The samurai warrior is the penultimate symbol and epitome of masculine courage, honour and justice withinÂ Japanese tattooing, and the samurai represents the highest masculine ideals within Japanese culture. The samurai adhered to a strictÂ code ofÂ conduct called ‘Bushido’,Â meaningÂ ‘the way of the warrior’. Bushido was based on the ZenÂ Buddhistprinciples ofÂ Rectitude, Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Trust, Honour and Loyalty until death. Other ideals to which the samurai aspired were self-discipline, frugality, self-sacrifice and nobility.
As a samurai, a warrior was expected to conductÂ himselfÂ and act as if each day were his last, as it might well be. If every day might be a samurai’s last, he was expected to keep his affairs in order, so that his family would not be burdened upon his death. A samurai did not want to owe money or other debts for the same reason. A samurai lived in the now, cognizant always of the fleeting nature of existence. TheÂ cherry blossom, with its ethereal, fragile beauty came symbolize the samurai for that very reason.