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The Origins Of The Samurai And Bushido Codes

2487 words - 10 pages

The Origins of the Samurai and Bushido Codes

"Explain the meanings and discuss the concepts and origins of Samurai and Bushido code, then relate these concepts towards the modern Japanese Soldier and Leader during World War 2 and show evidence to support that the Japanese soldier treated enemy prisoners exploiting Samurai and Bushido traditions."

Bushido - ???- the feudal-military Japanese code of behavior; the way of the warrior [samurai] Japanese chivalry [knighthood]

In order to understand bushido and its traditions, a comparison must be made between the 'traditional' bushido (idealistic) and the bushido code which was adopted into the Japanese military during World War II. The Japanese justified that the reason they treated the prisoners in a form of such brutality is because it's a part of their way of life, the concept of 'no one surrenders'. However if so surrendered then your life is pretty much hell, and according to the Japanese custom your family back home is brought shame. With the evidence from source material though, it seems that the Australians and very likely other nations in there prison camps understood what was going on around them. Indeed the Japanese breached the Geneva convention but what is it exactly, did the other countries follow it accordingly? The Japanese method of dealing with Allied prisoners was seen through the 'western eyes' as brutality, scum and inhumane. Yet by the same according to source material some Australian soldiers recognized that the Japanese did what they did, and in some cases they exploited the true meaning of bushido or did they?
To understand if the Japanese soldier and leaders in particular abuse the code of bushido, the traditional bushido must be looked at.

"Do not give up under any circumstances"

The Traditional background on bushido

In Japan there exists a mindset which, in various forms, has existed for over 2000 years, and has been frequently misinterpreted by other countries. This way of life is known as Bushido. It basically sums up the moral and religious ideas of Japan. Also known as kokoro, "the heart within", it has been called "the soul of Japan". Bushido, which translates to "way of the warrior" in its more common form, was originally developed as a way to maintain controlled relations between a warlord and his samurai. It is difficult to describe the samurai in Western terms. The word "samurai" comes from the verb "to attend upon a noble". They were soldiers whose sole purpose in life was to serve their masters. The lord was a benefactor, provider, and protector or the samurai. It was the duty of the samurai to, in turn, protect the glory and safety of his lord by any means necessary, even if it included sacrificing his own life for his master. When a war took place, the samurai was expected to do battle at his master's order. "A man is for one generation, honor, for all generations". This was a common Bushido belief. Acts of cowardice brought great...

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