Bushido originates from the samurai moral code stressing frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and honor unto death. Born from Neo-Confucianism during times of peace in Tokugawa Japan and following Confucian texts, Bushido was also influenced by Shinto and Zen Buddhism, allowing the violent existence of the samurai to be tempered by wisdom and serenity. Bushidō developed between the 9th and 20th centuries and numerous translated documents dating from the 12th to 16th centuries demonstrate its wide influence across the whole of Japan, although some scholars have noted "the term bushidō itself is rarely attested in premodern literature."
Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, aspects of bushidō became formalized into Japanese feudal law.
The word was first used in Japan during the 17th century. It came into common usage in Japan and the West after the 1899 publication of Nitobe Inazō's Bushido: The Soul of Japan.
In Bushido, Inazō wrote:
Nitobe was not the first person to document Japanese chivalry in this way. In his text Feudal and Modern Japan, historian Arthur May Knapp wrote: "The samurai of thirty years ago had behind him a thousand years of training in the law of honor, obedience, duty, and self-sacrifice.... It was not needed to create or establish them. As a child he had but to be instructed, as indeed he was from his earliest years, in the etiquette of self-immolation.
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