Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bushido The Soul of Japan By Inazo Nitobe

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Bushido: The Soul of Japan written by Inazo Nitobe is, along with the classic text Hagakure by Tsunetomo Yamamoto (1659-1719), a study of the way of the samurai. A best-seller in its day, it was read by many influential foreigners, among them President Theodore Roosevelt, President John F. Kennedy and Robert Baden-Powell. It may well have shaped Baden-Powell's ideas on the Boy Scout movement he founded.

Nitobe originally wrote Bushido: The Soul of Japan in English (1900), in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

As Japan underwent deep transformations of its traditional lifestyle while forging into a modern nation, Nitobe engaged in an inquiry into the ethos of his nation, and the result of his meditations was this seminal work. A fine stylist in English, he wrote many books in that language, which earned him a place among the best known Japanese writers of his age.

He found in Bushido, the Way of the Warrior, the sources of the virtues most admired by his people: rectitude, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty and self-control. His approach to his task was eclectic and far-reaching.

He also delved into the other indigenous traditions of Japan, such as Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism and the moral guidelines handed down over hundreds of years by Japan's samurai and sages. In addition, he sought similarities and contrasts by citing not only Western philosophers and statesmen, but also the shapers of European and American thought and civilization going back to the Romans, the Greeks and Biblical[citation needed] times. He found a close resemblance between the samurai ethos of what he called Bushido and the spirit of medieval chivalry and the ethos of ancient Greece, as we observe it in books like the Iliad of Homer.


Bushido as an Ethical System

Sources of Bushido

Rectitude or Justice

Courage, the Spirit of Daring and Bearing

Benevolence, the Feeling of Distress


Veracity or Truthfulness


The Duty of Loyalty

Education and Training of a Samurai


The Institutions of Suicide and Redress

The Sword, the Soul of the Samurai

The Training and Position of Woman

The Influence of Bushido

Is Bushido Still Alive?

The Future of Bushido

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