CompleteMartialArts.com - Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
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Manufacturer: Kodansha International
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Binding: Hardcover Dewey Decimal Number: 796 EAN: 9784770029164 ISBN: 4770029160 Label: Kodansha International Manufacturer: Kodansha International Number Of Items: 1 Number Of Pages: 192 Publication Date: 2002-08-30 Publisher: Kodansha International Studio: Kodansha International
Hagakure ("In the Shadow of Leaves") is a manual for the samurai classes consisting of a series of short anecdotes and reflections that give both insight and instruction-in the philosophy and code of behavior that foster the true spirit of Bushido-the Way of the Warrior. It is not a book of philosophy as most would understand the word: it is a collection of thoughts and sayings recorded over a period of seven years, and as such covers a wide variety of subjects, often in no particular sequence. The work represents an attitude far removed from our modern pragmatism and materialism, and possesses an intuitive rather than rational appeal in its assertion that Bushido is a Way of Dying, and that only a samurai retainer prepared and willing to die at any moment can be totally true to his lord. While Hagakure was for many years a secret text known only to the warrior vassals of the Hizen fief to which the author belonged, it later came to be recognized as a classic exposition of samurai thought and came to influence many subsequent generations, including Yukio Mishima. This translation offers 300 selections that constitute the core texts of the 1,300 present in the original. Hagakure was featured prominently in the film Ghost Dog, by Jim Jarmusch.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: Ghost Dog Comment: This book has gained its notoriety from Jim Jarmusch's excellent movie "Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai". Personally, I would purchase this book anyway, because I'm fascinated about the samurai and their philosophy. I love it. Customer Rating: Summary: A very big disappointment Comment: This is a great book however the problem lies with in ther traanslation. the problem is that only 300 of the 1300 phrases were translated. Although this translation gives the basic message that Master Tsunetomo was trying to get a cross you can not truly absorb thius book with out reading everything that Master Tsunetomo intended you to read. Also the entire 5th chapter is left out of this translation. I would recomend to everyone to find a better translation than this one. Customer Rating: Summary: As much on compassion as on strength Comment: 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 become a monk after the death of his 'Master' in 1700. By 1716 the conversations ended, the result was a large manuscript. Hagakure is a compilation or thread of the most meaningful and 'best' of the manuscript.
The book is a mix of advice, stories, Buddhist teachings and koans, and direction on how to be the best samurai possible. As is more realistic and pure samurai teachings, this focuses less on swordplay than do most of the contemporary 20th and 21st century movies. The book is very much about loyalty--so much so that it is bound to conflict with modern and especially American views of independence, bootstrapping, etc.
Because it is written in small chunks without a specific plot or flow, I found the book to be great as a 'daily reader'. The author seems very calm, sane and without anger, and while I suspect no one would call him Enlightened, it reads without malice. From a Buddhist perspective, I had good luck replacing the word 'master' with 'compassion' and it worked almost seamlessly as a Buddhist reading meditation. Customer Rating: Summary: A Great Book! Comment: I loved it. It's an enjoyable read, full of great stories and full of insights. When I first read this book back in 1998, it had a tremendous impact on my life. It allowed me to view things from a different perspective. I will continue to recommend it to everyone. I also highly recommend the modern day version Understanding: Train of Thought. Customer Rating: Summary: A classic! Comment: This is one of the best historical texts available on the subject of Japanese warrior philosophy. While many of its practices seem alien to the 21st century reader, there is still much wisdom to be found here. I have read this book many times over the years. I will very likely continue to read it again and again.Bushido: A Modern Adaptation of the Ancient Code of the SamuraiMeditations (Penguin Classics)