InazoNitobe, Bushido: The Soul of Japan. A Classic Essay on Samurai Ethics. Bushido (武士道) is a Japanese term (direct translation: bu – Military; shi – Knight; Do – Ways), which loosely translated, means The Way of the Warrior. Historically, this was known as the Japanese warrior – Samurai code of conduct. Now, to most people, Samurai means a Japanese warrior. This is not entirely wrong, but it obscures the true nature of the Samurai. In Japanese, Samurai (侍) actually means“To Serve.” It is not a Way of Violence, but of Service.
However, it is not the only code of conduct to ever exist in history. There is the Chivalry Code Of Conduct that was once practiced by the knights of Europe, and also the Spartan Code of Honor – created by the famed indomitable warriors of ancient times whose codes included an actual law that made it illegal to retreat in battle. All of these codes have their own appeal but are not the subject of this book today.
The Way of The Samurai is quite well known compared to the many warrior codes out there, due to its practice of self-disembowelment (Seppuku)(切腹) and the belief that honor was more important than life. It has also received much attention in recent times due to its portrayal in Hollywood movies such as The Last Samurai, or 47 Ronin, with Bushido being the central theme of both movies.
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