Bushido is a warrior code that originated in medieval Japan and was adopted by the Draconis Combine as a moral compass for their military forces. It values honor, loyalty to one's commander, and duty unto death.
The code was likely originally developed in the eleventh through fourteenth centuries in Japan. In the Tokugawa Shogunate, the code was formalized as a feudal law. Elements of the code, including the concept of "face" and especially that of honor strongly influenced most Japanese dealings with one another and with the rest of Terra. It later became the code of conduct for the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery.
Bushido provides a moral compass for its adherents and stresses frugality, loyalty, mastery of the martial arts, and honor unto death. There are seven virtues for the code:
In addition to these tenets was a reverence of the katana, or sword of the samurai. Many members of the DCMS carry katana with them into battle, even in their BattleMech cockpits. The daishō, or twinned blades, consists of a katana and a wakizashi and is normally only possessed by individuals with long and distinguished lineages, sometimes dating back to feudal Japan. Many katana and daishō were named by their owners and those names carried on with descendants. Only samurai were permitted to wear the daishō; anyone else could be executed for doing so.
The Kurita samurai owes his Coordinator uncompromising loyalty until death. Indeed, he is willing to sacrifice his life without a moment's hesitation.
Ronin are masterless samurai but many were still adherents to bushido. While they no longer serve a lord, they still upheld the same beliefs they had before. Until the mid-seventeenth century, ronin were generally perceived as outcasts, but two events changed the belief.
The first was the exceptional life of Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi, a skilled swordsman, traveled extensively around Japan and joined those causes with which he felt a connection. Musashi later wrote a book called the Go Rin no Sho ("The Book of Five Rings") that codified his tactics. Unusually, Musashi also used two katana in his battles rather than a daishō. In one of his most famous duels, he killed Sasaki Kojiro by using a bokken, or wooden sword, against Kojiro's nodachi, or long sword. Musashi was believed never to have lost one of the more than sixty duels in which he participated.
The other was the story of the 47 Ronin from the eighteenth century. These samurai were left without a master when their daimyo (lord) was forced to commit seppuku after assaulting a court official. The forty-seven ronin plotted for a year to assassinate the official, knowing that they would be forced to commit seppuku as well if successful. The ronin's plan to quell the fear of the official worked and after a year, he let down his guard. At that moment, the forty-seven ronin attacked and beheaded the official, bearing his head back to the tomb of their daimyo. While the ronin had acted within the precepts of bushido, they had violated the edict of the Shogun and, rather than having them executed, he ordered them to commit seppuku. Forty-six of the group did so and were entombed. The forty-seventh had been sent away to inform the family of the daimyos of the action and when he returned, he was pardoned by the Shogun. When he died, he was entombed with his forty-six brethren.
In the Draconis Combine, the traditional beliefs about ronin persist. Mercenaries, in particular, are viewed as worse than ronin, as they hire out their services. Many in the Combine's military believe that mercenaries are without honor and treat them as such. Rarely are mercenaries treated well, with the notable exceptions of Wolf's Dragoons and the interactions between Morgan Kell and Yorinaga Kurita.
- ↑ House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 121: "Bushido"