Christianity and Bushido

Bushido, literally the way of the warrior (Samurai), was a code of ethics of the warrior that would be analogous to the code of chivalry of the knights during the European feudal period. Bushido was based on the Japanese national tradition and religious heritage: largely Shinto and Buddhism.

The concept of Bushido was first developed in the Kamakura period (12th Century) at the rise of the Shogunates (regional politico-military feudal lords). The term Bushido was first used in the civil wars of the 18th century. The content of the code varied as standards evolved. Initially the code emphasized military spirit including athletic skill, military skill, and fearlessness. The most profound rationalization of Bushido occurred in the Tokugawa period (1622-1685) by Yamaga Soko. It was just prior to this time period that the Okazaki family emerged as Samurai. Concepts such as loyalty, honor, justice, politeness, etc. were included after this.

Important precepts in the Code of Bushido and a Biblical rationale are as follows:

1. Loyaltyfaithfulness, allegiance to master and cause (Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Matt. 25: 21).
2. Honor: a good name and reputation, self respect (A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor. Prov. 29: 23).
3. Virtue: valor, merit, and moral righteousness (Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge. 2 Pet. 1: 5).
4. Rectitude: moral integrity and correct judgment, trustworthiness ( The righteous man walks in his integrity. Prov. 20: 7)
5. Fearlessness: courage (Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31: 6)
6. Righteousness: sense of obligation and duty (Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God. Deut. 6:25)
7. Athletic Skill: strength and power (The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to his people. Psalm 68:35)
8. Military Skill: weapons and strategy (When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you. Deut. 20: 1)
9. Unselfishness: willingness to serve and give to others (You must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20: 35)
10. Justice: fairness in dealing with others (Defend the poor and fatherless, do justice to the afflicted and needy. Ps 82: 3)
11. Benevolence: charity with tenderness (And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Cor. 13: 2)
12. Politeness: courtesy, observing the cultural amenities (Therefore whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them. Matt. 7:12)
13. Veracity: honesty (Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor. Eph. 4: 25)
14. Sincerity: open and genuine (In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, and sincerity. Titus 2: 7)
15. Education and Culture: (To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the words of understanding, a wise man will hear and increase learning. Prov. 1: 1-5)

Copyright Christian JuJitsu Association, 1998