Bushido

bushido (bŏŏsh´Ĭdō, bōō´shĬdō) [Jap.,=way of the warrior], code of honor and conduct of the Japanese nobility. Of ancient origin, it grew out of the old feudal bond that required unwavering loyalty on the part of the vassal. It borrowed heavily from Zen Buddhism and Confucianism. In its fullest expression the code emphasized loyalty to one's superior, personal honor, and the virtues of austerity, self-sacrifice, and indifference to pain. For the warrior, commerce and the profit motive were to be scorned. The code was first formulated in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and put into writing in the 16th cent.; the term itself, however, did not come into use until the 17th cent. It became the standard of conduct for the daimyo and samurai under the Tokugawa shoguns and was taught in state schools as a prerequisite for government service. After the Meiji restoration (1868), it was the basis for the cult of emperor worship taught until 1945.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Heart of the Warrior: Origins and Religious Background of the Samurai System in Feudal Japan
Catharina Blomberg.
Japan Library, 1994
Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryu and Samurai Martial Culture
Karl F. Friday; Seki Humitake.
University of Hawaii Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "The Martial Path"
Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan
Karl F. Friday.
Routledge, 2004
Japanese Aesthetics and Culture: A Reader
Nancy G. Hume.
State University of New York Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Bushido: Mode or Ethic?"
History of Japanese Religion: With Special Reference to the Social and Moral Life of the Nation
Masaharu Anesaki.
Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1930
Librarian’s tip: "Bushido, Its Modification and Development" begins on p. 262
Nitobe Inazô: Japan's Bridge across the Pacific
John F. Howes.
Westview Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Bushido: Its Admirers and Critics" and Chap. 6 "Philippine Bushido"
Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II
Yuki Tanaka.
Westview Press, 1996 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "The Corruption of Bushido" begins on p. 206
Six Lives, Six Deaths: Portraits from Modern Japan
Robert Jay Lifton; Michael R. Reich; Suichi Kato.
Yale University Press, 1979
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of bushido begins on p. 37
An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values, and Issues
Peter Harvey.
Cambridge University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of bushido begins on p. 265
Japan: Some Phases of Her Problems and Development
Inazo Nitobé.
C. Scribner's Sons, 1931
Librarian’s tip: "Bushido the Precepts of Knighthood" begins on p. 351
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