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Duty & Loyalty from the 7 Bushido Virtues

Duty & Loyalty – Chu

We are responsible for everything we have done and everything we have said and all the consequences that follow. We are immensely loyal to all of those in our care.

Duty & Loyalty are the last of the seven Bushido Values, the last of the seven principles that medieval Samurai lived and died by. As with the previous 6 we’ll do a deep dive on the meaning and review their relevance in our modern lifestyle.


We can think of duty as being obligated to act responsibly by one’s own morals and principles in performing a role or executing a task to the best of one’s ability. To be dutiful we’d expect that individual to serve their role without deviation from its purpose. A police officer to uphold law and order, a soldier to defend her country, a traffic warden to hand out infringements. If we introduce pride to duty, we start to connect emotion to purpose and that’s an x factor in my view.

Take the statement above for example, ‘we are responsible for everything we have done and said and the consequences that follow’. The samurai lived by this principle, owning the outcome of their actions. Once we’ve said or done something we might regret it’s difficult to take back. In today’s social-media hyper-intense world especially so. Tweets, posts, and images uploaded are there forever. With Cyber bullying and inappropriate content widely prevalent for our children to ingest it’s an important principle to remind ourselves and our youngsters of again.

When we are accountable for our actions, we convey a certain sense of duty. Most of you probably don’t think about how many roles you play in life, trust me there are many! One role I am humbled to play is that of a Martial Arts instructor here in our local Five Dock community. I know the commitment to open up and teach every week, whist challenging to maintain, is non-negotiable. I’m reminded of that every now and again when our parents tell me about positive changes they see from their children through the karate training.

Without question there are opportunities to influence those around us. We may not even realise the impact we have or the climate we create to those that look up to us. To understand and uphold the unspoken duty of each persona we act helps us make positive impact to others in our life.


Faithful, patriotic, or devoted can also be used to describe Loyalty. Where Duty can be executed, devoid of emotional connection, I believe that’s not possible with Loyalty. Where we see Loyalty, we also see a connection that is emotional too. The easiest example is that of the family dog. It’s hard to imagine a more loyal creature than the canine. Instinctively they are loyal to the pack but why humans? The simple explanation is we provide shelter, food and connection and in the hierarchy of needs these three rate highly.

Loyalty given freely requires giving up something, even if that’s simply time, although it’s often far more than that. We sacrifice for the greater good when certain essential, emotional conditions are met. Love, phycological safety, and a desire for a higher purpose for example. As humans we give our loyalty to family, loved ones and friends. It can be extended to our favourite sporting team and beyond that to our country. We also give loyalty to fashion brands, musical artists, religion, and even political persuasions.

At one extreme we are prepared to die for loyalty at the other make illogical commercial decisions when buying brand products. Why?

Loyalty provides us with an identity that is greater than ourselves, it requires sacrifice, courage and being at one with yourself. We give loyalty in the knowledge it’s a one-way trade. A solider sacrifices their life defending their nation knowing there is nothing save honour in doing so. When we give our loyalty to another person, a company, country or simply a fashion brand we are committing elements of our personality our character and in doing so we establish purpose for ourselves.

Duty & Loyalty = 10x Factor

In the quest to live our best lives, leveraging both Duty and Loyalty together has a compound effect. Accepting our obligations – our duty, in the roles we play and endeavouring each day to live up to them alongside faithfully devoting to our commitments means we become the best type of role model. When you stand for commitment and dedication to a cause, belief, or other person one becomes dependable. A quality that enables those close to you to thrive.

As I close on the topic of Duty and Loyalty, the last of the seven virtues of the Samurai warrior from premodern Japan it’s clear to me how interrelated they all are. What’s also fascinating is their absolute relevancy today. Consider those leaders who influence and lead on the world stage. Consider also these seven virtues and as you read through them imagine if more of our modern-day leaders identified with them.

1. The virtue of Integrity – Be acutely honest throughout your dealings will all people

2. The virtue of Respect – We command respect by first freely giving it to others

3. The virtue of Heroic Courage – Take risks, replace fear with respect and caution

4. The virtue of Honour – We have only one judge of honour and character – ourselves

5. The virtue of Compassion – We can use our status to help our fellow human

6. The virtue of Honesty – When we say that a task or action will be done – it’s as good as done. Nothing prevents us completing that which we said we would do.

To your continued future health, success, and happiness

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