Code of Meiyo

Rectitude or Righteousness

Rectitude is one’s power to decide upon a course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering; to die when to die is right, to strike when to strike is right.

Rectitude is the bone that gives firmness and stature. Without bones the head cannot rest on top of the spine, nor hands move nor feet stand. So without Rectitude neither talent nor learning can make the human frame into a samurai

Courage

Courage is worthy of being counted among virtues only if it’s exercised in the cause of Righteousness and Rectitude

Perceiving what is right and doing it not reveals a lack of Courage.’ In short, ‘Courage is doing what is right

Benevolence or Mercy

A man invested with the power to command and the power to kill was expected to demonstrate equally extraordinary powers of benevolence and mercy

Love, magnanimity, affection for others, sympathy and pity, are traits of Benevolence, the highest attribute of the soul or Shin

Respect or Politeness

Discerning the difference between obsequiousness and politeness can be difficult, but for a true person, courtesy is rooted in benevolence

Politeness should be the expression of a benevolent regard for the feelings of others; it’s a poor virtue if it’s motivated only by a fear of offending good taste. In its highest form Politeness approaches love.

Honesty and Sincerity

We show respect by speaking and acting with courtesy. We treat others with dignity and honor the rules of our family, school and nation. Respect yourself, and others will respect you.

Politeness is a poor virtue, if it is actuated only by a fear of offending good taste, whereas it should be the outward manifestation of a sympathetic regard for the feelings of others. It also implies a due regard for the fitness of things, therefore due respect to social positions; for these latter express no plutocratic distinctions, but were originally distinctions for actual merit

Honour

The sense of Honor, a vivid consciousness of personal dignity and worth, characterized the samurai. He was born and bred to value the duties and privileges of his profession. Fear of disgrace hung like a sword over the head of every samurai.

To take offense at slight provocation was ridiculed as ‘short-tempered.’ As the popular adage put it: ‘True patience means bearing the unbearable.’

Loyalty

true men remain loyal to those to whom they are indebted

Loyalty to a superior was the most distinctive virtue. Personal fidelity exists among all sorts of men: a gang of pickpockets swears allegiance to its leader. But only in the code of chivalrous Honor does Loyalty assume paramount importance.

Filial Piety

a virtue of respect for one’s parents and ancestors.

In serving his parents, a filial son reveres them in daily life; he makes them happy while he nourishes them; he takes anxious care of them in sickness; he shows great sorrow over their death; and he sacrifices to them with solemnity.

Code of Meiyo

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