Samurai were the hereditary military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan from the 12th century to their abolition in the 1870s. Inspirational samurai quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.
If you’re searching for quotes about strength in hard times and dark quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of powerful emotional intelligence quotes, encouraging control quotes, and famous challenge quotes.
Most Famous Samurai Quotes
Self-respect is the fruit of discipline. – Abraham J. Heschel
Honour may not win power, but it wins respect. And respect earns power. – Ishida Mitsunari
I worshipped dead men for their strength, forgetting I was strong. – Vita Sackville-West
A warrior is worthless unless he rises above others and stands strong in the midst of a storm. – Yamamoto Tsunetomo
I have found that the way of the samurai is death. This means that when you are compelled to choose between life and death, you must quickly choose death. – Yamamoto Tsunetomo
There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything. – Yamamoto Tsunetomo
The samurai who failed his lord suffered a 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
A samurai was essentially a man of action. – Inazo Nitobe
Sword and mind must be united. Technique by itself is insufficient, and spirit alone is not enough. – Yamada Jirokichi
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
Fighting isn’t all there is to the Art of War. The men who think that way, and are satisfied to have food to eat and a place to sleep, are mere vagabonds. A serious student is much more concerned with training his mind and disciplining his spirit than with developing martial skills. – Eiji Yoshikawa
A samurai should always be prepared for death – whether his own or someone else’s. – Stan Sakai
Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength. – Frances de Sales
Where do you begin? Perfect is a good place to start. We must always focus on improving things that are already perfect. – J. Viol
You can always die. It’s living that takes real courage. – Himura Kenshin
Engage in combat fully determined to die and you will be alive; wish to survive in the battle and you will surely meet death. – Uesugi Kenshin
Working on the samurai sword is very different because your body position has to be very still. It’s a much quieter was of fighting. – Lucy Liu
The samurai is the first to suffer anxiety for human society, and he is the last to seek personal pleasure. – Morihei Ueshiba
The way of the Samurai is found in death. – Yamamoto Tsunetomo
My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail. – Elon Musk
Be a Samurai.
Because you just never know what’s behind the freaking sky. – Laini Taylor
We make war that we may live in peace. – Aristotle
To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. – General George Washington
He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened. – Tao Te Ching
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
Where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valor to dare to live. – Thomas Browne
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
Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie. – Miyamoto Musashi
Vive la mort, vive la guerre, vive le sacre mercenaire. (Long live death, long live war, long live the cursed mercenary.) – Mercenary marching cadence and toast.
One mind, any weapon. – Hunter B. Armstrong
Civilize the mind but make savage the body. – Chairman Mao
One thousand days of lessons for discipline; ten thousand days of lessons for mastery. – Miyamoto Musashi
The way of the warrior does not include other ways…but if you know the way broadly you will see it in everything. – Miyamoto Musashi
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
To die as a warrior means to have crossed swords and either won or lost without any consideration for winning or losing. – Miyamoto Musashi
Short Samurai Quotes
The true meaning of the samurai is one who serves and adheres to the power of love. – Morihei Ueshiba
The samurai always has to rise and move on, because new challenges will come. – Lyoto Machida
The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life’s questions. – Miyamoto Musashi
Generally speaking, the way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. – Miyamoto Musashi
When following the way, do not be afraid of dying.
Without Knowledge, Skill cannot be focused. Without Skill, Strength cannot be brought to bear and without Strength, Knowledge may not be applied. – Alexander the Great’s Chief Physician
Fear is the true opiate of combat.
To a real warrior, power perceived may be power achieved.
Everyone feels fear. What a samurai or warrior is, is what you do when you feel fear. – Enson Inoue
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
A samurai must remain calm at all times even in the face of danger. – Chris Bradford
Act like a man of thought – Think like a man of action. – Thomas Mann
It is a brave act of valor to condemn death, but where life is more terrible than death it is then the truest valor to dare to live. – Sir Thomas Brown
Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. – Buddha .
The word Samurai itself is a synonym as they are the great ferocious aristocratic warriors in the history of the country. – Sreechinth C.
I seek not only to follow in the footsteps of the men of old, I seek the things they sought.
That which doesn’t kill me, will make me stronger!
We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training
I have a high art, I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me. – Archilocus, 650 B.C.
You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain. – Miyamoto Musashi
Control your anger. If you have anger towards others, they control you. – Miyamoto Musashi
The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight, and the only reason a warrior fights is to win. Otherwise, why be a warrior? It is easier to count beads. – Miyamoto Musashi
Under the sword lifted high, there is hell making you tremble. But go ahead, and you have the land of bliss. – Miyamoto Musashi
You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day, as though a fire were raging in your hair. – Taisen Deshimaru
Samurai Quotes on Courage, Death and Life
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 re-activeness with control to a point. And after that, it’s gone. – Cary- Hiroyuki Tagawa
From a mere peasant, Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose to one of the three key men in restoring peace and unity in the country. Though was born out of the noble families of the traditional Samurai bloodline, his tactics and skills on and off the battlefield made him the ruler of major part of Japan. – Sreechinth C.
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
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
Given enough time, any man may master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man may become wise. It is the true warrior who can master both….and surpass the result. – Tien T’ai
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 a neglect means a disloyalty toward humanity. Therefore such a man doesn’t deserve to be called ‘Samurai’. – Takeda Shingen
Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery. Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice. The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of love. – Morihei Ueshiba
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
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 ten thouasand men. – Yoshida Shoin
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
Unless you do your best, the day will come when, tired and hungry, you will halt just short of the goal you were ordered to reach, and by halting you will make useless the efforts and deaths of thousands. – Gen. George S. Patton
As a samurai, I must strengthen my character; as a human being I must perfect my spirit. – Yamaoka Tesshu
The way of the samurai is found in death. When it comes to either or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. – Nabeshima Naoshige
In addition to its importance in informing us about Japanese behaviour 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
The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer.
True strength is the flower of Wisdom, but its seed is action.
Immature strategy is the cause of grief. – Miyamoto Musashi
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
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
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
The approach to combat and everyday life should be the same. – Miyamoto Musashi
Study hard an all things can be accomplished. Give up, and you will amount to nothing. – Yamaoka Tesshu
Some Warriors look fierce, but are mild. Some seem timid, but are vicious. Look beyond appearances; position yourself for the advantage. – Deng Ming-Dao
Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it.
I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger. – Mencius
Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay it’s price. – Sun Tzu
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
This is almost the most famous story The last samurai – Samurai story – in Japan. – Hiroyuki Sanada
Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow is but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day. – Sanskrit Proverb
I don’t get over the wonder of it, and ‘The Last Samurai’ was an extreme example of that. Every day when I went to the set, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. – Tony Goldwyn
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. – Confucius
Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant. – Tsukahara Bokuden.
The flower of flowers is the Sakura – Cherry Blossom. The Samurai is the man among men. – Japanese proverb
War is not about who is right, it is about who is left.
Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole body and soul can be a true master. For this reason, mastery demands all of a person.
Talk is easy – ACTION is difficult. Action is easy – TRUE UNDERSTANDING is difficult!
And against all the odds She stood up like the last samurai on the battleground She raised up like high tides on the full moon She shined up like an alpha Centauri She ignited like a tequila on the first sip She fiereced like the alpha of the pack And the whole world craved for her like the water on the Mars. – Survenya Sinnasamy
The say Japan was made by a sword. They sat the old gods dipped a coral blade into the ocean, and when they pulled it out, four perfect drops fell back into the sea, and those drops became the islands of Japan. 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
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. – Togo Shigekata.
The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon. Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind. – Yagyu Jubei
You might as well stand and fight because if you run, you will only die tired – Vern Jocque-Sei Shin Kan.
It is easy to kill someone with a slash of a sword. It is hard to be impossible for others to cut down – Yagyu Munenori
When the World is at Peace, a gentleman keeps his Sword by his side. – Wu Tsu
Master the divine techniques of the Art of Peace and no enemy will dare to challenge you. – Ueshiba
It is the very mind itself that leads the mind astray; Of the mind, Do not be mindless.
In the beginners mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few – Suzuki
To practice Zen or the Martial Arts, you must live intensely, wholeheartedly, without reserve – as if you might die in the next instant – Taisen Deshimaru
The Ultimate Warrior leaves no openings – Except in his mind. – Seishinkan ITP
When the Way comes to an end, then change – having changed, you pass through. – I Ching
The more you sweat in training, the less you will bleed in battle. – Motto of Navy Seals
The Way lies at hand yet it is sought afar off; the thing lies in the easy yet it is sought in the difficult. – Mencius
To think, I will not think – This, too, is something in one’s thoughts. Simply do not think about not thinking at all. – Takuan
Use your head, or somebody else might.
The dance of battle is always played to the same impatient rhythm. What begins in a surge of violent motion is always reduced to the perfectly still. – Sun Tzu
Not to borrow the strength of another, nor to rely on one’s own strength; to cut off past and future thoughts, and not to live within the everyday mind… then the Great Way is right before your eyes. – Yamamoto Tsunetomo
SHUCHU RYOKU – Focus all your energy to one point. – Shioda Gozo
Ultimately, you must forget about technique. The further you progress, the fewer teachings there are. The Great Path is really NO PATH. – Ueshiba Morihei
When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target. – Unknown
The no-mind not-thinks no-thoughts about no-things. – The Buddha
Victory goes to the one who has no thought of himself.- Shinkage School of Swordsmanship
JIU YOKU GO O SEI SURU – Flexibility Masters Hardness
See first with your mind, then with your eyes, and finally with your body – Yagyu Munenori
Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself – Chinese Proverb
When the student is ready, the Master appears. – Buddhist Proverb
Be master OF mind rather than mastered BY mind – Zen Saying
All men can see these tactics wereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. – Sun Tzu
All warfare is based on deception. – Sun Tzu
For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. – Sun Tzu
Humble Samurai Quotes
I don’t believe a champion is the biggest, baddest, meanest dude in the world. 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
Greatness is not the absence of humility; it is the absence of apathy. – Erwin Raphael McManus
He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious. – Sun Tzu
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious. – Sun Tzu
Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. – Sun Tzu
If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril. – Sun Tzu
If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near. – Sun Tzu
If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. – Sun Tzu
Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack. – Sun Tzu
Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories. – Sun Tzu
Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge. – Sun Tzu
Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance. – Sun Tzu
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. – Sun Tzu
The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. – Sun Tzu
Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy. – Sun Tzu
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. – Sun Tzu