The Samurai developed a "Code of Conduct", known as BUSHIDO, which meant "The way of the warrior." It was a code of moral principles which the Samurai were required to observe. Bushido can be traced as far back as 712 A.D. The use and admiration of the sword was begun by Japanese warriors.

Bushido stressed frugality, loyalty, mastery of martial arts, and honor to death. If a Samurai failed to uphold his honor he could regain it by performing ritual suicide. Seppuku is an act of suicide performed by cutting open the abdomen. We know this procedure as hara kiri. It was commonly performed using a dagger. This act was admired by the Samurai, but was an extremely unpleasant way to die. In some instances at the moment of agony a comrade would cut off his head.

Bushido had seven virtues: Rectitude, Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty, Honor, and Loyalty. Sometimes added are : Filial, Piety, Wisdom, and Care for the aged. To this day the practice of Bushido is carried out by loyal Japanese.

So what led the Japanese to become such militaristic aggressors? One thing that always loomed in their planning-they had no oil. But what could have transformed them into making such barbaric attacks on China, Manchuria, and the Philippines, to name a few. The well documented invasion of China, killing and mutilating millions, set the stage for future occupations. These occupations did not go unnoticed by the U.S. Leading up to WW11, it was quite obvious we would eventually have major problems with the Japanese Empire.


Because of their rising military and economic power, the clans ultimately became a new force in the politics of the court. They survived the Hogen Rebellion and other military attacks in 1160. After emerging victorious, and with their military power increasing, the first Samurai dominated government relegated the Emperor to figurehead status. Various Samurai clans struggled for power during the Feudal Period. Zen Buddhism in the 13th century shaped their standards of conduct, overcoming fear of death and killing.

In 1274, the Yuan Dynasty of the Mongol Empire sent a force of 40,000 men and 900 ships to invade Japan. The 10,000 Samurai warriors and a vicious typhoon "the divine wind" caused the invasion to be called off. The Mongols, from 1275 to 1279, attempted to settle matters in a diplomatic way, but every envoy sent to Japan was executed. The philosophies of Buddhism and Zen, Confucianism and Shinto influenced the Samurai culture.


I spent several years in Japan. The country is beautiful, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. It's a photographer's paradise. I found the people to be extremely polite, industrious, respectful, and intelligent. After briefly going over 1000 years of history in which the words "loyalty, respect, and honor" are used. It becomes all the more difficult to write about brutality and vicious attacks.


Home Page