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The Truth of the Ancient Ways: A Critical Biography of the Swordsman Yamaoka Tesshu Paperback – January 31, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Kodenkan Institute (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984012907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984012909
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,116,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Marvelous... A rare scholarly attempt to depict a warrior who strove for saving human lives in contrast to that long-term aspect of Japanese warrior culture that emphasizes violence. It is particularly timely for our age of turmoil and anxiety." --Roman Anshin, Emeritus Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine

About the Author

Independent scholar in the field of Asian/Japanese studies. Born in Moscow, Russia, graduated from Moscow State University, the Institute of Asian and African Studies. Spent over a decade in Japan studying and working. PhD in premodern Japanese history. Worked as assistant professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow) and lecturer at Hanyang University (Seoul). Currently founder and CEO at Amakado Inc., Tokyo.

More About the Author

Independent scholar in the field of Asian/Japanese studies. Born in Moscow, Russia, graduated from Moscow State University, the Institute of Asian and African Studies. Spent over a decade in Japan studying and working. PhD in premodern Japanese history. Worked as assistant professor at the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow) and lecturer at Hanyang University (Seoul). Currently founder and CEO at Amakado Inc., Tokyo.

See detailed profile on LinkedIn at:

http://jp.linkedin.com/in/aanshin

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a pleasure to read.
Leonid
The author casts a critical eye toward the historical role that Zen played in the development of the classical martial arts.
JTNW
The depiction of Tesshu, an important and complicated historical figure, is presented in a clear and concise way.
Rachel Kalmanson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leonid on February 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This biography lays out its arguments beautifully. It tries not to state more than can be derived from reliable sources, so it is content to leave blanks in the story. This earns the respect and trust of readers, and it does not hurt the structure. In the main argument, the purpose is revisionist, and the book boldly calls previous historical studies to task. It both contests previous assertions about Tesshu's life, and it presents a point of view that previous scholars have not explored: Tesshu's essential identity as a swordsman as opposed to a politician, revolutionary, religious figure, etc. The material is brilliant, solid, and unconventional.

The objective of this work is to revise previous erroneous scholarship and portrayals of the life of Tesshu. It is also to tell the story of his life from the narrow focus of his swordsmanship goals and techniques, stating that to be a "true warrior" was the heart of his person, and this goal informed or overshadowed all of his actions. The author is reflexive in his methodology. Where there are strong statements, such as likening Miyamoto Musashi to a serial killer, or stating a separation between Tesshu's Zen and his swordsmanship, these are always backed up by sources and are consistent with the overall argument and tone. In this way, nothing comes across as overly biased or without substance. This is a pleasure to read.

The structure is linear, with background information preceding a chronological account of Tesshu's life, followed by a conclusion. The supplementary materials were well organized, plentiful, and helpful. The main argument comes forth in the point of view from which the manuscript tells Tesshu's story, rather than the story being fragmented and arranged according to the argument. This structure works well, and it makes the book a fluid read. This would appeal to both academic and general audiences because it is both a revisionist argument and a story
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nina on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
WOW! The book is a critical biography of Tesshu, but it also turned out to be a "critical biography" of the whole warrior's class. I'm interested in Japanese history, although my knowledge of it is not that good... But I have read a lot of books about the samurai and their martial arts and most of them were not even half as informative as Anshin's. I found so much new in it that I was a bit intimidated, though I liked reading it. The biographical part about Tesshu was of course interesting, but there was also much general stuff that helped sort out many things. The book is not lengthy and its conciseness is appealing. My only wish is that in the future the author would publish an enlarged edition with more details on Tesshu's private life and with more pictures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Kalmanson on February 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
The book is engaging and well written. It meets the author's stated objective of providing a critical look at key events in the life of Yamaoka Tesshu, an often overlooked or misrepresented figure in Japanese history. The depiction of Tesshu, an important and complicated historical figure, is presented in a clear and concise way. The author maintains a scholarly, professional tone, but writes in language that is accessible to the layman.
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