Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
About the Author
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.