Approximately from 794 to 1868, the military class of samurai and the shoguns were the highest secular authorities in the land, while the Mikado (an ancient name for the emperor of Japan) was not actually a political figure and he almost never controlled the government in Japan. Samurai warriors established their own traditions and the ways of behavior that helped them to fight in numerous wars and battles, as well as to develop perfectly such qualities as respect, eternal honesty and devotion, honor and love to their land and their lord.
The samurai's ethic code, known as Bushido or the "The way of the Samurai", was created in Japan and based on the Chinese concept of warriors, known as "The way of Horse and Bow". The concept of Bushido was a core belief of samurai, and its main philosophy comprised "freedom from fear". Bushido underlined the loyalty to a master and the ability of samurai to serve his master above the rest and face death with honor.
A very important aspect of the samurai ethic code was the appreciation of peaceful arts. These include gardening, landscaping, architecture, painting, poetry, calligraphy, a tea ceremony, and Noh and Kabuki theaters. Samurai were expected to have an appreciation and work with at least one of the peaceful arts to reach the Way (Bushido).
Death has always been connected with samurai and the manner in which he saw his death was the most important aspect. The opening chapter of the Hagakure, a book about samurai, written in the 18th century, provides the brightest example of how samurai should have seen their death: "The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to death, there is only a quick choice of death." The book is worth reading if you want to know more about the notion of death in samurai's life and it provides even more shocking passages. Conclusively, samurai were taught that they had to die and not to simply die, but die as a warrior with honor in the battlefield or commit suicide rather than die in capture. "To die without gaining one's aim IS a dog's death and fanaticism, though there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai."
Although today there are no samurai in Japan, their ethic code still influences the society. "The way of the Samurai" has no longer a military force, but its stress on loyalty to the head of the group finds its reflection in the strong sense of loyalty that workers have to their employers, students to their teachers, as well as all citizens to their country. Most Japanese even find it difficult to believe that in other countries there can be a disorder in a modern school classroom. The romantic ideal of samurai still inspires children and adults through countless mediums.
"The way of the Samurai" brought up both morally and physically strong warriors in the ancient times, but its contemporary impact is rather controversial. The code has found its reflection not only in reverence to a father and mother, respect to elderly people and bosses and pressure on children to do well for the family honor, but also in Japanese kamikaze pilots and businessmen suicides for being fired.