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Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai (Illustrated Edition) Kindle Edition
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A formerly secret text known only to the Samurai, Hagakure is a classic text on Bushido--the Way of the Warrior. More than just a handbook for battle, Hagakure is a text that filled with teachings that still apply in business, political and social situations today.
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.
Note: This is an illustrated edition of the book for an engaging read.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Negligence is an extreme thing.
The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one's aim is to die a dog's death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one's aim.
We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaining one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.
A warrior should be careful in all things and should dislike to be the least bit worsted. Above all, if he is not careful in his choice of words he may say things like, "I'm a coward," or "At that time I'd probably run," or "How frightening,'' or "How painful." These are words that should not be said even in jest, on a whim, or when talking in one's sleep. If a person with understanding hears such things, he will see to the bottom of the speaker's heart. This is something that should be carefully thought about beforehand.
In the words of the ancients, one should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths. Lord Takanobu said, "If discrimination is long, it will spoil." Lord Naoshige said, "When matters are done leisurely, seven out of ten will turn out badly. A warrior is a person who does things quickly."
When your mind is going hither and thither, discrimination will never be brought to a conclusion. With an intense, fresh and undelaying spirit, one will make his judgments within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B018GX1ADS
- Publication date : November 23, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 1088 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 104 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1456303759
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #688,911 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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1 star for Kindle version, 5 for the hardcopy
Though there were a few words that were badly misspelled and somewhat confusing at first ( ie. "pot" in place of "got" "gut" for "cut") it was still easy to follow once you got past the misspelled words and worked out their true meaning. However, the content of the book was what I sought. I have read it in a matter of a couple of weeks, though it could be read in a day without interruption. But to read it quickly would be unwise. You'd miss much of what is really being said. I will read this book again in a month's time and try to absorb more of it's wisdom from the a true mast of his age.
Some parts of the book will sound exceedingly misogynistic and weird to our ears, but those are the parts you should pay attention to if you deal with the Japanese. Others are rather entertaining, and yet other are off the wall.
In summary, if you are interested in an unfiltered glimpse into the mind of a samurai turned clerk and in getting some insight into the way the Japanese view the world to this day, Hagakure is definitely worth your time!
Bushido: The Way of the Warrior is the Way of Death
I could see this book becoming easily misunderstood. It brims with warrior energy--especially beneficial for someone going through a particularly low or troubling period of their life where they need some motivation and can vicariously appreciate the struggles of others.
The simple message of the book is this: in order to master yourself you need to kill your self.
What does that mean? It doesn't mean suicide. Far from it--in fact it is the opposite: it is a birth or a rebirthing. What we are killing is that part of ourselves which confuses our values, which puts us in tension with ourselves: the ego. In the words of Guru Prem, Tsunetomo is asking that the EGO become an AMIGO. It is TAMING THE WILD HORSE--and, subsequently, breaking her.
The style is aphoristic. That means its EASY to digest and SIMPLE to navigate. You an really pick it up anywhere and read it from that point. It is not a linear and progressing narrative. You could read it completely out of order. This is great because Tsunetomo gets right to the point.
Check my blog post about it for a full detail of the points the book makes:
Top reviews from other countries
Running headlong into battle, the Yakuza are no longer an issue for this small village... I may however need to explain the dead boatman I cut down and beat to death for daring to not address me as "sire" as I passed him at the docks.
In terms of content, a lot of the thoughts are very insightful, timeless and still relevant. His thoughts on event randomness looks a bit like a 300 year older Taleb ( Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets ). On the other hand some of the other thoughts appear somewhat random, short, almost haiku-like.
Unlike the other samurai treatises I have read, Hagakure touches on more topics but brushes them more lightly - so yo will have thoughts on the role of the wife, upbringing of offspring and homosexuality.
While you can pick it up, open on a random page and read, like mentioned by other reviewers and therefore makes it good as a gift, I still much prefer Musashi Miyamoto's The Book of Five Rings . It might be more accessible to a Western audience, or it might be that the completeness and structure just works much better. I suppose if you have not read much samurai writing, The Book of Five Rings might be an easier initiation to the topic, too.