Monday, November 19, 2012

Bushido, The Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe

The book can be divided into several parts which discuss the sources, application, and influence of Bushido. According to Nitobe, Bushido is a "code of moral principles which the samurai were required or instructed to observe." It is made up of maxims which are discussed thoroughly in the book.


Before proceeding to the discussion of the maxims, Nitobe cited the possible influences in the development of the codes. He then goes on to tell the reader of the maxims by citing examples and comparisons.

There is also a section on the education and training of the samurai, the samurai's sword, and the training and position of the samurai woman. The first two are just overviews and do not elaborate the training of the knights.

Finally, Nitobe contemplates the status of Bushido and its uses in the future.

The book is very easy to understand, however, Nitobe cites names and events that may not be familiar to the average reader. Still, his other examples will suffice. Although there have been plenty of movies and books describing the Japanese life, this book provides surprising insights about gestures and practices we often find insignificant when observing them.

This is not a book about the martial training of the samurai or the history of that institution. This presents the Japanese way of life and thinking that will be easily understood by readers through a comparison of its similarities and differences to Western thought and code of ethics.

Rating: 9 out of 10