Bushido Code

A text referred to as the “Bushido Code” exists on the Web for a long time now. I never found out who wrote it, or where it came from. I suspect I never will. Rumor has it that it is inspired on the book Bushido. The Soul of Japan by Nitobe Inazo. It has meant a lot to me throughout the years as a guide to character. May these words inspire you to contemplate yourself, your actions, behaviors, your speech.

Gi: Honesty & Justice

Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in Justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true Samurai, there are no shades of gray in the question of Honesty and Justice.

There is only right and wrong.

Rei: Polite Courtesy

Samurai have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. A Samurai is courteous even to his enemies. Without this outward show of respect, we are nothing more than animals.

A Samurai is not only respected for his strength in battle, but also by his dealing with other men.

The true strength of a Samurai becomes apparent during difficult times.

Yū: Heroic Courage

Rise above the masses of people who are afraid to act. Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A Samurai must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is dangerous. It is living life completely, fully, wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind! It is intelligent and strong.

Meiyo: Honor

A true Samurai has only one judge of honor, and this is himself. Decisions you make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of whom you truly are.

You cannot hide from yourself.

Jin: Compassion

Through intense training the Samurai becomes quick and strong. He is not as other men. He develops a power that must be used for the good of all. He has compassion. He helps his fellow man at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, he goes out of his way to find one.

Makoto: Complete Sincerity

When a Samurai has said he will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop him from completing what he has said he will do. He does not have to “give his word.” He does not have to “promise.”

Speaking and doing are the same action.

Chūgi: Duty and Loyalty

For the Samurai, having done some “thing” or said some “thing,” he knows he owns that “thing.” He is responsible for it, and all the consequences that follow. A Samurai is immensely loyal to those in this care. To those he is responsible for, he remains fiercely true.