Bushido – The Way of the Warrior

Bushido, ‘the way of the warrior,’ is the code that samurai were expected to live by. Loyalty and honour were most cherished, followed by martial bravery – a freedom from fear.

Training for a boy of the samurai class began early and at 10 he would learn fencing, archery, riding, as well as calligraphy, ethics, literature, and history.

The balance between warrior and artist was extremely important in samurai practice. It was also expected that many samurai would die young and so should be prepared and unafraid for such an event; when he was able to overcome his fear of an early death, he then mastered the way of the samurai. Any samurai condemned to death had the right to kill himself rather than suffer the shame of being killed by a commoner, and so samurai were trained to commit seppuku - ritual suicide.

At 15 a samurai was considered an adult, receiving his first real sword and cutting his hair in the traditional samurai fashion with the hair pulled back into a ponytail.

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
1185 - 1868
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