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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look into the warrior's mind
This book was written at the very start of the 19th century, by a samurai in retirement. It gives a unique look back to the late 18th, when Yamamoto was active as a samurai. The view is unique, in part, because Japan was unifying and there was less need for each minor lord to have an armed class. The warrior ethic was changing as war became less common. In part, these...
Published on April 3 2004 by wiredweird

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent
It wasn't what I expected. It's a resume of the points made in the actual Bushido, but I found them much too watered down.
Still, it gives you an idea of what the books were about and it still gives you the impression of the "Way of the Samurai".
Not a bad book, not a great on. It was Ok.
Published on July 28 2011 by NaDoRu


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look into the warrior's mind, April 3 2004
By 
wiredweird "wiredweird" (Earth, or somewhere nearby) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Paperback)
This book was written at the very start of the 19th century, by a samurai in retirement. It gives a unique look back to the late 18th, when Yamamoto was active as a samurai. The view is unique, in part, because Japan was unifying and there was less need for each minor lord to have an armed class. The warrior ethic was changing as war became less common. In part, these notes seem to mourn the passing of the clearest, purest form of that ethic.
The warrior ethic only changed, though and still underlies many aspects of modern Japanese thought and policy. The feudal caste system still gives a fair decription of different levels of management.
This book is not just about a time and a culture different from that in the modern West. It teaches personal responsibility, a lesson that many too many people still need. In part, this means responsibility to one's self, in maintaining professional skills and personal credibility. It also means responsibility towards one's employer. I do not feel crass in saying that, by accepting the pay that feeds and houses me, I have a duty to return the value given. Self interest, if not personal honor, should encourage me to support my employer well enough to keep supporting me and to support me better in the future.
I was also interested to see that a strict code of honor can include a strictly preserved set of personal freedoms. Yamamoto stresses the need to tolerate a few flaws in order to use a person's strengths. He also notes that samurai - or, I think, any professionals - can be effective only when free to make decisions on their own. This is not insubordination, quite the opposite. The skilled employee must be able to make decisions based on that skill. Too tight a managerial rein just strangles the professional's effectiveness.
I was surprised (but perhaps should not have been) that this book describes the modern professional so well. Yamamoto's advice is right in line with my own business experience. I think that more of today's skilled workers, and their managers, would be more effective if they applied this book in their lives.
It was also surprising, but satisfying, to read Yamamoto's most secret advice: to do what you love most. I certainly see why this maxim must be held back. This advice can only enrich a person who is already so trained that their loves are honorable, loyal, and productive. Keeping with Yamamoto's Zen spirit, though, I would say that such people do not need that inner secret. Today, as then, such people already follow what they love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, July 28 2011
This review is from: Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Paperback)
It wasn't what I expected. It's a resume of the points made in the actual Bushido, but I found them much too watered down.
Still, it gives you an idea of what the books were about and it still gives you the impression of the "Way of the Samurai".
Not a bad book, not a great on. It was Ok.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creating Super-men..., Dec 14 2003
By 
C. Middleton (Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Paperback)
The Hagakure was dictated by Yamamoto and later scribed verbatim by Tsuramoto Tashiro over a period of seven years (1710-1716) in which they lived together in a far off mountain retreat in Japan. Tashiro was sworn to secrecy over the texts contents because the author believed the teachings to be far too radical and too militaristic for the then peaceful times during the Shogunate Rule (1603-1867). During this time of unusual calmness, the teachings of Buddhism and the ethical codes of Confucius permeated Japan, enriching every aspect of her culture from arts to politics. But the old Samurai, Yamamoto, believed (though acknowledging the Buddha and the tenets of Confucius) that the Samurai, as a class, had become effeminate and weak. Yamamoto's basic premise was that the Samurai could not serve two masters (religion and the Clan) and by doing so had become less effective. The service of the lord and the clan should come first, and once this was done, one could then amuse oneself with the studies of the humanities. In writing the Hagakura, Yamamoto hoped that someday the Samurai would return to the purity of its strong and compassionate past. More than this, however, he wanted to create a class of super-men. As Tanaka explains in his historical overview:
"In his (Yamamoto) talks, he wanted every Samurai to become a super-man. But he wanted super-men who were capable of gaining great power, not for their own self-interest, but for the interest of the clan. He wanted super-men who were capable of operating effectively for the solidarity of the clan." (xv)
This is the key to the power and longevity of the way of the Samurai, and that is its notion of devout loyalty to the Lord of the Clan and the Clan itself. All other concerns in life are simply deemed irrelevant. Moreover, that other essential dictum, do your duty to your parents. And lastly, but most importantly, ensuring compassion for all sentient beings and the devout service of others. By devoting oneself to these vows of allegiance and practicing them, Yamamoto believed the Samurai would attain super-man status.
This particular translation is divided into eleven books, covering personal, social and philosophical advice from How to Excel Above Others, How to Conduct Yourself, Spiritual Vigour and Conceal Your Wisdom. These titles really speak for themselves.
This is an excellent text to prime oneself on the foundational tenets of the way of the Samurai and a good introduction to the history of Japanese culture and thought in terms of social discourse and philosophical perspective.
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4.0 out of 5 stars many things can be learned, Oct. 2 2013
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This review is from: Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Paperback)
many things can be learned from this book. these lessons apply today. A guide to living with honor and owning your actions
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good information for both martial arts AND business, Aug. 1 2002
By 
Joanna Daneman (USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Paperback)
Often, if you take a course in business strategy, it will include the wonderful Art of War by Sun-Tzu. Sometimes you are asked to read Mushashi's Book of Five Rings, which is Japanese in origin, not Chinese like Sun-Tzu. It's more philosophical and etherial than Sun-Tzu's book, which can be compared to Von Clauswitz's "The Nature of War." But--if you study martial arts, or plan to work in Japan, have Japanese partners, or if you just enjoy learning about military philosophy as a part of business strategy, then "Bushido: The Way of the Samurai" is a fascinating book with a lot to offer the reader. In fact, this is probably one of the best books I could recommend to get to know the mindset of Japanese business leaders. Man of them come from old Samurai families, whose history and traditions go far, far back in time.
In particular, the book outlines the aspects of Bushido philosophy:
Justice
Courage
Benevolence
Loyalty
Honor
Self-control
Sincerity
The book of course gives the meaning of Samurai rituals, including seppuku (hari-kiri) and discussing the training of a warrior. Lest you think this is old hat, business leaders in Japan today all study Kendo, the martial art of the sword and the closest to Bushido's heart.
Even women are not exempted from the Bushido code. They are expected to do their part as warriors, and women traditionally have used the naginata (halberd or pike) as a defensive weapon. It's funny to think that the naginata is considered "effeminate" and watch a Japanese sportswoman wielding that deadly blade against eight opponents during a martial arts demonstration. It's wise not to take Japanese women in business lightly. They nearly all study naginata in school.
I've worked briefly in Japan and have studied Aikido in the past. I found "Bushido" to be one of the most valuable books I own on the subject of Japanese culture and mindset, as well as an additional good book on military philosophy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Wisdom, Feb. 18 2002
By 
GoodKarma (Houston, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Paperback)
The wisdom contained in Bushido is not earth shaking but TIMELESS. I will read it over and over again. I would have a greatly improved life it I commited Bushido to memory.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Correcting a previous review ..., Jan. 4 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Paperback)
Regarding the comments, "...business leaders in Japan today all study Kendo" and, "...It's wise not to take Japanese women in business lightly. They nearly all study naginata in school."
I know Japan enough to say that these comments are not true, in other words lies. One may have special feelings for Japan, the same as I do, but these comments are misleading.
The Samurai teachings live on in Japan as a part of society, but are considered modern and not solely of that era.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to know the world of the samurai, July 17 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Paperback)
This is a quick read and very informative.
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Bushido: The Way of the Samurai
Bushido: The Way of the Samurai by Tsunetomo Yamamoto (Paperback - Oct. 1 2001)
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