Somewhere, in all of us, there is a warrior. Although some cultivate it more than others, if this wasn’t inherently true of all humans, surely the very genes that make up ‘you’ would have died long ago. This is a good thing, because I believe we are all at war. Maybe not in the most direct sense of the word – but we are always locked in battle with our environment, others, and most importantly, ourselves.
If we are at war, than there is a lot we can learn from the Samurai. Their code of conduct, Bushido, is a philosophy that empathizes loyalty, modesty, mastery of one’s craft, and most importantly, honor. These are not just traits of a great warrior, but also of a great communicator.
This blog will examine the writings of Tamamoto Tsunetomo, a Samurai scribe who lived from 1659-1719. His book, Hagakure, is a manual for Samurai wishing to live their lives according the doctrine of Bushido. The version I have is translated William Scott Wilson; from what I have read this was no easy task, and I have much respect for Mr. Wilson and thank him very much for making this great work available to English speakers. Hagakure contains passages of wisdom passed down from Japanese Samurai. I will interpret Tsunetomos’s passages through the lens of a communications professional. I also hope to draw wisdom and lessons from my own Sensei, as he has been a role model for my professional conduct and dedication.
To a Samurai, Bushido was the Way. This meant an endless dedication to the betterment of one’s self and his craft. More importantly to the Samurai, it meant a dedication, bound by death, to his master. For us living in Canada or the United States, our Way is obviously very different; to serve another without question is considered foolish in an individualist culture. But what if we didn’t serve a master, but instead our goals, dreams, ambitions, friends and family? You can follow your own Bushido with Samurai dedication. Your own Way.
My Way, is the Way of the communicator.