Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

Front Cover
Shambhala Publications, May 15, 2012 - Sports & Recreation - 200 pages
7 Reviews
Living and dying with bravery and honor is at the heart of Hagakure, a series of texts written by an eighteenth-century samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo. It is a window into the samurai mind, illuminating the concept of bushido (the Way of the Warrior), which dictated how samurai were expected to behave, conduct themselves, live, and die. While Hagakure was for many years a secret text known only to the warrior vassals of the Nabeshima clan to which the author belonged, it later came to be recognized as a classic exposition of samurai thought.

The original Hagakure consists of over 1,300 short texts that Tsunetomo dictated to a younger samurai over a seven-year period. William Scott Wilson has selected and translated here three hundred of the most representative of those texts to create an accessible distillation of this guide for samurai. No other translator has so thoroughly and eruditely rendered this text into English.

For this edition, Wilson has added a new introduction that casts Hagakure in a different light than ever before. Tsunetomo refers to bushido as "the Way of death," a description that has held a morbid fascination for readers over the years. But in Tsunetomo’s time, bushido was a nuanced concept that related heavily to the Zen concept of muga, the "death" of the ego. Wilson’s revised introduction gives the historical and philosophical background for that more metaphorical reading of Hagakure, and through this lens, the classic takes on a fresh and nuanced appeal.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
3
4 stars
0
3 stars
2
2 stars
1
1 star
1

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - shawnd - LibraryThing

This book was scribed by a younger samurai who sat basically at the deathbed of the samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo. For seven years, the scribe sat and had conversations with Tsunetomo. Tsunetomo had ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HoraceSPatoot - LibraryThing

This book was a disappointment, perhaps because I expected something along the lines of the Art of War or The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin No Sho) that would have relevance to today's urban warrior ... Read full review

Contents

From the 1st Chapter
3
From the 2nd Chapter
51
From the 3rd Chapter
77
From the 8th Chapter
99
From the 9th Chapter
117
From the 11th Chapter
143
Late Night Idle Talk
157
Bibliography
171
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

William Scott Wilson is the foremost translator into English of traditional Japanese texts on samurai culture. His best-selling translations include Hagakure and The Book of Five Rings.

Bibliographic information