When the average American hears the term "Bushido", visions of sword
swinging samurai warriors often come to mind.Literary works, as well as
the media has shown us many elements of the Bushido code such as
honor, justice, loyalty, and bravery which have greatly impacted Japan.
Bushido is the moral code that has provided Japan with a national
identity and work ethic that has guided them through bloody civil wars,
Mongol invasions, a world war, and nuclear devastation (Rockett, page 1).
In short, if a choice is given between life and death, the samurai must
choose death (handout, page 17). The code is very similar to the code of
chivalry extolled during the middle ages, and has provided the Japanese
people with a noble tradition of honor.Just as Europe had its knights and
pladins, Japan had its samurai warriors to champion the Bushido Code.
The Japanese word "bushi" means warrior, and is the root word
found in "bushido". (Rockette, page 2).Together, the complete term
"bushido" means "way of the warrior". (handout, page 17). "Samurai
means "those who serve".The bushi and samurai were very different.
The bushi were simple warriors, the title of saurai implied that you were
sworn to serve a powerful landowner, clan, or daimyo- a Japanese feudal
Bushido a blend of two value systems. Thefirst of these periods was
the Kamakura period. During the Kamarkura period from 1185 to 1333,
clan warfare caused the samurai to develop a system of warfare that
glorified courage in battle, honor, obedience, and loyalty to superior
officers. (Encyclopedia Americana, page 43).The rules of combat were
clearly outlined and often became ritualistic in nature.Blood feuds, duels,
and Hari-kiri were all trappings associated with this era. (Rockett, page
The second of these two periods was the Tokugawa period from 1603 to