The Samurai and the Sacred

Front Cover
Osprey, 2009 - History - 224 pages
3 Reviews
The fierce loyalty and self-sacrificing attitude of the samurai have made them both a legend and a cult. Although their military prowess and skills in the martial arts have been studied exhaustively, an understanding of their belief system still eludes many. This original work examines the spiritual world of the samurai, from their attachment to Japan's mainstream religions of Shinto and Buddhism to their involvement in Confucianism, Christianity, and Folk Religion.

Samurai expert Stephen Turnbull examines important topics such as Zen and the martial arts, modern militarism, the cult of the sword, revenge and suicide, hara kiri and kamikaze pilots. He also looks at the fascinating issue history of Japan's Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians), as well as the growing cult status of the samurai both in Japan and in the West.

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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 (2009)

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 currently 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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