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In Japanese tradition, Bushido (武士道), the way of the warrior. Many samurai devoted their lives to bushido, a strict code that demanded loyalty and honor to the death. If a samurai failed to uphold his honor he could regain it by committing seppuku (ritual suicide). This is also a spiritual basis for those who committed kamikaze attack during World War II.

Bushido is a particularly internally-consistent ethical code. In its purest form, it demands of its practitioners that they look effectively backward at the present from the moment of their own death. As if they were already, in effect, dead. This is particularly true of the earlier forms of Bushido or budo. Of later forms, traditionalists would scoff, "they reason with staying alive kept clearly in mind."

Important figures in the development of Bushido:

The modern sport of kendo takes its basic philosophy from bushido, in particular, the theory that the entire purpose of the sport is "one cut, one kill". Unlike other martial arts extended contact or multiple strikes tends to be discouraged, in favor of clean single strokes on the body or the head.

See also: samurai, nihilism, Zen.

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