The samurai were warriors with a strong sense of duty, loyalty and honor. They lived by these values. They did not kill without reason or take life unnecessarily. However, they did have their own code of ethics and codes of conduct which are similar to those found in the Judeo-Christian tradition. These include the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would like them to do unto you), self-sacrifice (no killing) and nonviolence (avoiding violence).
Samurai Code of Honor
The samurai believed that all men had certain duties, and that each man must fulfill his part in society. A person’s actions must serve the good of the whole. If someone does something wrong, then it is up to him to correct himself; if he cannot do so, then he should accept responsibility for what he has done and try again later when better prepared.
A samurai was expected to live by these rules. Failure to do so could result in punishment such as death. There were many ways in which a samurai might be punished, but most punishments involved some form of public humiliation. For example, a sword being broken or a horse kicked would usually result in the offender receiving at least temporary disgrace and/or loss of rank within the order. This type of punishment was often used to teach respect for one’s superiors and fellow soldiers.
Other punishments included confinement to a house or holding cell. In many cases, the person would have to sit inside and do nothing at all for a period of time.
In the case that a criminal act involved moral outrage, such as defiling a woman (regardless of consent), then the criminal might be put to death. Due to the nature of their work, it is no wonder that many became drunkards (and others were drunks).
Sources & references used in this article:
The epic in film: From myth to blockbuster by C Santas – 2007 – books.google.com
Unconditional Democracy: Education and Politics in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952 by T Nishi – 2013 – books.google.com
On the warrior’s path: philosophy, fighting, and martial arts mythology by D Bolelli – 2008 – books.google.com
The Five Rings: Miyamoto Musashi’s Art of Strategy by M Musashi – 2016 – books.google.com
Archetypes in Japanese film: The sociopolitical and religious significance of the principal heroes and heroines by G Barrett – 1989 – books.google.com
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