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First formulated in the 17th century, bushido is the code of conduct of the samurai class of Japan. Its precise content varied over time, taking on overtones of Zen Buddhism and Confucianism. Along with self-discipline, honor, and austerity, one constant feature was the samurai’s obligation to his lord, which superseded even familial ties. This obligation of loyalty and sacrifice was transferred to the emperor with the Meiji Restoration and was a significant feature of the Japanese national mindset during World War II.
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