Origins Of Japanese Culture: The Virtues Of Bushido

Having it’s tradition and customs attentively cared for and passed down through the ages, Japan has developed a rich and unique culture. As a result, knowledge flows seamlessly from old to young generations, and the cycle continues into the future.

Among these notable depictions of Japanese culture are the Samurai and the Bushido Code. Let’s discuss each of them in detail.

What Are Samurai?

The Samurai were a dedicated group of warriors who followed a strict, detailed code of conduct called The Bushido Code. Initially, Samurai were solely meant to defend their lord and his territory. But, then the code began to evolve and change over time to cover more complex life decisions.

Samurai warriors played an essential role in Japanese society until the end of the 19th century when the Meiji Restoration ended their long history. Nowadays, the Samurai still remains as one of the most fascinating examples of Japanese culture.

Bushido Code: The Principles Of The Samurai

Bushidō, or the “Way of the Warrior,” is the code of noble behavior for Japanese Samurai. This set of rules dictated every aspect of their life to live as faithful, loyal men.

The Bushido Code instructed the Samurai on what to do in times of war or combat and how to live during times of peace. Since origins of the Samurai class are in feudal Japan, the Bushido Code guided the Samurai on the path of righteousness till death.

Today, this noble, highly disciplined code greatly influences numerous aspects of modern Japanese society and other parts of the world.

Principles Of The Bushido Code

The primary samurai code consists of 7 principles that have shaped the lives of the Samurai for centuries.

  • (Gi) Justice or Righteousness: Justice is the most important virtue for the Samurai. An authentic samurai does not attack the enemy without reason.
  • (Jin) Benevolence or Sympathy: The Samurai should be emphatic and understand other people’s perspectives.
  • (Yu) Courage: Courage is more than just bravery in battle. It’s about doing the right thing – to face ugly truths and realities.
  • (Rei) Respect: Respect or politeness implies good manners and regard for the feelings of others.
  • (Makoto) Honesty: Honesty suggests that Samurai have to be true to their word.
  • (Chugi) Loyalty: A warrior is responsible for his words and actions. And infinitely loyal to their loved ones.
  • (Meiyo) Honor: A true warrior honors his decision as decisions are a reflection of who they are.

The seven virtues of Bushido are meant to lead to better physical performance, increased self-discipline, and a higher code of ethics.

Bushido Code And The Modern World

Despite the disappearance of the Samurai, the bushido code hasn’t lost its importance. It’s still considered a source of knowledge and a guideline for behavior in Japanese culture.

Even today, these guiding principles affect how many Japanese people behave and interact with the world to compete and strive for success.


Just as the principles of Bushido are intended to lead to improved physical performance, enhanced self-discipline, and maintaining a set of principles, we, too, have a duty to practice these virtues ourselves.

Apart from learning about Japan’s history, other aspects of the Japanese language are worth exploring, such as Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. If you wish to explore them, now’s the time to connect with Oku Sensei’s Japanese and enroll in a Japanese semester course of your liking.

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