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Hagakure

From Academic Kids

es:Hagakure ja:葉隠 de:Hagakure Hagakure, or Hagakure Kikigaki (葉隠-In the Shadow of Leaves) is a practical and spiritual guide for a warrior, drawn from a collection of commentaries by the former samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo, retainer to Nabeshima Mitsushige, the third ruler of what is now the Saga prefecture. Tashiro Tsuramoto compiled these commentaries from his conversations with Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716; however, it was not published until many years afterwards. Hagakure is also known as the Analects of Nabeshima or the Hagakure Analects. It is also frequently referred to as The Book of the Samurai and was featured in the 1999 Jim Jarmusch film Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai.

The book preaches bushido, the warrior code of the samurai. Hagakure asserts that bushido is really the "Way of dying" or living as though one was already dead, and that a samurai retainer must be willing to die at any moment in order to be true to his lord.

Hagakure was not widely known during the decades following Tsunetomo's death. However, it received wider circulation at the start of the 20th century, and by the 1930s had become one of the most famous representatives of bushido thought in Japan. After World War II, it has acquired a very bad name in Japan as one of the influences that lead the nation to militarism and ruler-worship, and ultimately to defeat. However Hagakure remains popular among many non-Japanese who are interested in samurai culture.

After his master died, Tsunetomo himself was forbidden to commit seppuku, a retainer's ritual suicide by the edict of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Hagakure was written partially in an effort to outline the role of the samurai in a more peacetime society. In fact, Tsunetomo himself is thought to have never been involved in a battle or duel.

References

  • Hagakure, The Book of the Samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Translated by William Scott Wilson, Kondansha International Ltd.,1979, ISBN 4-7700-1106-7 (Partial translation)

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