The Samurai and the Sacred

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Bloomsbury USA, Oct 31, 2006 - History - 224 pages
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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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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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