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Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samuraiby Yamamoto Tsunetomo
Synopses & Reviews
The principal pillars of Bushido—the Samurai warrior's code—are loyalty, filial piety, bravery and mercy. Tsunetomo Yamamoto, the author of the Hagakure, lived his life based on these principles and was willing to sacrifice his own life for them when his liege and master died. However, Shogunate law forbade Samurai retainers from taking their lives in this way, so Yamamoto became a monk instead—spending the last years of his life in seclusion recording his wisdom and insights in the Hagakure for the teaching and training of future Samurai warriors in the essence of Bushido.
Written nearly 300 years ago, the Hagakure is one of the most influential of all Japanese texts. Its power has been felt throughout the world, and yet its existence is barely known to Westerners. Alexander Bennett's completely new and highly readable translation of this essential work is the most complete version of the Hagakure published to date. This is the first translation to include the entire first two books of the Hagakure, and the most authentic passages of the third book. It contains extensive footnotes that fill in many cultural and historical gaps found in previous translations.
The combination of readability and scholarship gives Bennett's translation a distinct advantage over all earlier English editions of this work. Reading this compendium of tales by a faithful and devoted Samurai provides unique insights into the nature of Samurai service and the warrior's role in Japanese history and society.
The Hagakure is one of the most influential of all Japanese texts—written nearly 300 years ago by Yamamoto Tsunetomo to summarize the very essence of the Japanese Samurai bushido ("warrior") spirit. Its influence has been felt throughout the world and yet its existence is scarcely known to many Westerners. This is the first translation to include the complete first two books of the Hagakure and the most reliable and authentic passages contained within the third book; all other English translations published previously have been extremely fragmentary and incomplete.
Alex Bennett's completely new and highly readable translation of this essential work includes extensive footnotes that serve to fill in many cultural and historical gaps in the previous translations. This unique combination of readability and scholarship gives Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai a distinct advantage over all previous English editions.
About the Author
Alexander Bennett holds doctorates from the University of Canterbury and Kyoto University. He has worked for the International Research Center for Japanese Studies and is currently Associate Professor at Kansai University's Department of International Affairs. He lectures frequently on Japanese martial culture and is Vice President of the International Naginata Federation and a committee member of the All Japan Kendo Federation, as well as director of the Japanese Academy of Budo. He is also head coach of New Zealand Kendo. His recent publications include Naginata: the Definitive Guide, Budo Perspectives, The History and Spirit of Budo and The Bushido That Japanese Don't Know (in Japanese).
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History and Social Science » World History » Japan