Samurai and Bushido


The Way of the Samurai Warrior


The Bushidô ("bushi" means "warrior" and "do" "way"),the Honor Code of Samurai Warriors, raised the attention of many people since 2004, after the blockbuster The Last Samurai, depicting a character played by the multi awarded Tom Cruise in the role of an American war hero that witnessed a total twist in his own life from the day he started to be in touch with Samurais and the Bushidô. BUSHIDO (武士道; 武士 = Warrior, 道 = Way) : the “Way of the Warrior”, the Samurai Honor Code.

The Bushidô appeared and started to be consolidated within the proper history of the Samurai Class, during Heian and Tokugawa Periods. The main values defended in the Bushidô are Justice ( GI ), Braveness ( YUU ), Benevolence/Compassion ( JIN ), Respect/Solemnity ( REI ), Integrity/Sincerity ( MAKOTO ), Honor ( MEIYO ) and Duty/Loyalty ( CHUUGI ). It is self-evident that nowadays, when the practice of these values is so scarce, Bushidô started to call modern society attention. Timeless values of Bushidô bring a clear notion of right and wrong, adding true ideals to people’s day by day life.

The origins of Bushidô is directly tied with Buddhism, Shintoism and Confucianism. From Buddhism, the Bushidô inherited the braveness to face death perils and the material detachment for mundane questions. From the Confucianism came the loyalty to the Master, the relation with the society and family name reverence. Within Bushidô the general lines ruling the wide variety of interpersonal relations (like Master and Disciple; Senpai and Kouhai; father and son; older brother and younger brother; husband and wife) are all arising from Confucianism. Shintoism brought the respect before the environmental, nature and the property (land), the appreciation of essential things (rather than the perfunctory ones), the spiritual approach to interact with all sort of things and persons, including places and, of course, the sword and the ancillary gear used by Samurai (including the sacred parts of garment).

A Samurai would prefer to die instead of being dishonored. The shame of a dishonor would be recognized as a kind of spiritual scarce that reached Samurai’s entire family (including and mainly the deceased ancestors). Dishonor was a shame that no Samurai could borne.

Livros sobre Bushido

In the Shadow of Leaves - 葉隠.
This is one of the most remarkable masterpieces about Bushidô, the Hagakure or In the Shadow of Leaves (Hidden in the leaves or Hidden in the papers or sheets), by the author Yamamoto Tsunetomo, a Samurai from Saga County, from the 17th Century. The complete resignation before the phenomenon of death is clear in the introductory wording of Hagakure: “Bushido is realised in the presence of death. In the case of having to choose between life and death you should choose death. There is no other reasoning. Move on with determination” (according with the translation by William Scott Wilson). Kishikawa Sensei family and descendants are from Saga. He is one of the most recognized scholars in the subject and is also the founder of the Niten Institut.

Gorin No Sho

Gorin No Sho
The Book of Five Rings
The great Samurai Miyamoto Musashi Sensei (宮本 武蔵) (1584-1645), the inspiration for the entire Code carried by Niten Institut, wrote in his masterpiece, o the Book of Five Rings (Gorin No Sho - 五輪書): " Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death". This is a perfect briefing of all Samurai feelings before the Bushido values. The life has an unaccountable value, however there are great values informing the life with a proper meaning.

Bushido Nowadays

Two centuries after the end of Samurai Class, the Bushido is still alive in the Japanese culture. This is due to the fact that Japan, during nine Centuries (almost 1,000 years of tradition), put Bushidô on the base of all human relations.

After the end of II World War, the large damages suffered during the War was incredibly superseded within few decades. From a large defeat in the War, Japan spent 30 years working in order to became an international power. This recover was directly caused by a Bushidô spirit.

Despite these values in modern Japan are softened by early generations, there are places in Japan where Bushidô is still maintained and preserved in its original forms. These are the traditional Kobudo Dojôs.
In these Dojôs the Samurai Spirit still survives. There are people really dedicated, in this right 21st Century, to cultivate the symbolism of the warriors way of life to preserve honor and ethics to govern a nation.

The Bushidô at Niten Institut

Kishikawa Sensei uses Bushidô as his main topic to teach students to understand the Paths found in the Way of the Samurai, throughout common living and practicing among his disciples.