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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Bushido \Bu"shi`do`\ (b[=oo]"sh[=e]`d[=o]`), n. [Jap. bu military + shi knight + d[=o] way, doctrine, principle.] The unwritten code of moral principles regulating the actions of the Japanese knighthood, or Samurai; the chivalry of Japan.

Unformulated, Bushido was and still is the animating spirit, the motor force of our country.
--Inazo Nitob['e].

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1898, from Japanese, said to mean literally "military-knight way."


n. An ethical code of the samurai that was prevalent in feudal Japan that advocated unquestioning loyalty to the master at all costs and obedience in all deeds, valuing honor above life.


literally meaning "the way of the warrior", is a Japanese a phrase for the way of the samurai life, loosely analogous to the concept of chivalry in Europe. Just as the knights in Europe the samurai had a code to live by that was also based in a moral way of life.

The "way" itself originates from the samurai moral values, most commonly stressing some combination of frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and honor until death. Born from Neo-Confucianism during times of peace in Tokugawa Japan and following Confucian texts, Bushido was also influenced by Shinto and Zen Buddhism, allowing the violent existence of the samurai to be tempered by wisdom and serenity. Bushidō developed between the 16th and 20th centuries, debated by pundits who believed they were building on a legacy dating back to the 10th century, although some scholars have noted that the term bushidō itself is "rarely attested in premodern literature".

Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, some aspects of warrior values became formalized into Japanese feudal law.

The word was first used in Japan during the 17th century in Kōyō Gunkan. It came into common usage in Japan and the West after the 1899 publication of Nitobe Inazō's Bushido: The Soul of Japan.

In Bushido (1899), Nitobe wrote:

[…] Bushidō, then, is the code of moral principles which the samurai were required or instructed to observe […] More frequently it is a code unuttered and unwritten […] It was an organic growth of decades and centuries of military career. In order to become a samurai this code has to be mastered.

Nitobe was not the first to document Japanese chivalry in this way. In Feudal and Modern Japan (1896), historian Arthur May Knapp wrote: "The samurai of thirty years ago had behind him a thousand years of training in the law of honor, obedience, duty, and self-sacrifice.... It was not needed to create or establish them. As a child he had but to be instructed, as indeed he was from his earliest years, in the etiquette of self-immolation."

Bushido (disambiguation)

Bushido or Bushidō is the code of honour of the samurai of feudal Japan.

Bushido may also refer to:

Bushido (rapper)

Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi (born 28 September 1978), better known as Bushido, is a German rapper. The word " bushido" is Japanese and means "Way of the Warrior". He also uses the pseudonym Sonny Black, based on Dominic Napolitano. As of 2009, he sold more than 1.5 million albums in Germany alone. He is the owner of the record label ersguterjunge and entrepreneur in the real estate industry.

Bushido (comics)

Bushido is a fictional character, a DC Comics superhero who was a short-lived member of the Teen Titans. The character debuted in Titans Annual #1 (2000).

Bushido (role-playing game)

Bushido is a Samurai role-playing game set in Feudal Japan, originally designed by Robert N. Charrette and Paul R. Hume and published originally by Tyr Games then Phoenix Games and subsequently by Fantasy Games Unlimited. The setting for the game is a land called Nippon and characters adventure in this heroic, mythic and fantastic analogue of Japan's past. It was the first non-Western game besides Empire of the Petal Throne. It is thematically based on Chanbara movies, such as those made by Akira Kurosawa, in which the heroes are modestly superhuman but not extraordinarily so.

Bushido (game)

Bushido: Der Weg des Kriegers, translated to Bushido: Way Of The Warrior is a game based in feudal Japan where competing Daimyos aim to gain enough honor to become the next Emperor of Japan. Played between three and five people, these competing Daimyos attempt to gain 50 Daimyo honor through territorial conquest, samurai honor, or a surplus of combat katanas. During play, the current Daimyo assigns role cards to the other players which last until the end of the current Daimyo's turn. These role cards are: Samurai who will lead the Daimyo's forces into combat, Bushi who will be defending their territory, Sensei who will be providing council and utilizing effects, and (only in 5 player games) Hatamoto who has the option to lead a revolt against the Daimyo. The players have 12 months to reach 50 Daimyo honor, although this time may be extended by effects.

Usage examples of "bushido".

In Bushido, the life of one lone samurai mattered less than the capture of a murderer and traitor.

Anson Sternway Shorin-Ryu Bushido and the IAMA the best space and the best deal in North America.

The lesson was one of the many aspects of Bushido that his father had taught him in childhood, indoctrinating him with this philosophy, which had evolved over the course of six hundred years.

He spent his excess time and energy on the one avenue of Bushido open to him: martial arts training for a war that might not come in his lifetime.

Yet Bushido demanded from a samurai unstinting, uncomplaining service to his lord.

Still, he must walk it as he tried to fulfill both promises to his father-exemplifying Bushido and performing a heroic deed-virtually alone, in the face of obstacles that now included a new and powerful enemy.

Sano said, feeling the horror that this transgression of Bushido always inspired in him.

While his own adherence to Bushido seemed likely to ruin him, the chamberlain, by defying its tenets, had risen to a position of unchallenged power.

Having failed in his duty to his father and his lord, Sano knew that Bushido demanded he die, allowing his disgrace to perish with him.

Although Bushido forbade Sano to contradict his lord, he had to amend this bizarre distortion of the facts.

As men of the daimyo clans studied art and music with their imperial in-laws, so might nobles practice Bushido under the direction of samurai relatives.

Knights of the Bushido of the Order of the Rising Sun, they never executed people at sundown, only at sunrise.

I have executed Chamberlain Yanagisawa, and committed seppuku not only to avoid capture and disgrace, but to pledge my eternal loyalty to your person, and to honor a promise to my father that I make of myself the living embodiment of Bushido.

A few years ago the growing shishi movement had formed themselves into small, secret cells, committing themselves to rediscover bushido-- ancient samurai practices of self-discipline, duty, honor, death, swordsmanship and other warlike pursuits, arts long since lost--except for a few Sensei who had kept bushido alive.

What about all the minute aspects of Japanese life that set us apart from everyone else: the complexity of the tea ceremony, the arts of ukiyo-e, ikebana, haiku, the concepts of honor, filial duty, bushido, giri.