The Bushido - What exactly was the Bushido and how did the...

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What exactly was the Bushido and how did the Samurai devote themselves to it fully? The year 729CE marked the beginning of the Heian period in Japan. Japan’s central government began to lose control when local aristocrats no longer paid taxes due to their “tax exempt farmland called shoen ” (Duiker 303). Heian’s decreasing power called for the local aristocrats to develop a new way of defending their land and assets. Soon a group of warriors known as the Samurai would come forward who’s function was to “protect the security and property of their patron” (Duiker 303). The Samurai began as personal guards to rich aristocrats but rapidly became a force that would soon become arguably as powerful as the Japanese government. As warriors, the Samurai lived “by a strict warrior code known in Japan as the Bushido , or ‘way of the warrior’” (Duiker 304). The Samurai warriors who followed Bushido mastered it in every form possible. The western term ‘chivalry’ refers to virtues of medieval knighthood. Virtues such as honor, honesty, patience, and other related attributes were expected if one was to be considered a knight. Bushido was essentially a Japanese version of chivalry which served as an ethical system that Samurai warriors were expected to follow. There is no known set of ‘rules’ for Bushido. Instead, it had been passed down orally through Japan’s vast history. Professor Inazo Nitobe of the University of Kyoto in Japan describes the emergence of Bushido as “an organic growth of decades and centuries of military career” (5). It is known
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that Bushido came forward during feudal Japan, but its roots dig deep farther into history creating a warrior code unlike any other. Samurai literally means “knight” and from Bushido comes Bushi which literally means “fighting knights” (Nitobe 7). Nitobe describes the upbringing of the Samurai as very rough. Constant warfare allowed the selection process to continue while the weak were sorted out naturally. A life of privileges and responsibility demanded a widespread standard of which included seven virtues. Those virtues were rectitude, courage, benevolence, respect, honesty, honor, and loyalty. (
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The Bushido - What exactly was the Bushido and how did the...

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