Bushido and Medical Professionalism in Japan

But as bushido's precarious history proves, the truth often takes a back seat to more fashionable depictions, whether it be to change Western perceptions, fuel a fascist war agenda, or sell movie tickets.

Despite being of the samurai class themselves, Nitobe's family remained far removed from the battlefields and warrior culture of old Japan, gaining recognition as pioneers of irrigation and farming techniques. At age nine Nitobe moved to Tokyo to live with his uncle where he began intensive English study.

A unique subject of study at the time, Nitobe would become fluent in the language. In Death, Honor, and Loyalty: The Bushido Ideal, Cameron Hurst writes, "The Christian son of a late Tokugawa samurai… who was educated largely in English at special schools early in the Meiji era, Nitobe… could communicate with foreigners to a degree that even the most ardent exponents of kokusaika internationalization today would envy" Created under the influence of William S.

Clark, a devout Calvinist from New England, the school served to further solidify Nitobe's commitment to the Christian faith and he joined Clark's own "Sapporo Band" of Christians Oshiro. In Sapporo, Nitobe's estrangement from the Japanese society, culture and people grew. Japan's northernmost island remained largely unsettled wilderness and shared few cultural connections with mainland Japan. After graduating, the globetrotting Nitobe would bounce around Germany, the United States and Sapporo and even become the under-secretary general of the League of Nations Samuel Snipes.

Unique to his era, Nitobe's knowledge of English and Western literature remains impressive even by today's standards. Oleg Benesch, author of the in-depth study Bushido: The Creation of a Martial Ethic In Late Meiji Japan writes that Nitobe grew to be "more comfortable in English than Japanese" and eventually "lamented his lack of education in Japanese history and religion" The contrived imagining of the samurai class reshaped Western perceptions of Japan and would eventually come to redefine Japan's own interpretation of bushido and the samurai class.

Bushido, the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe

Years of isolationism meant Japan had fallen behind the world powers in terms of technology and military power. When Commodore Matthew Perry flexed his black ships' military muscle in the early s, Japan had no alternative but to accept his terms.

In professor Ohno's words, resulting exposure to foreign technology and culture "shattered their Japan's pride," making Japanese view their own nation as backward and out of step with the world Japan's Meiji government looked to the West not to Westernize per se, but to become a powerful nation on the world stage. While Nitobe doted over Western culture, the Meiji government devised a three pronged plan for modernization that focused on "industrialization economic modernization , introducing a national constitution and parliament political modernization , and external expansion military modernization " Ohno Source: World Imaging Political modernization would bring an end to Japan's feudal system and therefore its ruling samurai class.

New policies stripped the samurai of privileges and blurred class separation.

Voyages in World History explains: The Meji reforms replaced the feudal domains of daimyo with regional prefectures under control of the central government. Tax collection was centralized to solidify the government's economic control… All the old distinctions between samurai and commoners were erased: 'The samurai abandoned their swords… and non-samurai were allowed to have surnames and ride horses. Many former samurai had to face the indignity of looking for work.

And Japan's efforts saw quick results. Kenichi Ohno writes, "In the military arena, Japan won a war against China in and began to invade Korea it was later colonized in Japan also fought a victorious war with the Russian Empire in Victory over Russia, a "Western nation," proved Japan had become global power.

The world took notice. Class mobility and economic freedoms ushered in by ending the samurai led feudal system spurred Japan's furious growth. The Meiji government's plans had begun to bear fruit. Nitobe's Ulterior Motives Source: Okinawa Soba While the Meiji government plotted to strengthen Japan's presence on the world stage, Nitobe sought to change Westerners' perceptions of Japan from within.

At the time, Westerners knew little about the formerly isolated nation.

Bushido The Soul Of Japan 13th Edition

Rumors about Japan — a feudalistic society whose armies relied on swords and bows and arrows — painted the picture of an unsophisticated, archaic island nation. In From Chivalry to Terrorism Leo Braudy writes, "Before World War I, many in Europe viewed Japan as a warrior society unadulterated by either commerce or the control of civilian politicians, with it's aristocratic military class still intact" Nitobe put faith in the power of his pen and began to write.

By simplifying the most eloquent, ideal aspects of Japanese culture into terms the West could relate to, he hoped to paint a new, noble image of Japan. Writing in English only served to make Nitobe's contrivance more deliberate. Maria Navarro and Alison Beeby explain, The original text of Nitobe's book was written in English, which was not Nitobe's mother tongue… Writing in a foreign language obliges one to "filter" one's own emotions and modes of expression… It allows the writer to express more empathy for the 'other culture' in Nitobe's case Western culture.

Furthermore, one is much more conscious of what one wants to say, or what one wishes to avoid saying, in order to make the work more acceptable for intended readers. In Nitobe, "the self-described bridge between Japan and the West" published what would later become his most famous work, a romanticized, Westernized summation of the ideals of Japan's governing class, Bushido: The Soul of Japan Braudy Nitobe tames Japan's samurai class by fusing it with European chivalry and Christian morality.

Although it saw release years after the extinction of the samurai, Bushido: The Soul of Japan presents an original idealization and idolization of the samurai class. Yet Nitobe shapes the concept of bushido around principles of Western culture, not the other way around as might be expected.


Bushido: The Soul of Japan offers a suspicious lack of references to Japanese source material and historical fact. Instead, the student of English literature relies on Western works and personalities to explain the bushido's principals.

In his self-proclaimed formulation of The Soul of Japan, the devout Christian references the Western Bible more than any other sources.

Somehow Nitobe sees Bible quotes as appropriate and satisfactory support for bushido. Politeness, he quotes Corinthians , "suffereth long, and is kind; envieth not, vaunteth not itself" Bushido's benevolence, Nitobe explains, is "embodied by the Christian Red Cross movement, the medical treatment of a fallen foe Nitobe himself admits, "Some of those sayings reminds us of Christian expostulations, and show us how far in practical morality natural religion can approach the revealed" Nitobe even goes as far as to paint the samurai as Japan's heavenly sent forefathers, holy mechanisms that shaped Japan.

They were not only the flower of the nation, but its root as well. All the gracious gifts of Heaven flowed through them" Nitobe Giving Soul to Suicide and the Sword Source: Pixabay In his taming of the samurai, Nitobe even justifies their most savage attributes — seppuku also known as harakiri or ritual suicide and the sword — under the guise of Christian mores.

And it all starts with the soul. Nitobe declares that in both Western and Japanese custom, the soul is housed in the stomach.


This assertion allows Nitobe to exalt suicide to a holy act, "The highest estimate placed upon honor was ample excuse with many for taking one's own life," before challenging Western readers to resist his interpretation, "I dare say that many good Christians, if only they are honest enough, will confess the fascination of, if not positive admiration for, the sublime composure with which Cato, Brutus, Petronius, and a host of other ancient worthies terminated their own earthly existence.

The sword receives similar treatment and Nitobe declares swordsmiths to be artists, not artisans; swords not weapons, but representations of their owners' souls.

He explains: The very possession of the dangerous instrument imparts to him the samurai a feeling and air of self-respect and responsibility. What he carries in his belt is a symbol of what he carries in his mind and heart — loyalty and honor… In times of peace.. Nitobe's skilled manipulation dignifies and venerates even Japan's most "savage" customs.

The author's dedication to and knowledge of Christianity and Western culture allowed him to forge a propaganda tool under the guise of historic fact. Nitobe hoped Bushido: The Soul of Japan would change Western opinions of Japan, raising the country's status in the world's eyes. Nitobe's treatise so impressed Teddy Roosevelt that he "bought sixty copies to share with friends" Perez Although almost exclusively read by scholars, Nitobe's influence seeped into the Western conscious.EMAIL: acelebrationofwomen hotmail.

By doing so, you will be able to have a wider understanding of the things around you. Philosophy, Japanese. Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan.

Trust is something that could not be easily given to anyone. Nitobe put faith in the power of his pen and began to write. As a warrior, you have to perform different duties in order to protect the families that you are serving. So without Rectitude neither talent nor learning can make the human frame into a samurai.

In reality the term bushido went unrecognized until the early twentieth century, long after Nathan Algren's fictitious character joined the factual Satsuma Rebellion and years after the ousting of the samurai class. Nitobe was the first to document Japanese chivalry in this way.