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Hagakure: Secret Wisdom of the Samurai [Paperback]

Yamamoto Tsunetomo
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 July 2014
The Hagakure is one of the most influential of all Japanese texts written nearly 300 years ago by Tsunetomo Yamamoto to summarise 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. The principal pillars of Bushido are loyalty, filial piety, bravery and mercy. Yamamoto lived his life based on these principles and was willing to sacrifice his own life to bring them to ultimate fruition once his lord died. However, Shogunate law forbade Samurai retainers from taking their lives after their liege and master died, so Yamamoto became a monk instead spending the last years of life in seclusion recording his wisdom and insights in the Hagakure for the edification and training of future Samurai warriors in the essence of bushido. Alex Bennett's completely new and highly readable translation of this essential work is the only full version of the Hagakure published to date. Its extensive footnotes fill in many cultural and historical gaps found in previous translations. This unique combination of readability and scholarship gives Bennett's translation a distinct advantage over all other English editions of this work. Reading this compendium of tales of a faithful and devoted samurai provides a unique insight into the nature of samurai service and its role in Japanese history and society until today.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Shokai Inc (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4805311983
  • ISBN-13: 978-4805311981
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom of the Samurai Revealed. 17 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having studied kendo in Saga in the 1980s, Hagakure has always been of particular interest to me, so I have been looking forward to this latest translation/interpretation of samurai philosophy. Dr. Bennett's "Hagakure:The Secret Wisdom Of The Samurai" presents Books 1 & 2 of the original in full, along with pertinent selections from Books 3 - 11, thus creating the most complete version of Hagakure presently available in the English language. Dr. Bennett's take on the subject is unique in its awareness of the times in which the text was written and compiled, thereby presenting the reader with a translation not just literally "word for word" but taking into account the context in which the original authors presented their thoughts. This makes for a deeper and richer reading experience. There is much in this book to discover, either as a casual reader with an interest in Japan and its samurai history, or as a lifelong budo (martial arts) enthusiast looking for deeper philosophical insights.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars anaticipation 27 May 2014
By Panda Tao - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I preordered the book as soon as I become aware of it. I have read & studied other texts produced by Dr. Bennett and they have always been easy to read and understand. I also subscribed to Kendo World even though I do no practice Kendo because the articles provide insight to life in general.

Look forward to reading his latest endeavor.

Yay, the book arrived. And it is not only a wonderful translation for all budoka as noted by all the other reviews, but the Hakagure in Context provides a very rich background for the book.

The translations of the writings of Yamamoto Tsunetomo within provide insight of the samurai and Japanese culture. I believe this is a tremendous read for martial artists and non-martial artists interested in the culture of Japan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth buying just for the intro! 27 May 2014
By Arpad - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When reading the classics the question always comes up: which translation is best?
This version sets a new benchmark.
The introduction does a tremendous job in setting the context and demonstrates the writer's deep understanding of the context of bushido. It breaks out of the myth of the samurai and actually delivers an informed perspective that sets you up to understand where Tsunetomo was coming from.
The full translation of all three volumes is a great contribution making these sections accessible to those who can't read Japanese.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Alex Bennett does it again 27 May 2014
By Ken Wells - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Over the years I have read many of Dr .Bennett's books/ translations and articles re Budo. He is extremely knowledgeable, not only as far as the physical aspects of many types of ancient and modern martial arts are concerned but also in the history and philosophy of Budo generally. DR. Bennett has immersed himself in the Japanese culture for several decades and is acknowledged throughout the education system in Japan as a Budo scholar of some renown. He has the ability to take very complicated explanations from commentators from several hundred years ago as well as recent authors and distil them into easily understood concepts. This book is no exception!
I would heartily recommend this book to any serious martial artist or anyone interested in Japanese history and culture; the insights you will find will make it a very worthwhile investment of your time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best version of Hagakure 27 May 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Hagakure is required reading for anyone seeking to understand the samurai mind, which still influences Japanese culture deeply, even today. Although the book "Bushido" is more famous, it was written long after the samurai had ceased to exist, and distorts the facts to suit a Christian / Western viewpoint. Hagakure, however, is the real deal; it was dictated by a samurai serving a lord during the mid-Edo period, and provides invaluable insight into the values of the Japanese warrior class.

This is the most complete translation of Hagakure yet produced in English; other translations are selected excerpts from the original. Dr Bennett's knowledge of Japanese language and history, and particularly the history of the samurai, helps the reader make sense of the subject matter. If you are going to get one version of the Hagakure, this is the one to get!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very detailled translation 27 May 2014
By Tavernier Baptiste - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very good (and extensive) translation of the Hagakure.
The amount of notes is very impressive and give deep insight of the real meaning of each paragraph
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