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Bushido Values in Bushido


Does superstition play a part in Bushido? In a sense, any tradition is a superstition. Does any belief survive? Because that is the literal meaning of superstition.

Does any form of Bushido persist in modern Japanese society or is it all historical? Actually, yes. It doesn’t exist unmodified, but it is how the “do” disciplines got started. To preserve the ways, practices and the benefits if used only in a civic fashion like judo, aikido and tai kwon do in Korea.

Does it translate in any way to how the Japanese conduct business regarding honourable behaviour, etc? It does indeed. It was a body of values that very much shaped their culture like chivalry shaped the west. So they seek to use the old teachings to cultivate similar dedication. “Spirit.”

A Samurai had to be trained in etiquette. A farmer could ignore it as it was just seen that they needed to do their job, respect the law, and that was about it. But a Samurai without courtesy was just an idiot. Potentially provoking armed conflict and harm to everyone so it was not acceptable. You could be challenged even by a member of your own house, and with the Daimyos acceptance the duel could be to the death for failure to observe etiquette.

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Making jokes about someone’s mother could be suicide? Yes, very literally. This is why they said the family name first, and if you behaved shamefully it was seen as you came from that house. You were the product of their teaching so if you were dishonourable perhaps the whole house couldn’t be trusted. This could have your wife unable to buy and sell, and your children go hungry and be rejected for training. This is why they had the tradition of Sepuku. It was considered the proper way to show deep remorse and to excuse the other members of your family, because death is more acceptable than failure.

Sepuku? Hara-kiri. Death by self disembowelment to atone.

Was there a way to get your slate wiped clean or was the dishonour there forever? If the shameful one performed hara-kiri no other member of the family would be held responsible. But this was based on the judgment of your Lord. If the Daimyo said you were not to perform hara-kiri, then defying that would gain nothing, but by the Lords decree your family would not be shunned also. Often a Samurai would beg for hara-kiri.

Would the shunning still stand? No. If the Daimyo said you would not hara-kiri, then the order would be restored and your family would have to be honoured.

Why would they beg for hiri-kiri then? Sense of shame and the memory of their failure would still exist. So subtle social jabs would still happen. Humiliated to death and hara-kiri would be considered honourable release from that. You could even ask for one of those who had spoken ill of you to be involved, because you needed an attendant to end your suffering when the Daimyo said it was enough.

No wonder even today there are people who would rather die than be wrong? Perhaps a past life. The Samurai did believe in reincarnation.

Is it fair to say they had little disorder? They had very little disorder during their feudal era. This is part of why the “modern” era seems like such a culture shock for them.

Hasn’t suicide been a common practice for many businessmen in Europe during the 19th century who faced a bankruptcy, so it’s not all cultural maybe? It isn’t all cultural, no. They get sort of lost. Even their upbringing, their grandparents, etc, doesn’t really equip them well for the modern and very much non-meditative world. It does give them a sense of right and wrong which makes them see much of the modern world as all wrong. It must be a very demoralizing experience for them.

Basically it was saying, “I have completely blown this life due to one error.” I can see how there would be order, but I see how it could be abused. It can be and is. So are they psychotic because they embrace those values? I would say no.

So many see killing yourself as selfish and then some see it as being honourable. Even in modern Japan they see suicide as selfish, because they still favour a “communal” style of life by comparison to westerners. So committing suicide now is like saying, “Family, I will not help you.” “Family, I will give you trauma instead.” So even their culture does not glorify suicide. Their paradigm is just different. They put blood type on the level of astrological sign if not higher, and if I have my type correct, their dominate type as a culture is A.

The hara-kiri “ritual” suicide seems to be some kind of a feature of a patriarchal system. The higher the position of the man among his family, the more fragile it becomes and the more unable you are to repair damage? They were a patriarchal society. They are no longer officially, but as a society emotionally they still are.  So is Western society and whether this is wise or not might be fuzzy, but it is still basically true.

Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.

Travis Saunders
Dragon Intuitive


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Your Insight on “Bushido Values”

  1. Bill

    Interesting read and alot to digest. I happen to have great interest in the topic. First before I persist, may I point out something in the second question “Does bushido still exist in modern Japan”. You mentioned tae kwondo. Thats korean. The 2 martial arts that symbolize bushido most is Judo and Kendo. Those two usually come under “budo” as one association in most countries. Japanese police, who in many ways represent the samurai of modern times, all practise one of the 2 budo arts in great deal as part of their character training.

    In regards to the actual question, “does bushido still exist in modern Japan today”. Yes of course. In many ways and forms. Bushido plays a significant role in Japan business and political system. Many of the ways of conducting everyday life, whether in work place or at home, carries long traditions from the samurai era. Long held traditions, virtues and characteristics that stemmed from samurai ruling over so many hundreds of years.

    Much of the martial traditions of the samurai, i.e wearing of the sword, was overhauled during the meiji revolution. And correctly so imo as the time and the world was changing. But the spiritual aspects of the samurai stilled carried itself into modern day Japan. Much of the WWII was evoked by the governement manipulating political agenda, and after the American atom bombs, Japan’s ability to recover so well owes much of its credit to the samurai spirit. They understand that they are a small island with few natural resources, and in order to survive and hold their own as a nation, they must unit and fight together for a better tomorrow. This is effectively modern day samurai spirit.

    But of course, with the world changing so much today, Japan is once again evolving. The new generation of Japanese children are too engaged in television and video games than think hard and deep about the bushido virtues which droves their parents generation and that of their parents. But that is society today. History becomes history and people move on. Regardless of significant a part a particular culture was in a countries’ history, with enough time, those cultures, traditions and historical belief wears down

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