The Bushido Code

Essay by mjno October 2004

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The Samurai's Tale, a book written by Erik Haugaard, portrays a perspicuous image of Japanese society in Medieval Japan. The Bushido Code, a code of conduct which stresses 6 values and is followed by all samurai, plays an important role in this book. The most prominent of these values are loyalty, courage, and honor.

To begin with, loyalty, or being faithful to one's lord, is an important value because it strengthens a lord's rule over his lessers. "Your lord is like your father, you must follow him wherever he leads," (p.119) Wada Kansuke pointed out to Taro. Even though Taro may sometimes disagree with Lord Akiyama, he should still remain loyal to him. In a like manner, Lord Akiyama thought that Katsuyori wasn't as skilled as his father, but he remains loyal to Katsuyori because he was Takeda Shingen's son. Even though Lord Akiyama disagrees with Katsuyori, he follows his orders so the Takeda generals will not fight amongst themselves trying to become the next ruler of the Takeda.

In addition, the ronin bandit was very loyal to Lord Obu in spite of his lord's revolt against Takeda Shingen. "I serve Lord Obu and no-one else," (p.116) the ronin bandit objected when Taro suggested that he should join Lord Akiyama. Although joining Lord Akiyama could save his life, the ronin refused because of his loyalty to Lord Obu. Loyalty is what unites the Takeda and other tribes from the lowly peasant to the powerful general.

Courage is equally important since it is what enables the samurai to fight each other on the battle field or there would be no fighting because the samurai wouldn't be brave enough to risk their lives. Throughout The Samurai's Tale, Taro shows bravery by doing several remarkable feats. "Fate cheated me of...