The Seven Virtues of Bushido
The Way of the Samurai
Bushido was developed between the tenth to fourteenth centuries in Japan and spread through the warrior class. It was a code of conduct that during the time was unwritten passed down from generation to the next. The Bushido code has seven main virtues whose roots come from “Confucius” and “Zen Buddhism.” These seven virtues are known as Gi, Yu, Jin, Rei, Makoto, Meiyo, and Chugi. In Inazo Nitobe’s book “Bushido: The Soul of Japan he describes it as such: “Bushido, then, is the code of moral principles which the samurai were required or instructed to observe. More frequently it is a code unuttered and unwritten. It was an organic growth of decades and centuries of military career. These codes were held in the highest regard and the samurai were held in the same. They were revered for they were honor bound and it was this honor developed by the codes of conduct that made them into a military force that would last centuries.
The first of the seven main virtues is “Gi” (Rectitude) or better known as morality and integrity. In Inazo’s book, morality is defined in two ways: as the power of unwavering decision upon a certain course of conduct and the bone that gives firmness and stature. This gives the samurai the power to decide what course of conduct to take in accordance to reasoning without wavering. To die when it is time to die or to strike when it is time to strike. When a samurai makes the “moral” decision it is decided and action will take course. This concept is of “rectitude” is to make an honorable decision and suffer the consequences of the act.
The second of the virtues is “Yu” (Courage) or known as bravery and valor. Courage is an extension of the “Gi” and is only useful when it is matched with correct morals. When the samurai are faced with a certain situation they are able to act courageous because of their integrity and moral code which is unwavering. They are able to confront fear and...
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