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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn the true meaning of Seppuku
Hagakure may be familiar to anyone who has seen the film 'Ghost Dog'. It contains anecdotes relating to the way of the samurai, but can be (unfairly) summarised as follows: the way of the samurai lies in death, death must be contemplated on a daily basis, even the slightest example of disrespect should be met by immediate and fatal remedy. In particular, seppuku (hiri...
Published on 17 May 2001

versus
35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some nice quotes, but generally just wacky.
Anyone interested in Japanese feudalism and the arts
risen from it, not to mention WWII should read this
book, or at least read it on-line as it's available
in it's entirety on several sites.
Those who have seen the film Ghost Dog will have already
'read' the best quotes from the book, as there are some
delightfully quirky quotes in...
Published on 23 Feb 2005


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn the true meaning of Seppuku, 17 May 2001
By A Customer
Hagakure may be familiar to anyone who has seen the film 'Ghost Dog'. It contains anecdotes relating to the way of the samurai, but can be (unfairly) summarised as follows: the way of the samurai lies in death, death must be contemplated on a daily basis, even the slightest example of disrespect should be met by immediate and fatal remedy. In particular, seppuku (hiri kiri) is the noble and glorious end to virtually all anecdotes.
It is a remarkable book, and probably the most interesting of the Samurai guides (eg Book of Five Rings). However, it should be remembered that Hagakure was considered exceptionally fundamentalist when it was written (17th century) and was disapproved of due to its overemphasis on death.
It was also a favourite text of Yukio Mishima, which if you know about Mishima, tells its own story.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books, 1 Mar 2004
By 
Henry S. Baker (Plymouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Despite being written 300 years ago in Japan, this book contains so much wisdom and insight that can be successfully applied to modern life. It is very easy to read because it is made up of short passages usually only a paragraph long, so it is excellent to read a few pages at a time for a little inspiration. The stories are sometimes funny, and frequently confusing and illogical to the western mind which makes it a great read. This book is a great insight into the philosophy and mindset of the samurai. I would recommend it to anyone, and it makes a great gift.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A text that always always seems fresh and insightful, 15 Dec 2000
By A Customer
As an Iaido practitioner I was first interested in this book for it's relation to the Samurai. However, the further I got into it the more I realised it can be of interest for anyone. Although the text is obviously rooted in the world of medieval Japan, it is easy to read between the lines and see the relevance it offers people today. That is not to say it is a philosophy as such, but that it offers a fascinating insight into a truly insightful and original mind.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the gentlemans guide to death, 29 Nov 2000
this is a stirling example of Mr Wilsons work as translator. Both understanding the history and culture of japan and the original text while firmly keeping an eye on the audience, Mr Wilson's first commercial translation is a masterpiece. Full of practical advice and juicy tidbits of feudal samurai gossip[for want of a better word] and background. The text itself is easily accessible and makes for light reading that can be appreciated in greater depth at a later reading.
In embracing death and gentlemanly values, it is reminiscent of early victorian writings as well as Confuscian texts. With this in mind, it is sometimes a little outdated and contradictory but one must consider the age of the source text and the fact that it was considered out-dated when first commited to paper. This translation is a compendium of extracts from an 1100 page work and the source itself contradicts itself and sometimes feels incomplete.
All this aside though, this is on the most fundemental books i have read and essential for anyone who is interested in this field or would like an interesting read. It is also a good introduction to more complex and specialist translations especially by the same author.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Face death with dignity, 18 Jan 2005
The beauty of this book is the fact that it can be picked up and opened at any page and you will find a paragraph or event that will captivate you and urge you to read on, discovering an insight to the bottled up world of feudal Japan, from the sacred code of the Samuari to the work of an ordinary peasent.
As you make your way through the book you can easily relate some of the events to your own everyday encounters with the world (with exempt to cutting down passers by over seemingly minor reasons), this is a book that dosent try to educate or be something its not but is naturally bursting with politeness and touching to read.
This book has great meaning to me as it helped my way of thinking. Do not hesitate buy this book, you wont regret it.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deepand philosophical, a stunning read, 11 Nov 2000
By A Customer
'Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai' was heavily featured in the movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai by Jim Jarmusch. The film displays sections of the book throughout and I would advice anyone who has seen the film to read the book as it is very interesting although should not be taken literally. I had not even heard of the book until I saw the film but as soon as I saw the film I went out and got the book and really enjoyed it. The book can basically be described as a collection of advice and although based in ancient Japan a lot of the advice holds true even in modern times. A deep, philosophical book that is well worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant in parts but I prefered the 'Book of Five Rings', 6 April 2010
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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The book is one of the samurai treatises but as opposed to some others in the same area, works a bit differently - it is a collection of thoughts, rather than a concise guide. The translator selected 300 out of the original 1300 and while most work well, it is hard to say if the complete set would make more sense.

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.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open Minding Reading Changed My Outlook, 30 April 2003
I read this book, along with Miyamoto's 5 Rings, as a little side to martial art training, and I fully believe Yamamoto's pearls of wisdom have altered my attitude.People have disagreed with me over this,saying that Hagakure is not relevant, but its ideas of focus and absolute resolve have made me think differently. If you're at all able to read with an open mind, BUY THIS.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hagakure, 24 Aug 2011
I found this book to have some very interesting and useful information in it. Very good read and highly reccommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional book, 3 May 2009
By 
A. Vrakas (Luxembourg) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Hagakure is a truly exceptional book. It cuts straight and deep and finds the epitomy of the way of the Samurai.

In a truly masterful style Tsunetomo delivers food for thought and life values that properly digested, and with a bit of salt, can be of great use for your personal life or business.

I loved this book and suggest it both for the fans of Japanese culture, but also for those looking for insight in life deriving from the way of the Samurai.
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Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo (Hardcover - 12 Jun 2012)
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