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14: Bushi-do of Inazo Nitobe (2)【Kusahara Katsuhide, Chairman of JKA 】

14: Bushi-do of Inazo Nitobe (2)【Kusahara Katsuhide, Chairman of JKA 】

14: Bushi-do of Inazo Nitobe (2)【Kusahara Katsuhide, Chairman of JKA 】

The book Bushido also explains honor and loyalty.

Honor is the recognition of excellence, an idea expressed in words such as “name, ” ” face, ” and ” reputation. ” It was considered the greatest disgrace for a samurai to have his honor tarnished. In other words, what supported the samurai‘s sense of morality was the sense of honor derived from proper conduct and shame from conduct contrary to it. It is a spirit that seeks honor and regards dishonor as the greatest shame. Thus, the sense of honor was one of the first virtues taught from an early age.

From this, it is fair to say that the fundamental principle of bushido is “to value name and to know shame.” This is why many young men and women pursued success in life and endured all kinds of severe trials to gain honor. According to Nitobe, the greatest motivation for the Japanese to achieve the Meiji Restoration was “a sense of honor that could not tolerate being looked down upon as an inferior nation.”

Loyalty can be paraphrased as fidelity. In essence, it is to serve the lord and to give one’s life for him. Those who did so would be highly esteemed as loyal subjects even in later generations. The 47 Ronin of Ako in Chushingura (English title: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers) is a classic example.

One could say that fidelity is the most crucial virtue in bushido. In a modern nation, an allegiance to one’s country is expected. This defines patriotism.

Along with loyalty, filial piety is one of the most important virtues. In Confucianism, filial piety, signifying obedience to one’s parents, was considered the most important. Filial piety is also a virtue based on the doctrine of ancestor worship in Shintoism and is one of the most important virtues for the Japanese. Of course, filial piety was also considered an essential virtue for the samurai. However, as a virtue of bushido, loyalty was ranked higher than filial piety. In modern terms, this means that the public took precedence over the private.

Although there is no separate chapter on wisdom in Bushido, Chapter 10, “Education and Training of the Samurai,” discusses the importance of wisdom in terms of education.

The primary emphasis in the education of the samurai was the development of character. Intellectual abilities such as discretion, knowledge, and eloquence received less emphasis.

The three pillars supporting the framework of bushido were “wisdom, benevolence, and valor,” and the genuine “wisdom” necessary for a samurai was not mere knowledge. In other words, knowledge was not considered valuable but a means to acquire sagacity in practice.

The role of the teacher is critical in enhancing one’s character. Nitobe describes the role of the teacher as follows:
“When chatacter and not intelligence, when the soul and not the head, is chosen by a teacher for the material to work upon and to develop, his vocation partakes of a sacred character. ‘It is the parent who has borne me: it is the teacher who makes me man.’ With this idea, therefore, the esteem in which one’s precepter was held was very high. A man to evoke such confidence and respect from the young, must necessarily be endowed with superior personality, without lacking erudition. ”

Nitobe put his ideal image of a teacher into practice in the real world. By doing so, he became an educator trusted and respected by many young people and women, not only at the Agricultural College of Sapporo and The First High School but also in various educational fields, including out-of-school education.

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