|A samurai (c. 1860) as photographed by Felice Beato|
Noun. Late 19th century.
[Japanese bushi warrior + do way.]
The code of honour and morals evolved by the samurai.
Samurai terrify me. For some it's clowns, for some it's dolls, for other it's Justin Bieber - for me it's the samurai. Everything about them is terrifying - their inhuman, grotesque armour, the knowledge that they're like Terminators and they "absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead," and should you better one, on the slimmest of chances that you get the upper hand, this is a man that will sit down, write a poem, and then disembowel himself. My Mum always said: "Never get into a scrap with a man willing to disembowel himself if he loses, especially one with the presence of mind to sit down and write a poem about it first." And you know what? That's good advice.
|Unknown artist from 1919|
It's some consolation that samurai lived by bushido, a warrior code to ensure they behaved themselves in a dignified and chivalrous manner. Although different bushido texts stress different tenets, bushido can be typified by The Seven Virtues:
Also of great importance was absolute loyalty to his lord (so don't cross him either), the development of wisdom, care for the aged and those of lower classes, and being a good father (which is nice). Oh, and apparently they also make a damn good cup of tea. Despite these noble virtues, however, samurai, their armour and their unrelenting martial ethos still frighten me. I mean, they write poems before cutting out their own bowels. Write poems! Not even the Terminator did that.
|Samurai (c. 1860), also photographed by Felice Beato|
Are you a samurai?
Do you live by bushido?
Do please leave your most feudal comments below.