[Review] Hagakure - The Book of the Samurai

Bob Hubbard

MT Mentor
Founding Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Aug 4, 2001
Reaction score
Land of the Free
The book of the Samurai

By Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Translation by William Scott Wilson

ISBN 4-7700-1106-7

All in all a tad, um confusing is how I'd sum it up. Maybe its a cultural thing, maybe its the translation, maybe I just don't "get it". I expected something similar to Nitobe's "Bushido: The Warrior Code", and got instead a series of short tales, fables and ramblings that left me more confused than anything.

EXERPT Pg 98 "When Ogawa Toshikiyo's legitimate son Sahei Kiyoji died as a youth, there was one young retainer who galloped up to the temple and commited seppuku".

Thats it. No lead in, no lead out. 1 is left to wonder, "Why?" was he charged to defend and failed? Was honor involved? I just don't understand.

Perhaps someone can explain it to me. For now, this book earns 1 outta 5 stars. Nice tales, just wish I knew what they were trying to say.



Never judge a book by its cover..or in this case it's content.
Keep in mind the adage of distinguishing what is non-useful
from useless. At this time for you the book has no relevance
but the future may change this, if not for you than perhaps
your children.
The core of Bushido is acceptance of one's own death and complete loyalty to your lord(17th century). The Book is composed of the thoughts of Yamamoto Tsunetomo but not
written by him, these were from discussions with a younger
samurai.NOTE..Yamamoto was a peacetime samurai never having
been in battle. It was never meant for his reflections to be handed down to the 21st cent..we cherish it for insight into
days goneby.