“An Interview with Endô Seishirô Shihan by Aiki News” by Daniel Nishina & Akiya Hideo

“Japanese people have a tendency to attach “-dô” to everything. This can be seen not only with budô but also with sadô (or chadô, the art of tea ceremony) and kadô (the art of flower arrangement), for instance. We even hear of sumô-dô, salaryman-dô, keiei-dô (the way of business). People attach “-dô” to various aspects and activities of our lives in order to give them special meaning or to distinguish them as areas of mastery. Yet, I don’t think many people, including myself, really know what “dô” is. At some point I began to wonder why there were to ways to say one thing e.g. budô/bujutsu, kendô/kenjutsu, jûdô/jûjutsu, aikidô/aikijutsu, and thus started to explore the difference in meaning.

I feel I more or less have a grasp of the meaning of “jutsu,” but when it comes to “dô,” I feel it means something immense, deep, wide, and unclear. In my desire to somehow make it clearer, I sought books relating to Taoism, Lao-tzu (Lao-zi) and Chuang-tzu (Zhuang-zi). Tao can also be found in Confucianism and its virtues: Jin (仁, humanity), Gi (義, righteousness), Rei (礼, propriety), Chi (智, wisdom), Shin (信, faithfulness). It is said that Tao is to seek and realize, and thereby equip the self with, these virtues. We might say that this is “Tao for the people.””

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  1. Do, as also is Tao, is rather simple, two characters
    Way, Road (188)

    Left part of kanji is movement (129), while right part of kanji is head or chief (139) but is actually used phonetically to express direct, suggesting the idea of chief/main. So, chief means of direct movement, meaning main road. Also used figuratively as an abstract way (to enlightenment etc.).(retrieved online, 2009, from: So, it is the main road, the main path, the main movement (through life). Although it has it’s esoteric meanings, it is a lot more practical. There is an old saying, a man goes up to the sage, and says, “what is the meaning of life.” the sage replies, “I’m going fishing,” and gets in his boat and rows away…” the true expression of tao is to live life, the main road.

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