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Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Square One Classics)

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Author: Tsunetomo Yamamoto

Brand: Square One Publishers

Color: Green

Edition: Tra


  • Ships from Vermont

Binding: Paperback

Number Of Pages: 109

Release Date: 01-10-2001

Details: Product Description In eighteenth-century Japan, Tsunetomo Yamamoto created the Hagakure, a document that served as the basis for samurai warrior behavior. Its guiding principles greatly influenced the Japanese ruling class and shaped the underlying character of the Japanese psyche, from businessmen to soldiers. Bushido is the first English translation of this work. It provides a powerful message aimed at the mind and spirit of the samurai warrior. With Bushido, one can better put into perspective Japan’s historical path. About the Author Tsunetomo Yamamoto, a highly respected samurai warrior, renounced the world and retired to a hermitage in 1700. There, a disciple recorded Yamamoto’s thoughts on what it meant to be a Japanese warrior. His work, the Hagakure, served as the basis of Bushido. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Author’s Introduction A Quiet Talk by Night As a retainer to this Nabeshima clan, you must devote yourself toward the studies of your own country.1 But now, the need for this study has dropped from the eye of every samurai. The general drift of clan studies is to trace the history of a particular clan back to its foundation. By following the general drift, we can credit the present prosperity of our household to its founders: To the benevolent and courageous mind of Gochyu;2 To the deeds and faith of Riso.3 For, by their virtue appeared (was born) Takanobu4 and Nippo Nabeshima.5 Due to their power and authority, our clan has been prosperous and secure, and it has had no equal up to the present time. The samurais of this clan have completely forgotten to uphold this kind of cause. Instead, they value Buddhas belonging to other places. I, for my own part, am quite dissatisfied with this fact, since Confucius, Buddha, Kusunaki,6 and Shingen7 have never served our clan. It is needless to say that their teachings must inevitably fall short of the manners and customs of our own tradition. Both at the time of plain clothes (peace) and the time of helmets and armor (war), it is sufficient for both high and low to revere the founders and their offspring so we can learn from their examples. Then we (present samurais of the clan) will be able to manage everything without fail. As people are supposed to revere their respective idols and their principal images in their own way,8 then, as far as serving the Nabeshima clan is concerned, there is no need to learn any other branch of knowledge (other than the studies of our clan) at any other place. Once you have mastered the practices and habits of our own clan, you may learn other ways as a pastime, for your own amusement. But, when you come to think of it, there is not a problem that cannot be solved with the help of this knowledge (of our own clan). Those who neglect this study of our own country would not be able to give a word of reply to such questions (asked) by members of other clans, as: “What is the history of the Nabeshima clan?” or, “How was your clan established?” or, “You have been reputed to be the best spear-thrusters (warrior-samurais) in Japan; but what are the details of your distinguished military service?” The duty of each member who serves this house is none other than that he should carry out his respective, official responsibility. However, most of the members, on the contrary, may find pleasure in other topics and dislike their own ­office. Consequently, they put the cart before the horse and blunder grossly. The good examples of service are Nippo and Katsushige, the first Lord. During their time (of rule), each subject applied himself to performing his own duty. From the high, they sought for useful subjects; from the low, the samurais were eager to be of service. In this manner, the minds of the Lords and those of the samurais were connected; for this reason, the power of the household was cumulative and grew great. The efforts, pains, and labor on the part of Nippo were too much to tell.

Package Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches

Languages: English


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