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What Is Bushido?


Photo of Tokugawa-era samurai in full armor

Samurai warrior in full gear, 1860s

Public domain due to age.

Bushido was the code of conduct followed by Japan's samurai warriors. The principles of bushido emphasized honor, courage, and loyalty to a warrior's master above all else.

The ideal samurai warrior was supposed to be immune from the fear of death. Only the fear of dishonor, and loyalty to his daimyo, motivated the true samurai.

If a samurai felt that he had lost his honor (or was about to lose it) according to the rules of bushido, he could regain his standing by committing a rather painful form of ritual suicide, called seppuku.

The word "bushido" comes from the Japanese roots bushi, meaning "warrior," and do, or "way."

Pronunciation: "BOO-she-doh" or "BOO-she-daw"

"The 47 Ronin of Japanese legend exemplify bushido, the way of the warrior."

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