Bushido: The Soul of Japan


Inazo Nitobe

Use the main menu to access the annotated text of Bushido: The Soul of Japan. The text itself will appear on left side of the page, along with tooltip notes for key terms, names, and other references (as well as Nitobe's original footnotes). Summaries, comments, and textual notes appear on the right side of the page (mobile devices should show the text first). The emendations introduced when the revised edition appeared in 1905 are indicated by a different (reddish-brown) font color.

The site has barely reached the publishable stage, and much remains to be done. No resources or links are yet available, and comments on the later chapters especially are quite brief. It is hoped that the usefulness of having access to a complete annotated text compensates to some extent for the site's present level of development. The annotations by and large come from sources that can be found online, although they have been pursued with some diligence. Special mention should at least be made of the Internet Archive, the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, various independent sites that are cited inside the notes, and the vast outreach made possible by the Google search engine. My initial goal has been to identify sources and produce a reasonably authoritative and accessible text. Corrections, additions, and other communications are welcome at the e-mail address given at the bottom of the sidebar on the Prefaces page.

The list of chapters (following the first edition) is as follows:

  1. Bushido as an Ethical System
  2. Sources of Bushido
  3. Rectitude or Justice
  4. Courage, the Spirit of Daring and Bearing
  5. Benevolence, the Feeling of Distress
  6. Politeness
  7. Veracity or Truthfulness
  8. Honor
  9. The Duty of Loyalty
  10. Education and Training of [a*] Samurai
  11. Self-Control
  12. The Institutions of Suicide and Revenge
  13. The Sword, the Soul of the Samurai
  14. The Training and Position of Woman
  15. The Influence of Bushido
  16. Is Bushido Still Alive?
  17. The Future of Bushido

* The article does not appear in the Contents of the first edition, although it is used in the text.


The left side of the banner is a mid-19th-century triptych attributed to one Enryosai Shigemitsu showing actors in the roles of Miyamoto Musashi, Yoshioka Kanefusa, and Sekiguchi Yatarō. The triptych on the right is a representation of one of the mid-16th-century Battles of Kawanakajima (Kawanakajima no kassen) by Katsukawa Shuntei (1770-1820). The images come from the David Murray Collection in the Library of Congress and are available in digitized form on this page and this page.