What is bushido? Let’s make bushido useful for the modern world!

Hello everyone. This photo is of Shiden Hiryu, a “Shidenryu” instructor who runs a school for sword fighting in Japan.

When I think of Japan, I think of “Bushi” (warrior). Would “samurai” be a better way to put it? Unlike the common people, they were allowed to carry weapons at all times, capable of killing people, so how did they think and act?

This is also very important in understanding the Japanese way of thinking, the values, aesthetics, and I believe it is an idea that could lead to world peace.

“Bushido” is the way of thinking that defines how samurai live.

In this first part, I would like to consider how “Bushido,” the teachings that explain how a samurai should be, can be relevant in the modern world.

The 10 codes of conduct of a samurai

1 – Do not lie

2 – Do not be selfish

3 – Be courteous and polite

4 – Do not curry favor with those above you, but take care of those below you

5 – Do not speak ill of others

6 – Keep promises

7 – Do not abandon those in need

8 – Never do what you should not

9 – Learn to accept the inevitability of death

10 – Value honor

I think it is fair to say that these are ten codes that transcend any period and country and should be observed as a human being. In those times, the life of a samurai was such that one false move could cost a life or one’s own life.

For example, if you lie, cheat, or are disrespectful, the other party may say, “I’ve been dishonored!” and then slash you to death on the spot.

Or there is this possibility:

“He curries favor with those above him and looks down on others. I don’t trust him.”


If someone said something like that, it was common for the samurai to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) or challenge the other to a duel on the grounds that their honor had been tarnished.

No one wants that situation, so, we must always think this way:


“As a person and a samurai, I will speak and act righteously.”

Isn’t this also relevant today? For example, even if we take only one teaching, “Do not curry favor with those above you, but take care of those below you,” it is not good to complain, talk behind someone’s back, or be envious of others, now or in the past.

There are so many people who know this and yet talk behind their backs.

People who run companies, so-called leaders and top executives will know that it is common for people who worked under them or their students to become independent clients. Even knowing this, they can’t help ending up putting on airs. It is still necessary in this day and age to gain experience and improve as a human being.

For these reasons, Bushido is necessary even today. Although there is no such thing as a perfect human being, shouldn’t we learn from the spirit of Bushido, which is to “always strive to act like a true samurai”?



Shiden-style teacher: Shiden Hiryu

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