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© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Bushido: Selected full-text books and articles

Japanese Aesthetics and Culture: A Reader By 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 By 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 By John F. Howes Westview Press, 1995
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "Bushido: Its Admirers and Critics" and Chap. 6 "Philippine Bushido"
Six Lives, Six Deaths: Portraits from Modern Japan By Suichi Kato; Robert Jay Lifton; Michael R. Reich Yale University Press, 1979
Librarian's tip: Discussion of bushido begins on p. 37
An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values, and Issues By Peter Harvey Cambridge University Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: Discussion of bushido begins on p. 265
Japan: Some Phases of Her Problems and Development By Inazo Nitobé C. Scribner's Sons, 1931
Librarian's tip: "Bushido the Precepts of Knighthood" begins on p. 351
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.