300 years ago, Yamamoto Tsunetomo wrote the Hagakure. The guide to Japanese Bushido was one of the most influential books in Japan’s history. If you want to understand the mentality that made the samurai into legends, these are the quotes you want to read.
“Life is not so important when forced to choose between life and integrity.”
“If one is overly strict, his subordinates will become untrustworthy. If he over-trusts, his subordinates will become unruly.”
“Take a look at the men today. It seems that most of them have a woman’s heart. There are very few true men anymore. It is easy for a strong warrior to gain the advantage these days because so few have any courage at all. This loss of the warrior spirit is easily shown by the fact that men today cannot even behead a convicted criminal with his hands tied behind his back.”