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31 of 32 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

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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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A WARRIORS WISDOM, 1 Nov 2010
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The Knowledge in this book is very specific to the time and culture from whence it came.For example a lot of the paragraphs talk of never allowing yourself to be disgraced, insulted or dishonoured as it was probably the last thing that a member of the warrior classes could allow himself to be.There is some more general wisdom and sayings in this book which are very insightful and a few exceptional axioms which really stand out amongst the rest.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is not only interested in military philosophy -( The art of war - Tsun zhu or Niccolo Machiavelli's the prince)- but also to anyone interested in Japanese culture, history and way of thinking.

A great read 4 out of 5 stars.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ancient worldly wisdom for the modern warrior, 14 Nov 2009
By 
G. Yang (UK) - See all my reviews
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Given the age of the book and the advice recorded, understandably not everything is applicable in modern life.

However, dilligence, devotion, loyalty, courtesy, faithfulness, respect are virtues that don't go out of fashion, and this book shares experiences of how these virtues are expressed and received, in a differnt land and from a different age.

There are "better" books out there that deal with similar issues - "better" because they may have been written with a specific audience for a specific purpose. However, this is still a good book to have and to return to every now and then. In some ways I would compare this to the book of Proverbs in the Bible.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, well worth a look, 9 Sep 2008
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Mr. N. Wildman "nickwildman2" (Beds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is a must have for any serious martial artist. Bushido is unfortunately a term which is widely used but in the main part, very poorly understood. Even the modern understanding of Bushido is somewhat lacking, leading people to believe that the samurai were so honourable that they could do no wrong. This simply isn't the case. The samurai were human beings like everyone else and the passages in this book show this nicely. There are many lessons to be learned and applied to everyday life in the Hagakure and any person wanting to follow the way of the samurai should definitely read this book.
On a different note, this is something that REALLY irritates me so I must point it out: hiri kiri is a bastardisation originating from America. The proper term is Seppuku but if you want to call it by its other name, it's HARA kiri, meaning to cut the hara (centre of body energy).
Right, rant over. Buy the book!!
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18 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent edition of classic samurai code ofliving, 15 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hagakure - Book of the Samurai (Paperback)
This classic samurai code of living is a essential addition to any collection alongside works on Bushido, the Art of War, The Book of Five Rings and for anybody interested in strategic game play from the office, to relationships to martial artists.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it, but be true to yourself, 8 Oct 2012
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S. LEECH "evest27" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hagakure - Book of the Samurai (Paperback)
It seems to me that people are always looking for meaning and paths to follow, or the latest business fad and linkage to this culture or that civilization. Many in the west have been seduced by the 'samurai' and seek to replicate their way of life in order to bring some kind of gravity to their own lives. But its a fake and contrived meaning - an act. I don't need an ancient samurai to tell me how to work hard, or how to respect others, or how compose myself with dignity. All of this can be found within - so choose your own path, don't hang onto the coattails of others - whether ancient or current.

Back to book - there seems to be some opinion that it can provide relevant guidance in life and business today, or that study of it may deepen ones understanding of the martial arts.

Well, perhaps some of the ideas might well be relevant in broad terms - a good idea usually lasts the test of time, whoever said it. But personally I don't think anyone should obsess over it, as there is an equal amount that is completely irrelevant in modern western (and to some extent eastern) society. For example, there is much about the ritual of seppuku, also known as hara kiri where a samurai could restore or preserve their honour by taking their own life. This would be expected if they had shown, for example, cowardice in battle, or significantly neglected their duties.
If we were to adopt this approach, then I'm quite sure there would be no government left! In my opinion, this ideal is nonsensical - why should taking your own life clear you name of your misdeeds? Whilst the book perhaps places too much emphasis on this aspect of samurai culture, I still disagree fundamentally with the idea, which means much of the book is rather difficult to digest.

Whilst it is very interested to read about people who lived by these codes, and perhaps enviable that there existed such collective devotion to duty and honour, I feel this is (perhaps sadly) and anachronism these days. Personally, I hold my life dear and whilst I would give it up for my family, friends and comrades, I would not give it up for a boss who I thought would not do the same for me - whereas much of the samurai culture seems to border on almost blind obedience and a 'live to serve' philosophy. I'm sure the vast majority aren't looking to take the book this literally anyway!

So most of the 'adaptable' ideas are, in my opinion, more to do with general courteous behavior, moderation, hard work, and so on - but plenty of cultures promote such things, including our own.

So I suppose my message is - this book is fascinating reading for an insight into samurai philosophy, but don't get too caught up in the sentimentality of it and certainly don't be so naive as to think it can be applied literally in today's society - it will be very disheartening to try and live by the 'way of the samurai' only to find that nobody around is!

I think many people won't like my review because it takes away the fantasy. I don't have anything against the book as a historical text - in fact I read it often, but more out of interest and amusement rather than for advice or guidance.

You won't find the meaning of bushido or the way of the samurai by reading this book and certainly not by watching any films and so on.

I think if you wanted to find such meaning, then you must absolutely live for it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 18 Mar 2013
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Interesting read!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hagakure, 20 Dec 2011
This review is from: Hagakure - Book of the Samurai (Paperback)
Brought as a Christmas prsesent, but very prompt delievery, hopefully will be liked on Christmas day! I'm sure it will be
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In opening your mind the way is found in death., 10 July 2000
By 
Hagakure the way of the Samurai is a collection of thoughts and reflections by its author. It proves an invaluable philosophical guide and should not be read literally. Readers should first go to the book with an open mind and open heart just as a samurai would approach death for his master. In being a collection of advice and insight this book showsthe enlightened way of ancient Japan. Its relevance to modern day life becomes apparent when one sees similarities between his own life and the situations described by the book. It is divided into 11 chapters which constituted the core text of the original Hagakure. It is further sub divided into smaller 'bitesize' read at the office or before bed enlightening tales that form the rules of the samurai. For anyone who has seen the Movie Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai this book is a must have and would make the perfect gift for anyone who considers what may come int the end. My only further word is simple - The way is found in Death. "it is better not to eat rather than eat.." chptr 1 Hagakure
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok book, 9 April 2013
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It was ok, especially at a cheap price. Not really a 'novel' to get into. . . . . .
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hagakure - i agree, good book for the open minded, 21 July 2003
i think that the book may be difficult to understand for alot of people, even i read through things more than once but if is truly interested in the way, this is a great book. i mainly got the book because i like exploring culture & the idea of samurai life, also my life is very influenced by eastern culture and martial arts, but it gave me all the insight i needed about the way. i'd highly reccomend this book to anyone who is interested history of the samurai and eastern culture.
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Hagakure - Book of the Samurai
Hagakure - Book of the Samurai by William S. Wilson (Paperback - Mar 1992)
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