Bushido, the Samurai Way

Bushido is a code of conduct that emerged in Japan from the Samurai, or Japanese warriors, who spread their ideals throughout society. They drew inspiration from Confucianism, which is a relatively conservative philosophy and system of beliefs that places a great deal of importance on loyalty and duty. The Bushido code contains seven key principles or virtues that warriors were expected to uphold.

The top kanji character “BU” translates to warrior; military; chivalry; arms. The middle kanji character “SHI” is gentleman; scholar; samurai. The lower kanji character is “DO(U)” meaning the road-way; street; district; journey; course; moral; teachings.

The seven virtues of the code, often have an eighth virtue added that includes self-control, due to the book Bushido written by the scholar Inazo Nitobe who now by the way, adorns the 5,000 yen note in Japan.

** (GI) Justice; righteousness; morality; honor; loyalty

Justice is a core value of the Samurai. Incorporating the Bushido principle of justice into your life requires reflecting on what is fair and upholding the value of upstanding moral character.

** (YUU) Courage; cheer up; be in high spirits; bravery; heroism

Courage, like justice, entails deciphering what is right and wrong. Courage requires the strength not only to perceive but also to act.

** (JIN) Compassion; humanity; virtue; benevolence; charity

Compassion is the ability to manifest love and sympathy through patience. It also requires attempting to see the world from the perspective of another. This is an especially important trait for those in a leadership role.

** (REI) Respect; salute; bow; ceremony; thanks; remuneration

Respect means that you acknowledge your regard for the experiences and feelings of others. In order to collaborate with another person, politeness must be employed.

** (MAKOTO) Integrity; sincerity; admonish; warn; truth; fidelity

In order to practice many of the other principles listed, one has to maintain integrity. This mean living honestly and sincerely.

*名誉* (MEI YO) Honor; credit; prestige

Samurai were warriors who upheld a sense of self worth and lived by the highest code of conduct. In order to abide by the principle of honor, you must acknowledge your moral responsibilities.

*忠誠* (CHU SEI) Loyalty; sincerity; allegiance; fidelity; integrity

First, stay true to yourself. When fealty is given to another, this must not be abandoned even under difficult circumstances.

*自制* (JI SEI) Self control; self restraint

Self-control in the Bushido code means adhering to this code under all circumstances, when with others and when alone.

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