Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:15 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately!

In between rewriting Novell’s ZENWorks imaging system in Oceaneering International’s image and watching cleaning up my personal office, I managed to get Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai read. Actually, I’ve had this one for quite some time, but I just got around to reading it this past week.
Now, for those of you who know me, I love Asian culture, especially Japanese culture. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of books about Japan and Japanese history. I’m most interested in their Tokugawa period and the years leading up to that time. Of course, that also means I read a lot about samurai, who made that era happen. Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai is a book about the philosophy that drove much of that time. I say much, because it was really the refined and codified philosophy of a warrior class that no longer went to war. The Tokugawa Shogunate, ironically, brought an era of peace to a war-torn Japan and forced the samurai to redefine their purpose. It is in that light that this book has significance.
I found it an enjoyable book, though I disagree with much of it philosophically. And, based on what I’ve read, it represents an ideal that very, very few true samurai met. In fact, at one point, the author is quite critical of the famous 47 ronin who are almost saints in Japan for their devotion to their feudal lord. But, that aside, it provides a good look at the severe devotion to duty and loyalty to one’s master that we associate with the samurai. The author, Yamamoto Tsunetomo, advocates a brutal disregard for one’s own life which, he says, should be sacrificed for one’s lord. The book is filled with advice about how to harden one’s self to the potential distractions from duty, including death. It shows us a strict code that few modern warriors could achive, even if the wanted to do so. But, again, it is a good look at how this ancient warrior caste saw the world and approached life.
Much easier to read that it first appears, and well worth it!

More soon!

Powered by WordPress
Any links to sites selling any reviewed item, including but not limited to Amazon, may be affiliate links which will pay me some tiny bit of money if used to purchase the item, but this site does no paid reviews and all opinions are my own.