Bushido – Japanese Philosophy
Bushido (literally Warriors Way) is a philosophical concept that is nowadays synonymous with Samurai but only really came about during the peaceful era of the Tokugawa regime in Japan. Bushido became the creed or code of the Samurai and supposedly instilled in them the 7 virtues – righteousness (or integrity), courage, benevolence, respect, sincerity, honor and above all loyalty to their Lords and the Tokugawa shogunate. Some Bushido writings also include an 8th virtue – self-control.
During the long period of peace that came about under the Tokugawa, Samurai became more preoccupied with ‘gentlemanly’ pursuits such as art and poetry. Incidentally this was also a period when many Ryu (Japanese Martial arts schools or styles) were perfected. Under the Code of Bushido a Samurai was expected to devote his life entirely to his Lord and master (as exemplified in Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s book Hagakure) and should he ever fail in a task or become shamed was expected to commit Seppuku also known as Hara Kiri (literally belly cutting).
It should be noted though that more emphasis was placed on the concept of Bushido in relatively recent times especially in Japanese plays and more recently still in Samurai movies than in the days when Samurai were actually active.
For other martial arts mental and spiritual concepts, please visit the section on Martial Arts Philosophy.
The Way of the Samurai
One Minute Bushido