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The Hagakure: Yamamoto Tsunetomo Hardcover – 26 Nov 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 132 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (26 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595651232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595651238
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,139,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

D. E. Tarver holds black belts ranging from 2nd to 7th degree in seven different styles of Japanese and Filipino martial arts. He has taught martial arts and strategy for twenty years. Since his honorable discharge from the Marines, he has spent time in Japan and the United States. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Format: Paperback
There are about a handful of translations of the Hagakure & it appears to me that they are all pretty much as good as one another. The ones in print today all seem to contain the same amount & type of information that is they all report upon the same 300 or so verses from the original that contained some 3,000.

This version doesn't contain a source bibliography & so I don't know whether Mr Traver has just studied the other translations & summarised them into this one?

None the less & this I think is important, Mr Travers translation is refreshingly different from all the others in that each verse has a very useful heading. This simple & yet bright innovation makes reading the Hagakure a pleasure to read & makes its contents easier to digest & remember. By doing this Mr Traver has been able to make an index at the front of the book, of the 168 verses, which makes the whole treatise more accessible & useable.

The Hagakure is like a "handbook" on how to live right. It's been put together & built upon the sayings & experiences of the ancient sages, warriors & past samurai. Jam packed with useful gems of wisdom that if read thoughtfully, absorbed & taken to heart & internalised fully, will help one live a happier, more fruitful, healthier & more successful life. It's all about what's truly important in life & in dealing with people we come into contact with. A `code of conduct' that can help you perfect ones character. As pertinent today, as it was when it was first dictated over 300 years ago.

It can be read in small chunks or dipped into at random; it must be one of the best "Self Help" books on the market. You'll find no `airy fairy' synchronicity here!

The original authors' last dying wish (Yamamoto Tsunemoto) was that the whole book, which took him seven years to dictate, should be scrapped & burned. We all must be truly thankful that his last dying command was not carried out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Read a lot of similar material but this translation takes nothing away from the original text. The author goes out of his way to stay true to the heart of the matter. I would very much recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b7d31e0) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ba1bd44) out of 5 stars Translation form the heart and spirit. 31 Jan. 2003
By Takashi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have been an avid student of The Hagakure most of my life, partly because I love martial arts, but mostly because I love studying perspectives on my heritage. There are several good translations available, but this one seems to better capture the true spirit of the Samurai. In some of the translations I've read it is obvious that the writer knew how to translate the words, but had little or no understanding of the concepts and philosophies that they were teaching.
A very famous line from one translation says. "The Way of the Samurai is found in death." This is an accurate word for word translation but it misses the real intent of Master Tsunetomo. What this says is that the highest achievement of the warrior was to die, but in reality what the samurai wanted was to kill many opponents and if they had to die to do so in the most brave and admirable way possible. Tarver's translation says, "The way of the warrior is fulfilled in death." This subtle difference seems to better capture the idea of duty, bravery, and loyalty culminating in a final end of the warrior rather than the warrior seeking death from the start.
That is just one of many examples but it clearly points out the difference one word can make. Found vs. Fulfilled.
I really enjoyed this book and I am sure any true student of the Samurai ways will also.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b8e5b34) out of 5 stars In my opinion a really good translation 17 Dec. 2005
By J. Hsu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you ever feel that you need to second guess and think about what exactly the authors intended to say in the first place when reading translations of a foreign language texts, I can identify with you. I have bought other translations of Hagakure, such as Wilson's translation. I like Wilson's translations because he usually proivdes good introduction and for a while I thought his translations are the standard text, but then I came upon D. E. Tarver's transaltions largely through the positive comments made by other reviewers, especially the one who pointed out that Tarver transalted a section in the Hagakure as "...the way of the warrior is fufilled in death," instead of Wilson's transaltion which reads "...is found in death." I had puzzled what Wilson or Yamamoto Tsunetomo meant when he said that...hmmmmm....a case of inaccurate translation or there is a deeper meaning....hmmmmm

I have to admit when I saw Tarver's picture (a bearded smiling caucasion man in a jacket and white T-shirt) and his background (which is amazing but familiar like other martial artists in the US, like holding many belts ranging in diff style of martial arts) on the back of his book I thought he must be one of those New Age seeking/60s hippie/money lover/Bruce Lee fan again. But to my surprirse his transaltions are really clear and insightful.

I think he is for real. And I am glad I came upon his translation and thanks to that reviewer from Japan who pointed out the differece. The rest of his book is really well translated and for the first time I feel like Yamaoto Tsunetomo began to make more sense, so I think the problems I faced with other translations were indeed a problem of the transaltions not Yamaoto Tsunetomo.

This is just my opinion and I have read many translations of the Asian texts with transaltions or not, so hope this is helpful to you just as I was helped by that japanese REVIEWER...and sorry if I offend anyone with my stereotype of "bearded smiling caucasion man in a jacket and white T-shirt".....you know.....anyway
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b8ceeb8) out of 5 stars The Hagakure Made Simple! (& more Interesting...) 17 May 2009
By Terry Tozer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There are about a handful of translations of the Hagakure & it appears to me that they are all pretty much as good as one another. The ones in print today all seem to contain the same amount & type of information that is they all report upon the same 300 or so verses from the original that contained some 3,000.

This version doesn't contain a source bibliography & so I don't know whether Mr Traver has just studied the other translations & summarised them into this one?

None the less & this I think is important, Mr Travers translation is refreshingly different from all the others in that each verse has a very useful heading. This simple & yet bright innovation makes reading the Hagakure a pleasure to read & makes its contents easier to digest & remember. By doing this Mr Traver has been able to make an index at the front of the book, of the 168 verses, which makes the whole treatise more accessible & useable.

The Hagakure is like a "handbook" on how to live right. It's been put together & built upon the sayings & experiences of the ancient sages, warriors & past samurai. Jam packed with useful gems of wisdom that if read thoughtfully, absorbed & taken to heart & internalised fully, will help one live a happier, more fruitful, healthier & more successful life. It's all about what's truly important in life & in dealing with people we come into contact with. A `code of conduct' that can help you perfect ones character. As pertinent today, as it was when it was first dictated over 300 years ago.

It can be read in small chunks or dipped into at random; it must be one of the best "Self Help" books on the market. You'll find no `airy fairy' synchronicity here!

The original authors' last dying wish (Yamamoto Tsunemoto) was that the whole book, which took him seven years to dictate, should be scrapped & burned. We all must be truly thankful that his last dying command was not carried out.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ba23174) out of 5 stars Excellent! 28 May 2006
By JZwart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This translation of the book is the only one I will ever need. Sensai Tarver is a man of skill and kindness. He and I have shared correspondance and he has pointed me in the direction of finding a Ken Jitsu teacher. If you stumble apon his website MAKE SURE to take a moment and leave him a kind comment it will make him very pleased to see is work is appreciated!
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ba2a384) out of 5 stars Enlightening, Motivating, 21st Century Warrior Reading. 23 Jun. 2004
By A_Rex Koshinage Aikidoka - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Critical reading for anyone passionate about the martial arts. This book focuses on the ethical: compassion, honor, class, style, loyalty, grace and self sacrafice of the Samurai. At the same time "empty mind", controling a situation without thought, but with quick and deadly action. No tought of self. Budo. Filled with the ideology of lives lived in historic times, with drastic measures, suicidal to homicidal, that could never be accepted in MOST these 21st century cultures despite the justifications fo those acient WAYS. This awesome book is not only a non-stop read through, it's a glimpse into the past of a lifestyle that could offer remedies to many modern day issues.
Semper Fi and see U on da Mat uke...
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