Friday, February 04, 2005


Just over three hundred years ago on this day, the 46 Ronin committed suicide.

The tale of the Forty-Seven Ronin is a prototypical Japanese story. It is described by one noted Japan scholar as the country's "national legend"

It recounts the most famous case involving the samurai code of honor, bushido, and vividly expresses a significant part of the traditional Japanese world-view.

The story tells of a group of samurai who were left leaderless (thus they became ronin) after their master was forced to commit ritual suicide or seppuku for assaulting a court official who had insulted him. They avenged him by killing the court official after patiently waiting and planning for over a year.

In turn, they were themselves forced to commit seppuku for committing the crime of murder, as they had known they would be—the tale being about the honorable fulfillment of duty, especially to an honorable leader.

Bushido was the warrior code of the samurai.

Bushido was a strict code that demanded loyalty, devotion, and honor to the death.

Under Bushido, if a samurai failed to uphold his honor he could regain it by performing seppaku.

Bushido is an internally-consistent ethical code, grounded in the spiritual approach of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. In its purest form, it demands of its practitioners that they look effectively backward at the present from the moment of their own death, as if they were already, in effect, dead.

There are seven virtues associated with Bushido:

義 - Gi - Rectitude (Right Decisions)

勇 - Yu - Courage

仁 - Jin - Benevolence

礼 - Rei - Respect

誠 - Makoto - Honesty

名誉 - Meiyo - Honor

忠義 - Chugi - Loyalty

In the West, there is another tradition.

It is called Bushita.

There are seven virtuousnesses associated with Bushita:

義 - Gi -makes decisions for the far right

勇 - Yu -encourage you to think only of you.

仁 - Jin -embrace the goodness of violence

礼 - Rei -respect those who believe you

誠 - Makoto -be honest if you must

名誉 - Meiyo -honor those who fall for this

忠義 - Chugi -be loyal loyal loyal.

Although the Bushita code is not new,

It has gained momentum in the new century.

Historians are in disagreement

as to its longevity or impact.

It comes from the racial school

of Bubbhaism.

I just couldn't resist this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this would be funny if it weren't so true.

12:30 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

it is meant to bring a smile. without humour, we will lose our sense of joy. without our joy, we are in the clutches of despair.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is instructive and uplifting to see real honor and real tradition. It is also demoralizing to see this in the context of our present leadership.

8:02 PM  

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