Bushido: The Samurai Code of Japan is one of the most influential books ever written on "the way of the warrior." A classic study of Japanese culture, the book outlines the moral code of the Samurai way of living and the virtues every Samurai warrior holds dear.
There are seven precepts of Bushido: justice, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, and loyalty. Together, these seven values create a system of beliefs that is unique to Japanese philosophy and culture, and is still alive today. Inazō Nitobe, one of Japan's foremost scholars, thoroughly explores each of these values and explains how they differ from their Western counterparts. Until you understand the philosophy behind the ethics, you will never fully grasp what it meant to be a Samurai—what it meant to have Bushido.
In Bushido, Nitobe points out similarities between Western and Japanese history and culture. He argues that "no matter how different any two cultures may appear to be on the surface, they are still created by human beings, and as such have deep similarities." Nitobe believed that connecting Bushido with greater teachings could make an importantcontribution to all humanity—that the way of the Samurai is not something peculiarly Japanese, but of value to the entire human race. Bushido: The Samurai Code of Japan is an essential guide to the very essence of Samurai and Japanese cultures.
Nitobe himself was born in 1862, so he was eight years old when feudalism was abolished, and ten when the carrying of swords was forbidden. This not only gives Nitobe a unique perspective, but also means that when the book was written, many Japanese people would have remembered the feudal system. To them, it was not some foreign (or even barbaric) practice - it was their own culture. It was normal.So with this book, there is a strange mix of explanation and defence. Nowadays, it's shocking to read the story of an eight-year-old samurai boy being order to commit seppuku (ceremonial suicide by disembowelment) and actually doing it. But under bushido - and to Nitobe, who seems to have been of the samurai class himself, or close to it - the story emphasises the strength of devotion to duty, and courage, of even samurai children.
About the Author
Inazo Nitobe (1862-1933): agriculturalist, scholar, Quaker, philosopher, statesman, educator.Inazo Nitobe was educated at Sapporo Agricultural College, University of Tokyo, Johns Hopkins, and University of Halle (Germany). Early in his life he expressed the desire to be a "bridge over the Pacific" and he devoted much of his life to promoting trust and understanding between the United States and Japan.
This new 2018 revised edition of the standard English translation of Bushido updates some of the more archaic spelling and phraseology into modern American English.
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