Legends of the Samurai

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1995 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 432 p. Audience: General/trade. hardcover, new dust jacket, covers as new with sharp ... corners, pages clean and unmarked, tight binding as unread (clean page edge). Free Post Office Delivery Confirmation. Shipped in a padded envelope and packaged in bubble wrap. Read more Show Less

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In Legends of the Samurai, Sato confronts both the history and the legend of the samurai, untangling the two to present an authentic picture of these legendary warriors. Through his masterful translations of original samurai tales, laws, dicta, reports, and arguments accompanied by insightful commentary, Hiroaki Sato chronicles the changing ethos of the Japanese warrior from the samurai's historical origins to his rise to political power. For this purpose, Sato has chosen to translate, wherever possible, writings closest in time to the actual event. His translations are a testament to his mastery of the language for they flow with lively ease that one might not expect from accounts, many of which are ancient. Legends of the Samurai covers legends from mythological times to the early eighteenth century. Through this book Sato describes men accomplished in martial arts, warrior-commanders in battle, and samurai's own views of themselves. It ends with a famous modern retelling of a mass disembowelment in the mid-seventeenth century.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Sato, the editor and translator of One Hundred Frogs (LJ 4/15/83), has compiled an interesting collection of stories about Japan's warrior class, the samurai. In translations that seek to capture the nuances of the original, Sato illustrates the evolving ethos of the samurai class over a period of 1000 years. In choosing a story to illuminate an incident, Sato selected the version closest in time to the event rather than a more modern retelling. This gives his collection a sense of immediacy and authenticity that is often missing in translations that attempt to recast stories for a Western audience. The value of this work lies in the way it illuminates a non-Western cultural tradition-a way of thinking and acting that may seem alien. It offers a rare look into the mindset of Japan's warrior aristocracy. Recommended for academic and public libraries with a strong reader interest in this area.-Robert James Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879516192
  • Publisher: Overlook
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.45 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.45 (d)

Meet the Author

HIROAKI SATO is a poet, translator, and journalist, as well as an adjunct professor at UMASS Amherst. The winner of the PEN translation prize and the former president of the Haiku Society of America, he also translated The Sword and the Mind, published by Overlook. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Notes
Genealogy of the Minamoto Clan
Yamato Takeru: Loser as Hero (Fourth century A.D.) 3
Yorozu: "I Wanted to Show My Bravery!" (587) 13
Otomo no Yakamochi: To Die by Our Sovereign's Side (Poem written in 749) 16
Minamoto no Mitsuru and Taira no Yoshifumi: The Duel (Mid-10th century) 19
Minamoto no Mitsunaka: Warrior's Conversion (Incident ca. 975) 22
Fujiwara no Yasumasa and Hakamadare: Presence of Mind 30
Muraoka no Goro and Hakamadare: To Know When to be Alert 34
Taira no Koremochi, a.k.a. General Yogo: "Did You Bring His Head?" 37
Kanetada and Koremochi: Meaning of Revenge 47
Tachibana no Norimitsu: "What Splendid Swordsmanship!" with a description of the same man as viewed by Sei Shonagon, author of The Pillow Book 52
Sakanoue no Haruzumi: A Warrior's Shame 59
Minamoto no Raiko: Alert and Penetrating 61
Guardian Kings and The Oxcart: a Comic Interlude, with an account of the origin of Haniwa 65
Minamoto no Yorinobu: "Let Your Little Kid be Stabbed to Death!" 71
Raiko and Others: Tales of Archery 80
Taira no Munetsune: The Silent One 88
Taira no Sadatsuna: When Not to Risk Your Life 91
Minamoto no Yoshiie: "The Samurai of the Greatest Bravery Under Heaven" 95
Minamoto no Yoshitsune: A Hero Hounded 110
Kusunoki Masashige: A Guerrilla of Unflinching Loyalty 157
Ko no Moronao: "When a Samurai Falls in Love" 188
Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin: Two Warlords 204
Oda Nobunaga: The Warlord and Poetry 232
Hojo Soun: "Lord Soun's Twenty-one Articles" 249
Miyamoto Musashi: Gorin no Sho (Book of Five Elements) 254
Arai Hakuseki: "My Father" 273
Yamamoto Tsunetomo: Hagakure (Hidden in Leaves) 287
The Forty-Seven Samurai: An Eyewitness Account, with Arguments 304
"The Abe Family" by Mori Ogai 341
Bibliography 380
Index of Important Figures 389
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2006

    A wide variety of stories

    A rivitting plethora of stories, from the early years of the samurai to Nobunaga's death. And unlike Three Kingdom's, There's not a feast on every other page. It's mostly a educational novel to me, but someone else might not agree.

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