The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War

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Tuttle Publishing, 2008 - History - 208 pages
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The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War brings to life the history behind the courageous and highly disciplined fighting men of early Japan with detailed writing and hundreds of stunning Japanese woodblock prints, illustrations and photographs.

The most enduring traditional image of the samurai is that of the ronin—a lone wanderer, owing allegiance to none but himself, and relying for his continued survival on his skills with he sword. As The Samurai Swordsman reveals, however, that image hides the reality and the diversity of the samurai's long history.

The earliest samurai warriors were in truth aristocratic mounted archers, not swordsmen. Only as the Japanese archer gave way to the mounted spearman did swordsmanship came into play. Military expert Stephen Turnbull details how the history of the legacy of the samurai unrolled over the centuries in a multifaceted, richly elaborate tapestry of war, society, and tradition.

Turnbull combines primary sources and striking, beautiful images to reveal for today's reader who—and what—the samurai actually were. A variety of fascinating aspects are brought to light: exciting first hand accounts of the Mongol Invasions of Japan in the late 1200s, when the fearsome reputation of these Japanese fighters began its spread over the world; samurai codes of loyalty and vengeance, expressed by the Igagoe Vendetta, the Forty–seven Ronin, and many others; and the role of women in Japanese swordsmanship, including Tomoe Gozen, the legendary Beautiful Samurai.

From the first recorded use of the word samurai in the eighth century AD to the final wars the swordsmen waged in resistance to the Meiji government, The Samurai Swordsman demonstrates how and why the samurai continue to hold the world's attention.
  

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In depth, analytical, but very accessible. An extreme help to anyone looking for a larger understanding of the relations between the Samurai and the larger world.

Contents

Preface
8
Samurai Arms and Armor
16
The Samurai Battle
22
HandtoHand Fighting
30
The First Mongol Invasion
36
The Pirates Return
42
Sword and Spear
48
The Sword in Battle
57
Sword and Sensei
86
Ryuha and Rivalry
94
The Fight for Succession
100
Sword of Peace
160
Classifying the Martial Arts
166
Chiba Shusaku
174
Sword of Revolution
180
Their Finest Hour
187

The Wolf and the Deer
63
The Unwelcome Combat
70
Tsukahara Bokuden
76
The Satsuma Rebellion
194
Glossary
201
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Stephen Turnbull is the author of more than 50 books on the military history of Europe and the Far East, and works as a consultant on all aspects of Japanese culture. He is currently Lecturer in Japanese Religion at the Department of East Asian Studies at Leeds University.

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