bushido


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bushido

(bo͝osh`ĭdō, bo͞o`shĭdō) [Jap.,=way of the warrior], code of honor and conduct of the Japanese nobility. Of ancient origin, it grew out of the old feudal bond that required unwavering loyalty on the part of the vassal. It borrowed heavily from Zen Buddhism and Confucianism. In its fullest expression the code emphasized loyalty to one's superior, personal honor, and the virtues of austerity, self-sacrifice, and indifference to pain. For the warrior, commerce and the profit motive were to be scorned. The code was first formulated in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and put into writing in the 16th cent.; the term itself, however, did not come into use until the 17th cent. It became the standard of conduct for the daimyodaimyo
[Jap.,=great name], the great feudal landholders of Japan, the territorial barons as distinguished from the kuge, or court nobles. Great tax-free estates were built up from the 8th cent.
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 and samuraisamurai
, knights of feudal Japan, retainers of the daimyo. This aristocratic warrior class arose during the 12th-century wars between the Taira and Minamoto clans and was consolidated in the Tokugawa period.
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 under the Tokugawa shoguns and was taught in state schools as a prerequisite for government service. After the Meiji restoration (1868), it was the basis for the cult of emperor worship taught until 1945.

Bushido

 

the medieval code of conduct of the Japanese samurai. The code required fidelity to the feudal lord, recognition of war as the only activity worthy of a samurai, obligatory suicide (hara-kiri) in situations where the samurai’s “honor” was compromised, and contempt for the working classes. In imperialist Japan, bushido became a banner of chauvinism and was an integral part of Japanese racism and militarism.

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