Bushido: The Soul of Japan is a seminal study on the way of the samurai by the Japanese educator Inazo Nitobe. From 1868, the beginning of the Meiji Era, Japan rapidly transformed itself from an isolated feudal society into a modern, industrialised nation state, influenced by Western philosophical and scientific ideas. Nitobe wrote Bushido in English to explain the samurai way to a western audience; it was later translated into Japanese.
In the book, he explained the principles of the “bushi” (warrior) and “do” (way) and positioned Bushido in the historical paradigm of knighthood and chivalry. Using a combination of western and oriental thought, he illustrated the virtues of courage, benevolence, politeness, honor, self-control, and loyalty with reference to Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shintoism, as well as modern western philosophy and classical ideas from the Bible and Greco-Roman civilization. The book was a best seller and became an enduring classic. Generations of scholars have consulted it to gain an understanding of the character of the Japanese people.