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The Courage of a Samurai: Seven Sword-Sharp Principles for Success Paperback – January 21, 2016
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Third-generation Japanese-American Whaley shares elements of her heritage with the aim of enlightening and inspiring readers to adopt some samurai practices. The debut book highlights the historical significance of the Bushido code among Japanese warriors and, consequently, its effect on Japanese society as a whole. The Bushido code emphasizes the following principles: courage, integrity, benevolence, respect, honesty, honor, loyalty, and ganbaru (a Japanese word meaning "to persist"). The book is separated into eight chapters: one dedicated to each concept. Each chapter begins with a thorough description of what the principle meant to Japanese warriors, what it conveys today, and how it can be successfully applied to everyday life. This is followed by stories of Japanese or Japanese-American figures who embodied the principle discussed in that chapter ("Integrity" features the Asian-American politician Daniel K. Inouye, who enlisted in the Army during World War II--receiving several accolades, including the Bronze Star and the Medal of Honor--and served as a U.S. senator from Hawaii). In addition, well-known quotations are inserted throughout the book, when relevant to the particular chapter (for example, "Courage" offers the Japanese proverb "Even a hunter cannot kill a bird that comes to him for refuge"). Whaley's passion for Japanese culture and heritage is evident in each page, as she includes patient explanations and well-researched details. The stories included in each chapter are the heart of the book. They effectively provide historical background, as well as a reference of how each principle can be upheld to the highest degree. These tales would be just as powerful--or perhaps more so--if presented separate from the motivational aspect of the work. In attempting to accomplish too much, the volume becomes scattered and distracting at times. The introduction of each chapter is reasonable, but is followed by a forceful encouragement for readers to adopt each principle in order to find success in their own lives, which eventually becomes repetitive. Additionally, the inspirational quotations break the flow of the writing, which serves as inspiration enough.
A thorough exploration of samurai culture and values and their impact on Japanese history-- informative and invigorating, though laden with heavy-handed motivational mantras.
About the Author
Lori Tsugawa Whaley is an author, inspirational speaker, and a descendant of the samurai warrior. She graduated with Honors from Portland State University. Whaley, a Baby Boomer, struggled with being 'different', and channeled her energies into understanding, and embracing her Japanese heritage. This journey forged a compassion to empower others to reach their God-given potential, and the driving force for her book, "The Courage of a Samurai: Seven Sword-Sharp Principles for Success."
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I loved how the author setup this book with explaining the principals and then giving amazing examples of how they were demonstrated. The author took a large amount of time to research the different events that she referenced and the people she studied. We get to learn a lot about the treatment of Japanese American’s during the war and how much the Japanese American’s helped during World War II. I love reading books that contain a lot of learning and showing examples of how people apply these principals works perfectly for this book.
We also get to learn a lot about Japanese business culture and how it stays constant with the guiding principles brought from the Samurai. The author does a great job making references to home life as well as business culture in this book.
I didn’t know too much about Japanese culture before reading this book, but I do feel I learned a decent amount about the Japanese culture that shows from the past to the present. The author does a great job explaining all about Japanese culture in this book. The book flows very naturally and the topic covered are very enlightening.
I could have liked to read more about the treatment of the Japanese American’s that were held in the camps. We got to hear more about the people that left and where successful in war, but I bet being in that contained area must have also had people showing the courage of a Samurai. This book does make me want to research and learn about the Japanese during World War II because I don’t remember a lot of this being taught at school and want to know more about this topic now.
I was particularly moved by the tales of young Japanese American soldiers who literally and willingly sacrificed their lives to serve their country--the United States of America. By doing so, they not only proved their loyalty to the United States, but also ensured that the future generations of Japanese Americans could have better lives in their homeland.
I have a Japan-born son who grew up reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in American schools and recently became an American citizen. Ms. Whaley’s book has made me realize how much he, or even we the Japan-born parents, owe our existence in this country to those courageous people who perished in the war or endured the humiliation and hardship in the interment camps, always trying to be true to their cultural roots and do the right thing as human beings.
Bushido might be a Japanese culture, but I now realize that many of its aspects have universal values and appeals. I recommend this book to anyone who seeks inspirations to be a better person who can think beyond his/her personal and cultural boundaries.
This book wasn’t at all what I expected - but in a good way. Although at times it seemed somewhat like reading a sermon, the simplicity of the moral code presented in the book is in especially sharp contrast with the current political climate. Presented through the stories of distinguished Japanese-Americans, the author describes a simple code of conduct derived from the samurai or warrior culture of Japan.
As a student of Japanese law and history myself, I found a lot of the stories in the book fascinating, giving me a completely new perspective into the history of the second world war and the cultural nuances of Japanese society. The principles described in the book may be familiar, but they are made new and interesting through the lens of the stories that accompany each principle and illustrate it. I found myself fascinated and read through the book in a few days.
The Courage of a Samurai reminds us that timeless principles like loyalty, honor and integrity can be guiding lights, regardless of who we are and where we come from, and especially when times are hard and we are tempted to give in to complaint and bitterness and complacency, we can live a completely different life by simply making different choices.
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