The Samurai and the Sacred

Front Cover
Osprey, 2006 - History - 224 pages
3 Reviews
The samurai were celebrated warriors, but they were also deeply spiritual men whose religious beliefs sustained and inspired their forays into battle. In this entirely original work, Stephen Turnbull, a leading authority on Japanese history and author of more than 50 books, reveals the soul of the samurai in a thoughtful exploration of the religions and philosophies that motivated them. Drawing inspiration from all manners of belief systems – from Japan’s mainstream religions of Shinto and Buddhism, to Confucianism, Christianity, and Folk Religion – the samurai were fascinating men who often valued their honor above their lives.
THE SAMURAI AND THE SACRED is strikingly illustrated with lavish Japanese prints and vibrant photographs. A provocative study, it includes chapters on martial arts, modern militarism, the cult of the sword, revenge, suicide, hara kiri and kamikaze pilots. THE SAMURAI AND THE SACRED is a compelling read that provides insight into Japanese culture, philosophy, and warfare.

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Review: The Samurai and the Sacred

User Review  - Artur Alves - Goodreads

As another commenter noted, this book is about the history of religious belief in Japan, rather than a monograph on samurai religion. Of course, both aspects blend together in most sections, which ... Read full review

Review: The Samurai and the Sacred

User Review  - Chris Cangiano - Goodreads

Excellent introduction to the development and practice of the various religious traditions in Japan. Beautifully illustrated as well. Recommended Read full review

About the author (2006)

Stephen Turnbull took his first degree at Cambridge University, and received a PhD from Leeds University for his work on Japanese religious history. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the Far East and also runs a well-used picture library. His work has been recognised by the awarding of the Canon Prize of the British Association for Japanese Studies and a Japan Festival Literary Award. He divides his time between lecturing in Japanese Religion at the University of Leeds and writing. The author lives in Leeds, UK.

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