The Moral Code of a Shinobi

Derived from the writings of Fujibayashi Yasutake, I have assembled below a succinct list of moral values that may have provided the ‘frame of mind’ through which the shinobi may have carried out their daily lives and operations. The majority of these morals are delimited by Fujibayashi in ‘Seishin’, Volume 2 of the Bansenshukai.

As one may infer from these morals, the historical ninja seems to have acted more as a functionary of higher philosophical principles than as an incorrigible criminal without discipline or assassin without conscience:

  1. Do not lie
  2. Do not steal for self-interest
  3. Do not cheat
  4. Do not fear disgrace or shame
  5. Do not be greedy
  6. Do not act impetuously
  7. Do not joke
  8. Do not consume alcohol
  9. Avoid the allure of lust
  10. Do not ally yourself with unprincipled people
  11. Cherish truth
  12. Respect your parents
  13. Value the higher principles of ‘benevolence’,’fidelity’, and ’righteousness’ instead of valuing the pleasures of the human senses

Source: Cummins, A. & Minami, Y. (2013). The Book of Ninja. P.32-43



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