Hagakure: The Book of the Samauri

Hagakure: The Book of the Samauri

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by Tsunetomo Yamamoto
     
 

|Hagakure ("In the Shadow of Leaves"') is a manual for the samurai classes consisting of a series of short anecdotes and reflections that give both insight and instruction-in the philosophy and code of behavior that foster the true spirit of Bushido-the Way of the Warrior. It is not a book of philosophy as most would understand the word: it is a

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Overview

|Hagakure ("In the Shadow of Leaves"') is a manual for the samurai classes consisting of a series of short anecdotes and reflections that give both insight and instruction-in the philosophy and code of behavior that foster the true spirit of Bushido-the Way of the Warrior. It is not a book of philosophy as most would understand the word: it is a collection of thoughts and sayings recorded over a period of seven years, and as such covers a wide variety of subjects, often in no particular sequence.

The work represents an attitude far removed from our modern pragmatism and materialism, and posesses an intuitive rather than rational appeal in its assertion that Bushido is a Way of Dying, and that only a samurai retainer prepared and willing to die at any moment can be totally true to his lord. While Hagakure was for many years a secret text known only to the warrior vassals of the Hizen fief to which the author belonged, it later came to be recognized as a classic exposition of samurai thought and came to influence many subsequent generations, including Yukio Mishima.

This translation offers 300 selections that constitute the core texts of the 1,300 present in the original.

Editorial Reviews

Choice
Yamamoto brought together three temperaments: loyalty to his master, a literary sensibility, and the enlightenment of Zen.
New York Review of Books
A Classic of Japanese thought...Poetic, robust...a feast of aphorisms and martial anecdotes.
East West Journal
The most influential of all samurai treatises ever written.—Prof. Ivan Morris

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9784770011060
Publisher:
Kodansha USA Publishing
Publication date:
10/13/2000
Series:
Way of the Warrior Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
180
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 4.30(h) x 0.60(d)

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What People are saying about this

Jim Jarmusch
HAGAKURE became a kind of magical discovery for me, and ‘hidden under its leaves’ were some important gifts.

Meet the Author

YAMAMOTO TSUNETOMO [1659-1719] was a samurai retainer of the Nabeshima Clan, Lords of Hizen province, who became a Buddhist monk in 1700 after the Shogunate government prohibited the practice of tsuifuku: suicide of a retainer on the death of his lord. The book was dictated to a younger samurai during the author's seclusion over a seven year period.

WILLIAM SCOTT WILSON, the translator, took his B.A. at Dartmouth College, graduated as a Japanese specialist from the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies, and received his M.A. in Japanese literature from the University of Washington. He became acquainted with Japan at first-hand in 1966 on a coastal expedition-by kayak-from the western Japanese port of Sasebo to Tokyo. He later lived in the potter's village of Bizen, studied as a special student at Aichi Prefectural University, and was a counselor at the Japanese Consulate-General in Seattle. He now lives in his native Florida.

Among his highly regarded translations of original works of literature are The Unfettered Mind, The Roots of Wisdom: Saikontan, and Taiko.

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