When the third Tokugawa Shogun Iemitsu consulted military retainers in charge of the warriors' formation in the Kii clan concerning the essence of successful strategy, their answer was one of pragmattic simplicity: "One should never ponder!" The decision, after all, had already been made elsewhere by others. Their task was to obey.
In order to enable the warrior to overcome any mental impasse due to man's natural fear of death, he had to be trained to think of himself as a man whose life was not his own. The samurai were often protrayed as a tragic figure caught in the web of a blind cult of death to which he adhered to faithfully. The Bushido, the famous code of the warrior, was indeed a code of death. Hence, the warrior was always prepared for a sudden and violent end. His whole life as a warrior in the service of a military leader was a constant reminder of this. A European visitor in the 16th century wrote "There is no nation in the world which fears death less."
This conditioning towards death began in childhood for the young samurai. They were exposed to harsh extremes and sent on difficult and dangerous errands. His fear of death and the supernatural was reduced by sending him to cemetaries and places of execution at night, even while very young. Physical pain had to be endured without betraying any emotion, and the young warrior's conditioning even included careful training to prepare him for the ceremony of suicide known as hara-kiri (abdomen cutting) or seppuku (a more refined term).