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Noguchi the Samurai Hardcover – Dec 1994


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 26 pages
  • Publisher: Stoddart Publishing (Dec. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189555554X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1895555547
  • Product Dimensions: 26.1 x 1 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,267,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

On a ferry plying the waters off the coast of Japan, the bully Noguchi is terrorizing his fellow passengers. When he drops his pipe into the sea, his mood becomes even fiercer. The passengers, afraid for their lives, turn to an elderly samurai, Michi

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've always loved books, and combined with the fact that I teach my sons at home we have quite a few. This has to rank as one of the best children's stories I have ever read. For a book to stand out as much as this one does takes something very special. I chose this simply because I was looking for something to do with Samurai, as my son was studying Japan. What I ended up with, by pure chance is an unforgettable story of brains over brawn, but also kindness and compassion.

After reading this book I was convinced I was reading a modern retelling of an old folktale or legend. This story has the feel of an ancient fairy tale with its wit and wisdom, but it is not. I at least expected this to have been written in Japan. The story was written by Burt Konzak who teaches Zen Buddhism, ethics and philosophy as well as karate in Toronto, Canada. So much for expectations!

The story itself is an absolutely brilliant tale of two Samurai. Michihara is old and wise, while Noguchi is young and brash but very powerful and strong. Noguchi and Michihara both find themselves on a boat, with several very frightened passengers as Noguchi vents his anger on all around him and revels in the fear he causes. While the rest of the passengers huddled in fear though, Michihara slept, unperturbed by the events around him. This drove Noguchi to even greater extremes, taking a swipe with his great sword near the sleeping Samurai, who still showed no fear. No matter how much Nogushi tried, he could not provoke Michihara or disturb his calm and peaceful nature. But with the safety of others at stake as well, the quiet old man at last agrees to a duel. It seems like victory will be certain for the young and powerful Noguchi against the small and age wizened elder, but things are not always as they seem.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Aug. 1998
Format: Hardcover
I gave this book to a 7 year old badly in need of some courage in the face of bullies. She loved it! I have no doubt that when she's an adult, and someone asks her "What was the first book you remember reading?", she'll say "Noguchi the Samurai". A special book. Beautifully illustrated, too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not your average children's book 8 Aug. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I gave this book to a 7 year old badly in need of some courage in the face of bullies. She loved it! I have no doubt that when she's an adult, and someone asks her "What was the first book you remember reading?", she'll say "Noguchi the Samurai". A special book. Beautifully illustrated, too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ancient Samurai secrets of winning finally revealed! 1 May 2007
By Dr. WHO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The illustrations are worth the price of the book and are sophisticated, from an opening aerial view of an 18th century Japanese loading dock with ship's masts and kites pushing up into the reader's face, to the softening and touching face of the big, tough Samurai bully enlightened by defeat at the hands of a wizened old Samurai. The story is simple and straightforward: often the case with children's books that have a powerful but simple message. Now, rereading the book a decade later, for the first time I spot a gentle Japanese water spirit off the bow of the boat, as intrigued by the confrontation as the rest of us. I read this book to my children when it was new in 1994, delighting in its reinforcement of the small kindnesses of daily living. Now I seek it out as a gift for my fifth Dan Sensei as my 16-year-old daughter and I study for our black belts in Aikido.
Noguchi the Bully 27 Mar. 2011
By Zack Davisson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
With "Noguchi the Samurai," author Burt Konzak - an instructor in Zen Buddhism and karate from the University of Toronto - applies some fo the principles of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts to the problem of bullying.

The story is very simple. A passenger ferry is being accosted by a bad-mannered samurai, Noguchi, who is pushing around the other passengers. Also on board is an older, wiser samurai Michihara, who steps up to confront Noguchi by saying that if they will take the boat to a nearby island he will defeat Noguchi without drawing a sword. Once on the island, Noguchi leaps out and draws his sword for battle, while Michihara calmly uses the boatman's pole to push the boat away stranding Noguchi. As promised, Noguchi has been defeated without a sword drawn. Noguchi calls Michihara a coward, but Michihara responds that he used his wits to defeat Noguchi, and that wits are more powerful than any sword. In his defeat, Noguchi is suddenly reformed, and Michihara lets him back on the boat, saying that "In losing you have won something deeper than the sea."

The text of "Noguchi the Samurai" is very simple and appropriate for young readers. There are about four to five sentences per page, and the book runs 28 pages in total. Every page is accompanied by a wonderful illustration by Johnny Wales. The pictures are cartoonish, but Wales obviously took great pains to keep the details and costumes period-accurate. Many of the pictures have little surprises hiding in them for the careful viewer.

I like the moral lesson of "Noguchi the Samurai," quite different to the usual "stand up to bullies." Instead, out-wit them. I don't know that Michihara's tactic would work so well in real life, but it makes for a nice parable.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The story is two dimensional, and only mildly engaging. 25 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The plot has potential, but it is undeveloped. A samurai bully is defeated by a wise old samurai who wins by not fighting. This is a good idea but the story built around it is pretty thin. The "good" samurai prevails over the "bad" samurai. The former then tells the latter that he has won by losing. My 7yr old son was not impressed.
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