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Bushido expanded and formalized the earlier code of the samurai, and stressed frugality, loyalty, mastery of martial arts, and always acting in honor. Bushido was widely practiced and it is surprising how uniform the samurai code remained over time, crossing over all geographic and socio-economic backgrounds of the samurai. The samurai represented a wide populace numbering from 7% to 10% of the Japanese population, and the first Meiji era census at the end of the 19th century counted 1,282,000 members of the "high samurais", allowed to ride a horse, and 492,000 members of the "low samurai", allowed to wear two swords but not to ride a horse, in a country of about 25 million. Other parts of the Bushido philosophy cover methods of raising children, appearance and grooming, and most of all, living life to its fullest and caring for others. One might say that life is at the very center of Bushido as the overall purpose- to live a good life with one's honor intact.
Seven virtues of Bushido
The Bushido code is typified by seven virtues: Rectitude (義 gi?); Courage (勇 yuu?); Benevolence (仁 jin?); Respect (礼 rei?); Honesty (誠 makoto or 信 shin?); Honour (誉 yo?); Loyalty (忠 chuu?) Others that are sometimes added to these are: Filial piety (孝 kō?); Wisdom (智 chi?); Care for the aged (悌 tei?) -Translations from: Random House's Japanese-English, English-Japanese Dictionary Some people in Japan as well as other countries follow the same virtues listed above under the philosophical term modern bushido. The idea was derived from the fact that the [people] should be able to adapt [their] beliefs and philosophies to a changing world. In an excerpt of James Williams' article "Virtue of the sword", a fairly simple explanation of modern bushido can be found: The warrior protects and defends because they realize the value of others. We know that they are essential to society and, in our gift of service to others, we recognize and value them. What would happen if you would take the extra moment in dark parking lots at night to make sure that our elders and children get into their car safely before we leave? Daily involvement in acts such as these are as much a part of training and living for a warrior as time spent in the dojo, and indeed should be the reason for that time spent training... When faced with someone in a situation in which they are vulnerable, there are two types of people: those who would offer succor and aid, and those who would prey upon them. It has been thought that the code of Bushido is dead as expressed by many swordsman. This is still being debated today. Many argue that it has passed away in this new era with the arrival of new cold and heartless guns and weapons. But there are those who think not. As it was famously put by Ali Armani "A swordsman's path shall never end nor will the code of Bushido as long as there's someone to protect as long as there is someone to carry on the code of Bushido. It will not die. There will always be injustice and suffering and one swordsman can't change the world no matter how strong her or she is but I can always protect those in my sight. I will always protect the weak and helpless for that is the true code of Bushido and I shall achieve this without taking a single human life. There will be someone who will carry on my will and hold the sword which I hold and carry on the code for it is something that needs to be pure and true not altered by greed or evil. If one billion people follow it wrongfully or just a handful follow it righteously, it is the handful that are the true and strongest of all."