80 Samurai Quotes on Death, Life, and Honor

Allow these samurai quotes to bring out your inner fighter and help you develop a more disciplined personality.

The samurai, also known as bushi, were pre-modern Japanese warriors. These warriors were strictly disciplined, loyal, and brave. To become full-fledged samurais, they were expected to live by the Bushido ethic code.

This code of honor is derived from the Japanese word “bushi,” which means “warrior,” and the Japanese word “do,” which means “the way.” Thus, Bushido refers to “the way of the warrior.”

Samurai Quotes on Death, Life, and Honor

Let’s dive into some of their beliefs and practices by reading the quotes below. Make sure to share this collection with your friends who love samurai and Japanese history!

Begin here.

And don’t forget to check out these viking quotes and warrior quotes.

Best Samurai Quotes

1. “The samurai always has to rise and move on, because new challenges will come.” – Lyoto Machida

2. “I’m not a fighter, but in my mind, I’m fighting every day. What’s new? What am I doing? I’m fighting myself. My soul is a samurai. My roots aren’t samurai, but my soul is.” – Masaharu Morimoto

3. “Although the samurai are well-known for their use of the sword, they began as skilled mountain archers, and used a variety of weapons, including longbows, spears, and firearms.” – Tommy Ito

4. “The samurai is the first to suffer anxiety for human society, and he is the last to seek personal pleasure.” – Morihei Ueshiba

5. “The essence of samurai is not just service, but loyalty to his master, to a cause greater than himself.” – Barry Eisler

6. “A samurai chooses to serve a master and does it out of respect and love, not because they are forced. Service to them is not demeaning; service is an expression of their prowess and their pride; they serve because only they are strong enough to serve with such flawless perfection and such consummate ability. It is a source of pride to them.” – Alexei Maxim Russell

7. “A samurai must remain calm at all times even in the face of danger.” – Chris Bradford

8. “This is the substance of the way of the samurai: if by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Famous Samurai Quotes

9. “The uncomfort zone is very important for us, to feel uncomfortable is important to strengthen your spirit. Like the samurai says, if you feel comfortable you must search for the discomfort, don’t look only for the easy way.” – Lyoto Machida

10. “Mental bearing—calmness—not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A samurai, therefore, should neither be pompous nor arrogant.” – Tsukahara Bokuden

11. “As a samurai, I must strengthen my character; as a human being I must perfect my spirit.” – Yamaoka Tesshu

12. “The Art of Peace does not rely on weapons or brute force to succeed; instead, we put ourselves in tune with the universe, maintain peace in our own realms, nurture life, and prevent death and destruction. The true meaning of the term samurai is one who serves and adheres to the power of love.” – Morihei Ueshiba

13. “It’s actually the samurai spirit, which is ‘no fear and never give up.’” – Enson Inoue

14. “Everyone feels fear. What a samurai or warrior is, is what you do when you feel fear.” – Enson Inoue

15. “A samurai was essentially a man of action.” – Inazo Nitobe

16. “Never quit, you have to resist to the utmost. ‘Til you drop, like a samurai.” – Carlson Gracie

17. “Once the will is resolved, one’s spirit is strengthened. Even a peasant’s will is hard to deny, but a samurai of resolute will can sway 10,000 men.” – Yoshida Shoin

18. “A samurai is a total human being, whereas a man who is completely absorbed in his technical skill has degenerated into a ‘function’, one cog in a machine.” – Yukio Mishima

19. “My mentality is like a samurai: they used to every day work on their technique to make themselves almost perfect. Because perfection is impossible, but every day, you get closer to perfection.” – Georges St-Pierre

20. “The word ‘samurai’ itself is a synonym as they are the great ferocious aristocratic warriors in the history of the country.” – Sreechinth C.

Also read: Fighting Quotes

Notable Samurai Quotes About Life

21. “Bushido is about experiencing life in every breath. Seeing life in the simplest of things. There is beauty and honor in that.” – Renée Ahdieh

22. “Their attitude towards life was that of those who always strive to be better, and they saw spirituality as the path to achieve greatness.” – Inazo Nitobe

23. “The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life’s questions.” – Miyamoto Musashi

24. “If you learn to lead your life strategically and strongly, you can overcome the opposition. But running away, you never overcome anything. The pathway to enlightenment is for the warrior, the samurai.” – Frederick Lenz

Also read: Quotes to Live By

Samurai Quotes That Talk About Death

25. “A samurai should always be prepared for death—whether his own or someone else’s.” – Stan Sakai

26. “The way of the samurai is found in death.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

27. “Samurai are born to die. Death is not a curse to be avoided—but the natural end of all life. Death is not eternal—dishonor is.” – Rick Remender

28. “The samurai who failed his lord suffered dishonor worse than death. There was only one way to erase the disgrace. The samurai must commit seppuku, sometimes called hara-kiri, or belly-slitting. In this horribly painful suicide, the dishonored samurai used a short sword to cut open his belly and release his spirit.” – Virginia Schomp

29. “The samurai swore an oath of loyalty to their leader and would fight to the death to protect him or her. This oath made the samurai even more fearsome on the battlefield because the samurai were not afraid of death.” – Jim Ollhoff

30. “The samurais were very interested in Zen because they admired the tremendous precision that the Zen masters had, their lack of fear and pain and their absolute lack of fear of death.” – Frederick Lenz

31. “Bushido is realized in the presence of death. In the case of having to choose between life and death, you should choose death. There is no other reasoning.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

32. “When in a fight to the death, one wants to employ all one’s weapons to the utmost. I must say that to die with one’s sword still sheathed is most regrettable.” – Miyamoto Musashi

33. “Growing a mustache was one of the disciplines of a samurai so that his head would not be thrown away upon his death.” – Tommy Itohonor

34. “One finds life through conquering the fear of death within one’s mind. Empty the mind of all forms of attachment, make a go-for-broke charge and conquer the opponent with one decisive slash.” – Takenaka Shigekata

Wise Samurai Quotes on Honor

35. “The sword was a very elegant weapon in the days of the samurai. You had honor and chivalry much like the knights, and yet it was a gruesome and horrific weapon.” – Dustin Diamond

36. “Bushido as an independent code of ethics may vanish, but its power will not perish from the earth; its schools of martial prowess or civic honor may be demolished, but its light and its glory will long survive their ruins.” – Inazo Nitobe

37. “Katana, the sword of samurai too, became an integral part of the warriors at that time. As the honor of the samurai resided in his sword, the craftsmanship of making the perfect Katana grew as an art.” – Sreechinth C.

38. “I say, Japan was made by a handful of brave men. Warriors, willing to give their lives for what seems to have become a forgotten word: honor.” – Simon Graham

39. “Native Americans say, ‘It’s a good day to die,’ and samurai live their life to die honorably, so that kind of energy creates a certain mindset of reactiveness with control to a point. And after that, it’s gone.” – Cary- Hiroyuki Tagawa

Also read: Courage Quotes

Samurai Quotes to Unleash Your Inner Warrior

40. “I used to think that to become free you had to practice like a samurai warrior, but now I understand that you have to practice like a devoted mother of a newborn child. It takes the same energy but has a completely different quality. It’s compassion and presence rather than having to defeat the enemy in battle.” – Jack Kornfield

41. “I have a samurai on my left arm. At a subconscious level, I connect to this warrior and model myself on his discipline, skills, and honor.” – Virat Kohli

42. “The story of the samurai warriors charts the rise and fall of the most skilled and courageous group of elite combatants the world has ever seen.” – Tommy Ito

43. “The samurai were warriors in medieval Japan. They were expert fighters, with unsurpassed knowledge of martial arts.” – Jim Ollhoff

44. “I think the champion is like a warrior; it’s like the head knight or lead samurai: humble men of integrity, respect, and honor that treat people kindly.” – Jon Jones

Thought-Provoking Samurai Quotes to Reflect On

45. “A compassionate samurai follows through whether it feels good or not; average people do what they feel like doing.” – Brian Klemmer

46. “A samurai will use a toothpick even though he has not eaten. Inside the skin of a dog, outside the hide of a tiger.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

47. “The way of the samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

48. “The bridge represented the samurai’s difficult path from this world to the afterlife. When you reach the top of the bridge, you can see your way to paradise. I feel as if the past few days have given me a glimpse of that. To simply live a life without fear has been a true paradise.” – Gail Tsukiyama

49. “Being a samurai is all about selfless service and if the lord abuses the servant, it is no longer a situation of service; it becomes the situation of a victim. It is never acceptable for a samurai to be a victim. It is never acceptable to allow a lord to abuse you or rob you of your dignity. In such a situation, it is acceptable to walk away.” – Alexei Maxim Russell

50. “One who was born in the house of a warrior, regardless of his rank or class, first acquaints himself with a man of military feats and achievements in loyalty. Everyone knows that if a man doesn’t hold filial piety toward his own parents he would also neglect his duties toward his lord. Such neglect means a disloyalty toward humanity. Therefore such a man doesn’t deserve to be called ‘samurai.’” – Takeda Shingen

51. “A child born into a samurai family was immersed in warrior culture from its first breath. During its birth a priest, or the baby’s father, pulled a drawstring so that the twanging sound might ward off evil spirits. The future samurai was presented with a small sword talisman to wear from infancy.” – Tommy Ito

52. “Master the divine techniques of the Art of Peace and no enemy will dare to challenge you.” – Morihei Ueshiba

53. “It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the way of the samurai. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

54. “Working on the samurai sword is very different because your body position has to be very still. It’s a much quieter way of fighting.” – Lucy Liu

55. “The word ‘samurai’ translates to ‘those who served.’” – Blake Hoena

56. “Sword and mind must be united. Technique by itself is insufficient, and spirit alone is not enough.” – Yamada Jirokichi

57. “Two of the most remarkable aspects of samurai culture are Bushido, a strict philosophy which places absolute loyalty to the master above all else, and seppuku—ritual suicide, performed in preference to dishonor.” – Tommy Ito

Samurai Quotes That Showcase Their Home Life

58. “Every samurai home had a soothing, artistically designed garden that served as a hideaway for thought and prayer.” – Virginia Schomp

59. “The size of a samurai’s house depended on his rank, but all shared the same basic design.” – Virginia Schomp

60. “The samurai castle is the grandest example of the blending of beauty and practicality in the Japanese arts.” – Virginia Schomp

Samurai Quotes That You Can Learn From

61. “’Samurai’ is not an animated show like you would normally watch on TV. We tell the stories from a different perspective—backward, very nonlinear. It treats it more seriously as an art form.” – Genndy Tartakovsky

62. “The samurai no longer exist. But even today, they capture our imagination with their skill, their loyalty, and their fearlessness.” – Jim Ollhoff

63. “Samurai culture did exist really, for hundreds of years and the notion of people trying to create some sort of a moral code, the idea that there existed certain behaviors that could be celebrated and that could be operative in a life.” – Edward Zwick

64. “My philosophy is the same as a samurai: to hit without getting hit.” – Lyoto Machida

65. “I look at the samurai because they were the artists of their time. What I think struck me when I read Bushido is compassion. ‘If there’s no one there to help, go out and find someone to help.’ That hit me because I try to lead my life like that.” – Tom Cruise

Informative Samurai Quotes for History Enthusiasts

66. “In addition to its importance in informing us about Japanese behavior in general, the history of the samurai is enormously colorful and exciting. No one knows exactly when samurai first appeared in the province of Japan.” – Stephen Turnbull

67. “To a great extent, the story of a samurai has been the story of Japan during most of the past millennium, and it is surely premature to relegate the samurai tradition entirely to the past.” – Stephen Turnbull

68. “Samurai were feudal lords who mostly ruled farmland. But as more and more people moved to larger cities, such as Tokyo, the samurai began to lose their influence and wealth.” – Blake Hoena

69. “As the samurai’s influence grew, so did their status in Japanese society. They went from being professional soldiers to land-owning nobles. The most powerful of these lords were called daimyos.” – Blake Hoena

70. “Within a decade, the new samurai rulers had set Japan firmly on the course of modernization, and though they were obliged in the process to dissolve the feudal privileges of their own class, former samurai in fact became leaders in all areas of modern Japanese society.” – Stephen Turnbull

71. “Despite their largely rustic origins, the samurai much admired the social brilliance and classical culture of the courtiers and sought eagerly to emulate their ways.” – Stephen Turnbull

More Samurai Quotes for You to Enjoy

72. “The increased influence of Zen Buddhism on the samurai culture had a great hand in flourishing art forms. As the country has splintered into many inter-conflicting states, the demand of the warriors raised was that of the Ninja warriors who were experts in unconventional warfare.” – Sreechinth C.

73. “Samurai girls did not receive a formal education, but they were expected to run their husband’s estate while they were away at war.” – Tommy Ito

74. “The person who practices an art is an artist, not a samurai, and one should have the intention of being called a samurai.” – Yamamoto Tsunetomo

75. “A hug from a samurai girl is warmer than a heap of blankets and more meaningful than a pile of words.” – Sandy Fussell

76. “Bushido refers not only to martial rectitude but personal rectitude. We understand that in serving each other we serve our own interests. In serving our world, our world serves us. Allowing us to live in harmony with it.” – Rick Remender

77. “My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail.” – Elon Musk

78. “The flower of flowers is the sakura—Cherry Blossom. The samurai is the man among men.” – Japanese Proverb

79. “There is no solitude greater than the samurai’s unless perhaps it be that of a tiger in the jungle.” – Jean-Pierre Melville

80. “Be a samurai. Because you just never know what’s behind the freaking sky.” – Laini Taylor

Do You Think Bushido Is Still Relevant Today?

Samurai are the military nobility and officers of medieval and early-modern Japan. They used bows and arrows, spears, and guns, but their primary weapon and symbol was the sword.

According to Bushido, they were expected to become more disciplined, respectful, and loyal to one’s master. From the 13th century, samurai conduct was also influenced by Zen Buddhism.

Until today, the samurai and their way of life are still very much looked to as inspiration. They lived by excellent moral standards, so it’s no surprise that the impact of these great warriors is still felt worldwide.

More than being brave, these warriors taught us to have a strong sense of duty, courage, leadership, and respect. With that, we hope our collection was able to encourage you to face life with a prepared body and a disciplined mind. May these quotes serve as a constant reminder that you can and will always win the battle!

Which quotes are your favorites? Share them in the comments section below.

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.