The path of the samurai is not an easy trail to walk, for it is fraught with temptation, and it is too easy for us to fall.  We are challenged daily by the words of others, the lies of our fellow men and women, and by the uncertainties that can be born only in our own hearts.

But even in face of all of these obstacles, a young samurai need not be alone.  I was very young when my mother first taught me of Bushido, the text of Akodo himself.  She told me that whenever I was alone, or my path was uncertain, to remember always these seven parts.  This I have tried to do, and it has brought me this far, with honor.  Here I put to the pen both my own words and the words of Akodo One-Eye, in the hopes that I may aid all samurai, bushi or not, in the path to not simply having honor, but understanding it.


-          Kakita Brent



From the Journal of Kakita Brent, On Akodo’s Bushido


I am not Akodo.  I have fought in only three battles, where he fought in many more.  I do not claim to understand the heart of the Lion Clan…I am sometimes unsure that I understand even the edges of their soul.  But honor is not divided into clans and armies, as men are.  With these words, and a willingness to understand, true honor can be born in each of us.

-          Kakita Brent


Gi (Honesty and Justice)

Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people.  Believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself.  To the true samurai, there are no shades of gray in the question of honesty and justice.

There is only right and wrong.

(Brent’s Commentary: This is a part of a samurai’s soul, and it is too often forgotten.  I once asked a Dragon monk that, if this world is merely a stepping stone to the next, then why do they still believe in honor?  He smiled and said, “A liar is still worried about being punished for his actions, and thus is trapped in this world.”  Perhaps Akodo wished the samurai to understand something similar.  Harbor no illusions about justice and honesty…be truthful to yourself at all times, and you can both understand yourself and change the world.  Become trapped in lies, even those said only to yourself, and you will never understand.)


Rei (Polite Courtesy)

Samurai have no reason to be cruel.  They do not need to prove their strength.  A samurai is courteous even to his enemies.  Without this outward show of respect, we are nothing more than animals.  A samurai is not only respected for his strength in battle, but also by his dealings with other men.  The true inner strength of a samurai becomes apparent during difficult times.

(Brent’s Commentary: We forget this often, when we shout insults across the field of war or have heated words in the courts of the Emperor.  Conflict is unavoidable, for all men do not share the same vision.  This does not mean that cruelty is needed, too.  Do not waste your strength, lording it over those weaker than you.

Conserve it, so that it will all be ready, to answer your lord’s call.)


Yu (Heroic Courage)

Rise up above the masses of people that are afraid to act.  Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all.  A samurai must have heroic courage.  It is absolutely risky.  It is dangerous.  It is living life completely, fully, wonderfully.  Heroic courage is not blind.  It is intelligent and strong.

Replace fear with respect and caution.

(Brent’s Commentary: Do not be afraid to live.  We are men and women, given the opportunity to experience everything that life has to offer us, both pain and joy.  But we cannot do so while fear rules over us.  I have met men that have walked Rokugan since before my father’s time, and yet some of them have not lived a single day.  Be courageous, use your intelligence and wisdom well, and you will experience everything that life has to offer.  Still I remember what Toshimoko-sama said to me, long ago.

“Live each day so that you have no regrets.”)


Meyo (Honor)

A true samurai has only one judge of his honor, and that is himself.  Decisions you make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of who you truly are.

You cannot hide from yourself.

(Brent’s Commentary: There is nothing more important than honor.  We do not abandon it, not for our loved ones or our lord.  We must listen to our hearts, and not turn away from the difficult decisions, hiding our lies behind what we see as loyalty.  Loyalty is a sword of two edges.  Remember that even as you must show that you will not dishonor your lord, he must not dishonor you.  Be truthful with yourself, and you will find true victory.)


Jin (Compassion)

Through intense training that samurai becomes quick and strong.  He is not as other men.  He develops a power that must be used for the good of all.  He has compassion.  He helps his fellow men at every opportunity.  If an opportunity does not arise, he goes out of his way to find one.

(Brent’s Commentary: We are samurai…servants to all people.  Our founders and ancestors, the honorable Kami, made the promise to the people of Rokugan to protect them.  We must uphold this oath, or we dishonor them.  Too often do men strive for power for their own good, rather than the good of the Empire.  In the courts, on the field of battle…we must overcome this want, this lust for glittering things.  Service is our purpose.  We are samurai, and we must stand to protect all life.

Killing is a thing for weaker men.  We were not given our swords for petty acts of greed and vengeance, not granted the daisho for personal gain.  The sword is the heart of the samurai.  Betray it, and you betray yourself.)


Makoto (Complete Sincerity)

When a samurai has said he will perform an action, it is as good as done.  Nothing will stop him from completing what he has said he will do.  He does not have to “give his word.”  He does not have to “promise.”  The action of speaking alone has set the act of doing in motion.

Speaking and doing are the same action.

(Brent’s Commentary: Your word is sacred.  We do not make idle promises.  Always remember that, “you own every word you speak.”  People will not respect you if they cannot trust you.  For a true samurai, for the samurai that each of us tries to be, whether in war or peace, we must keep our word.  That is what will let people trust us, and what will one day teach us to trust other men.)


Chugo (Duty and Loyalty)

For the samurai, having done some “thing” or said some “thing,” he knows he owns that “thing.”  He is responsible for it and all the consequences that follow.  A samurai is immensely loyal to those in his care.  To those he is responsible for, he remains fiercely true.

(Brent’s Commentary: We must learn not to risk something, say something, or to do something that we will regret in the morning.  Temper yourself, so that you can understand how things truly are.  The loyalty of others is important, and it can only be created with time and effort.  A samurai should not throw such things away in a moment of weakness.  Remember that at the end of your life, you will look back.

Be able to look back and accept who you really are.)