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Bushido, the Soul of Japan

Inazo Nitobe

Book Overview: 

Bushido: The Soul of Japan written by Inazo Nitobe was one of the first books on samurai ethics that was originally written in English for a Western audience, and has been subsequently translated into many other languages (also Japanese). Nitobe found in Bushido, the Way of the Warrior, the sources of the virtues most admired by his people: rectitude, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty and self-control, and he uses his deep knowledge of Western culture to draw comparisons with Medieval Chivalry, Philosophy, and Christianity.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ir reading exercises, walking to their teacher with bare feet in the cold of winter; they frequently—once or twice a month, as on the festival of a god of learning,—came together in small groups and passed the night without sleep, in reading aloud by turns. Pilgrimages to all sorts of uncanny places—to execution grounds, to graveyards, to houses reputed to be haunted, were favorite pastimes of the young. In the days when decapitation was public, not only were small boys sent to witness the ghastly scene, but they were made to visit alone the place in the darkness of night and there to leave a mark of their visit on the trunkless head.

Does this ultra-Spartan system of "drilling the nerves" strike the modern pedagogist with horror and doubt—doubt whether the tendency would not be brutalizing, nipping in the bud the tender emotions of the heart? Let us see what other concepts Bushido had of Valor.

The spiritual aspect of . . . Read More

Community Reviews

It's not often I read non-fiction, and this was undeniably dry; but I'm glad I stuck with it. Being half-Japanese and having studied Japanese language and literature, having lived in Japan and with Japanese people, I've accumulated a slew of images and memories of quirks, anomalies, mannerisms an...more

I wish all philosophy books were more like this! Engaging and beautifully written, BUSHIDO is an insider's look into the foundational beliefs and customs of one of the most mysterious (to Westerners) cultures on the planet. After reading this, you'll definitely have a much better understanding an...more

What an interesting little book! As many of my Goodreads friends know, I have a keen interest in Japan, although I've never really read into its' history or the philosophical foundations on which it developed, at least to be what it was prior to significant Western influence.

The author makes a gr...more

It was a very interesting book, I really enjoyed exploring the samurai ways of living, I highly recommend it .

Nitobe specifically wrote this book in 1900 to comparatively explain bushido to an occidental audience. He wrote it in English, later translated into Japanese, and he breaks down the tenets of bushido or the ways of the warrior, bushi (warrior) and do (way) and placed them within the historical c...more

This is an enjoyable and enlightening read provided you don't go into it expecting it to be a detailed historical study of Bushido as we would expect to see today. Written at the turn of the century, Inazo Nitobe's book is very much a product of its time and tells the modern reader almost as much...more

I recommend this book to all who want to understand the character of the Japanese people. The author was the best known author in the west in his time. He melds the phylosophies of the east with the phylosophies of the west going back to the Romans and the Greeks.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Diamond

When men's fowls and dogs are lost, they know to seek for them again, but they lose their mind and do not know to seek for it.

If the author of this book on the way of the Samurai had stopped two-thirds of the way through, I would be writing a five star review. The last third dealt with women and...more

A book written by a Westernized Japanese scholar,to answer Westerners' questions about the Japanese mentality and Bushido. So the book doesn't feel Japanese at all, you will find historical comparisons between the Chivalry of Europe and the Bushido of Japan. You will find many examples from the E...more

I read this book as i have a general fascination with japan and its sense of morals and values. This book was immeasurably helpful when it comes to giving an insight into where their beliefs came from and the thinking behind it. This book contains many quotes from priests and scrolls which give a...more

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