道场 Dào·Chǎng

Notes of a lifelong learner and perpetual beginner on martial arts, mindfulness, Chinese calligraphy…and many, many cups of tea.

Book Review: Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

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Hagakure (“Hidden Leaves” or “Hidden by the Leaves”) is a collection of observations, anecdotes and aphorisms by 18th century samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo. The edition I read was published by Kodansha with William Scott Wilson as the translator, and included extensive introductory and historical information. The book itself is a compilation worth one’s while to peruse if you want a feel for the social norms and moral maxims of samurai subculture in Yamamoto’s time. There are numerous sayings that can inspire one in the pursuit of excellence in any discipline. There are also numerous case examples of seppuku for one to consider the rationality of, or the possible irrationality. If you are looking for a book that more directly addresses mental discipline and swordsmanship, I would steer you to Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings before I would to Hagakure. That said, one of the last quotes I copied into my own notebook is definitely one of my favorites from the entire work:

“A warrior is a man who does not live his life in regret.”

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Author: Tom Delaney

See my website at http://www.dao-chang.com.

One thought on “Book Review: Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

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