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Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai Hardcover – May 15, 2012
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“This is a great book for anyone looking for a more centered way of life, or just some good advice about living.”—Sacramento Book Review
About the Author
William Scott Wilson is the foremost translator into English of traditional Japanese texts on samurai culture. His best-selling translations include Hagakure and The Book of Five Rings.
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Bushido: The Way of the Warrior is the Way of Death
I could see this book becoming easily misunderstood. It brims with warrior energy--especially beneficial for someone going through a particularly low or troubling period of their life where they need some motivation and can vicariously appreciate the struggles of others.
The simple message of the book is this: in order to master yourself you need to kill your self.
What does that mean? It doesn't mean suicide. Far from it--in fact it is the opposite: it is a birth or a rebirthing. What we are killing is that part of ourselves which confuses our values, which puts us in tension with ourselves: the ego. In the words of Guru Prem, Tsunetomo is asking that the EGO become an AMIGO. It is TAMING THE WILD HORSE--and, subsequently, breaking her.
The style is aphoristic. That means its EASY to digest and SIMPLE to navigate. You an really pick it up anywhere and read it from that point. It is not a linear and progressing narrative. You could read it completely out of order. This is great because Tsunetomo gets right to the point.
Check my blog post about it for a full detail of the points the book makes:
Also note, as stated in the front of the book, this is not the entire Hagajure, but I am not even sure if there is any full version, at least as far as English translations go. But this has many many quotes and readings for you to enjoy.
If you read the entire thing in one day, you are not reading it correctly or as intended. With these types of books it is wise to read a passage, and sit there and think on what you just read. What it truly means.
All in all, this is a great book, especially for the price! Enjoy!
The reason I'm giving this edition of Hagakure 3 stars instead of 4 or 5 is that it has a lot of typos and translation errors. Adding to that it seems to lack any footnotes to explain the more obscure terms used within the book.
The upside is, of course, the extremely low price. If you can look past the problems I mentioned above you should still have a good time. If anything it might convince you to get one of the more polished editions.
Though there were a few words that were badly misspelled and somewhat confusing at first ( ie. "pot" in place of "got" "gut" for "cut") it was still easy to follow once you got past the misspelled words and worked out their true meaning. However, the content of the book was what I sought. I have read it in a matter of a couple of weeks, though it could be read in a day without interruption. But to read it quickly would be unwise. You'd miss much of what is really being said. I will read this book again in a month's time and try to absorb more of it's wisdom from the a true mast of his age.