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date: 30 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the philosophical and ideological landscape of the so-called bushidō (way of the warrior) tradition in Japan. It contends that bushidō has often been misunderstood or misrepresented as only a simple code of conduct tied to the historical samurai. Instead, this chapter seeks to reveal the richness of bushidō as a sophisticated and complex field of philosophical inquiry into questions of ethics, justice, being, violence, conflict, and death. Drawing on intellectual and cultural traditions as diverse as Buddhism, Shintō, Confucianism, the Kyoto School, and currents of Western philosophy, bushidō’s full philosophical importance emerges only in the twentieth century. While the political and ideological dangers of aspects of bushidō were clearly manifest in this period, its philosophical potential was only just beginning to be understood.

Keywords: bushidōethics, Buddhism, Confucianism, martial arts, militarism, ideology, self-cultivation, samurai, self-transformation

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