chapter  3
A Critique of Nitobe Inazō's Bushidō: The Soul of Japan
Pages 8

It was the samurai's view of existence that determined his view of life. That is, if he were to see death as something to fear, then his life with its constant possibility of death would be a source of endless anxiety. This was called 'seeing death in the presence of life' (seicha musho). The way he faces death was therefore seen as a challenge put to him by life: this was called 'seeing life in the presence of death' (shicha usho). The terms seicha musho and shicha usho, attributed to Uesugi Kenshin, were influenced by the Buddhist view of existence. It is the acceptance of this fundamental issue of existence - the impermanence of existence - and, more importantly, the positive response to it that shaped the samurai's view of life and drove them to preserve personal honor even at the price of death. Life is impermanent, but honor is not. As the samurai would say, 'when a tiger dies it leaves its hide; when a man dies he leaves his honor' (tora wa shishite kawa 0 nokosu, hito wa shishite na 0 nokosu).