Bushido - Inazo Nitobe - E-Book

Bushido E-Book

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Bushido, often translated as Way of the Warrior, came from the Samurai way of life and moral code. It emphasized loyalty, skill, moderation and honor, and became a widespread influence throughout Japan. In Shogakukan Kokugo Daijiten, the Japanese dictionary, "Bushido is defined as a unique philosophy (ronri) that spread through the warrior class from the Muromachi (chusei) period." Nitobe Inazo, in his book Bushido: The Soul of Japan, described it in this way. "...Bushido, then, is the code of moral principles which the samurai were required or instructed to observe...More frequently it is a code unuttered and unwritten...It was an organic growth of decades and centuries of military career."

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Bushido

Inazo Nitobe

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PREFACE

About ten years ago, while spending a few days under the hospitable roof of the distinguished Belgian jurist, the lamented M. de Laveleye, our conversation turned, during one of our rambles, to the subject of religion. "Do you mean to say," asked the venerable professor, "that you have no religious instruction in your schools?" On my replying in the negative he suddenly halted in astonishment, and in a voice which I shall not easily forget, he repeated "No religion! How do you impart moral education?" The question stunned me at the time. I could give no ready answer, for the moral precepts I learned in my childhood days, were not given in schools; and not until I began to analyze the different elements that formed my notions of right and wrong, did I find that it was Bushido that breathed them into my nostrils.

The direct inception of this little book is due to the frequent queries put by my wife as to the reasons why such and such ideas and customs prevail in Japan.

In my attempts to give satisfactory replies to M. de Laveleye and to my wife, I found that without understanding Feudalism and Bushido,[1] the moral ideas of present Japan are a sealed volume.

[1]

Pronounced Boó-shee-doh'. In putting Japanese words and names into English, Hepburn's rule is followed, that the vowels should be used as in European languages, and the consonants as in English.

Taking advantage of enforced idleness on account of long illness, I put down in the order now presented to the public some of the answers given in our household conversation. They consist mainly of what I was taught and told in my youthful days, when Feudalism was still in force.