The Code of the Samurai
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The Code of the Samurai

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,110 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The Code of the Samurai is a unique treatise on the rules by which the aristocratic warrior class of Japan lived and worked during the age of the shoguns. Every aspect of their lives in covered, from the proper way to sleep at night, to how to treat your wife, to how to survive political infighting. This book offers a fascinating insight into how deeply present-day Japan,...more
Hardcover, 108 pages
Published December 15th 1989 by Tuttle Publishing (first published April 1st 1984)
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Nash
Aug 25, 2007 Nash rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Japanese history and culture enthusiasts.
Shelves: already-read
While the content of this book is the same as "Budo Shoshinshu" I recommended above and I prefer the other translation, this one was the first book I ran into and got me very interested to use it as the primary focus for my dissertation. I agree with the official web site of Columbia University's Bushido Page that did a review on all three translation of the same book, Budo Shoshinshu, that the version by William Scott Wilson is perhaps the most comprehensive. Why? 1) Wilson's version comes with...more
TarasProkopyuk
"Будосёсинсю" является напутствием для молодого воина вступающего на Путь Воина - путь самурая. Книга призывает молодых воинов воспитать в себе настоящих самураев в духе верных воинов своего хозяина с прилежными моральными и этическими ценностями.

Прочитав её становится не трудно понять почему Япония была настолько сильной и при этом столь длительное время погрязшей во междоусобицы. Эта книга наряду с другими не менее известными работами были призваны воспитывать сильных и преданных воинов и выпо...more
Sean Morlan
The Code of the Samurai translated by Thomas Cleary summarized is a book that ancient samurais lived by. Today it is used by executives, military leaders, and politicians to them to success. It discusses moral duty, honor to your family and bosses, leadership, and daily life.As being over 400 years old it has some outdated terms but never outdated ideas.

In the first chapter of the book it explains how to keep death always in mind. To me, this seemed preposterous because you would worry yourself...more
Professor
The Code of the Samurai is an example of one of the staples of literature since ancient times: the self-help/how-to guide. Sure, we like to think of that as a modern phenomena, but most literate societies have produced a book that tells you how to live, and feudal Japan was no different. This particular example is aimed at the young samurai, and attempts to instill in its reader good habits by first offering up advice on the mindset that is required of the samurai, then offering up examples of h...more
Paul
I was given this book by a former neighbor to whom I bowed to when I first met. He strongly suggested I read this, so upon finishing it, I was grateful he introduced this book to me. Not only is it full of ways to improve one's discipline, it helps shine a light on things that one can achieve or change their way of doing as long as they practice putting forth effort, patience, and focus. Code of the Samurai encourages a way of looking at the world around us, and is also very applicable to today'...more
Dan
In the days of the Samurai, if a warrior lived long enough to retire, they wrote what they learned down for future generations to learn from. They wrote for the youth just starting out. This is one of those books, a primer of how to act - from waking up, going thru the day, and going to sleep. In many cases these books were a kind of "gentlemans primer".
Sylvan Clarke
A brilliant script for living and breathing the art of the bushido through the tenets of the samurai way of life. Each element within this book can be translated into all walks of life at home,work,business and play, it provides practical explanations for why the samurai did what they did when they did it and how this transcended into their practice of not just the physical but the psychological rationale for setting into place a course of action. A wonderful easy to read book that really does o...more
Gimo Zangana
It gives you a nice guide of life rules to follow, with the purpose of better'ing yourself.
Aaron
This book is a translation of a manual for proper conduct according to the Taira clan in pre-Tokagawa or early Tokagawa era Japan (I forget exactly when). The translation is a bit tedious with the use of "knight" as opposed to "warrior" or bushi or better yet samurai, but otherwise it seems to be a faithful and straightforward translation.

It is divided into three parts, each focusing on a major aspect of samurai lifestyle. The text focuses on practical matters of samurai living, such as choosin...more
Annette Abbott
It's January 4th and I just finished reading Budoshoshinshu. The reason for reading this was twofold - first, having an interest in Asian art (currently focusing on Japan), I thought it would enhance my education. Also, while in that introspective state of mind that reflects on the previous year and plans the upcoming one, I figured reading a book containing principles on how to be a better warrior might provide inspiration and applicable guidelines on my own truth-seeking path.

Daidoji Yuzan, a...more
Mary Catelli
Advice on being a proper warrior.

It wasn't written in a time of strife, as, indeed, the author makes explicit, pointing out that time was when warriors had to go to war at sixteen and so trained earlier and so were illiterate, but that's no excuse nowadays.

You should never bellow at your wife like some commoner, and you should never hit her because she can't hit you back.

People treat all their nephews the same, whether their older brother's sons or their younger's, or even their sister's. The he...more
Bri
Shigesuke's Code of the Samurai is not a book that I would have sought out an opportunity to read, but fortuitously that opportunity arose and read it I did--and boy am I glad!

Basically Shigesuke was writing in a time period when he felt the Samurai code of ethics had already been eroded and corrupted, thus the need to articulate that code clearly and write it down for future generations. Excellence, virtue, and discrimination are all heavily emphasized in the Code, and today in the West the Cod...more
C.
Given that Bushido is the code of conduct that Kokondo-ka follow, this modern translation of Bushido (Taira Shigesuke) was most instructive for me. Bushido, or the way of warrior, embodies seven principles: Benevolence, Courage, Justice, Honor, Loyalty, Politeness and Veracity.

What I appreciate most about this work is the expansion of discussion around these principles to include practical every day applications ~ for example, the admonitions around laziness are very sound:

"When you think you...more
Lizann Dennis
In this translated by Thomas Cleary the reader is given an intense insight into the life of a Samurai. It is basically a condensed version of rules a samurai is intended to their life by. In it you find material on how a samurai is to live his everyday life to how he should act and portray himself in war. Each section a short and brief overview such as one labeled Borrowing Authority and Stealing Authority. In this section it is discussed the appropriate times when a samurai should refer to his...more
Petr Moschner
Nepatrný náhled do východní filozofie a s ní spjaté Cesty bojovníka. Snadné čtivo, které ovšem dostatečně popíše základní myšlenky tohoto postoje k životu, a proto bych jej doporučil do povinné četby na SŠ (vzdušný zámek). Oblíbený úryvek z knihy:

"Když si ale budeš příliš jistý svým životem, potíže tě budou neustále provázet. Začneš se nudit a staneš se nepozorným a líným člověkem. Budeš zanedbávat i ty nejdůležitější a nejnaléhavější záležitosti, nemluvě ani o těch méně podstatných posláních, v...more
Ness
Let me explain... (this line was used constantly in this handbook...
it's fascinating. As a historical text, as an etiquette handbook, as an insight into another culture... it's so beyond me and my world. It's a great read.
Graham
another excellent work from leading author of eastern philos: Thomas Cleary (and Scott William Wilson) appear to be the leading lights in any writing on eastern philosophy/religion; particularly here dealing with the Bushido code of the Samurai as Way of Life. Readers will also find Thomas Cleary's translations of Sun Tzu's "Art of War" (Shambhala) the best translation and also should consider all the Shambhala publications as best translations of sought after Eastern strategic classics, includi...more
Nash
Aug 25, 2007 Nash rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Japanese history and culture enthusiasts.
Shelves: already-read
Well, what can I say, I *have* to read this book because I'm writing my dissertation on it! Let's just say briefly that I'm mentally connected with the writer. He felt like a kind old grandpa to me. Well, he wrote it when he was 92 which was twice the age of the life expectancy of men during Tokugawa Japan. Moreover, after I took calligraphy class, I knew how hard it is to rub the ink stick to get the ink just right and painstakingly write the *whole* book with a brush, one Kanji character at a...more
Jack
A highly-moving example of excellence in self-discipline and personal honor. I felt while reading it as though I belonged in that era, and also a sense of shame at straying from certain principles I knew were right, even by slight margins, during years of experimenting with various ways of life as a young adult. It was a pleasure to know that there were men in long ago times living out their ethos with every ounce of strength to their dying breath; I found this work to be redemptive toward my vi...more
Nicolas Adame
This is a truly amazing book. It covers everything for how to conduct yourself in a proper manner to how to handle family life at home. If you want something new to life by, or even just something good to read; I'd say get this. The only thing I really don't like about it is that you can't understand all of it at times because it's a translation of a text 400 years old. Still a great book though!
Emily Giuffre
Great insight into the culture of Japanese society, in particular that of the warriors. Although not as deep as I expected it to be, it is an enjoyable, quick read. I admire their discipline and purpose to every day life, however feel that their fear of what society thinks holds them back. This is true of every culture throughout history, so just one of the many things that makes us similar.
Leon
"He who is samurai must before all things keep always in mind...the fact that he has to die." The sense of honor, duty, and filial duty and moral code is represented in this dual language (Japanese/English) book. It's no wonder the Japanese Culture thrives to this day even after 2 Nuke attacks... An interresting and enlightening read.
David Livingston
Of the three well-known works claiming to record the "way of the samurai" in writing, this is reputed to be the medium-radical one. A very instructive view of a way of life, a philosophy of service, a concept of character. Much to offer modern people too in terms of life, work, and social conduct. May re-read this soon.
Mariana
This book was very intriguing. Certainly I'll read it more times so I look forward to buy it.
Japanese ancient culture is something I am very curious about and this book is, for me incredible. Of course that there are circumstances that I very much disagree with the code but I still feel a lot of nostalgia..
Paul Lowder
Sep 21, 2011 Paul Lowder rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Japanese scholars, philosophers, and the common man.
Recommended to Paul by: Professor
Yuzan's Budoshoshinshu is a wonderful, philosophical look at the life and ways of the Samurai. Many of the codes listed in this Warrior's Primer can be applied to our daily lives as citizens. I am amazed at how accessible this text is to the modern reader like myself.
Arrianne
I read this book to gain insight into my husband, the Marine. It's become something of a reference book for me in that aspect.
The last chapter on Cultural Refinement, especially as it touches on the tea ceremony is hilarious. Wry and dry.
Kimberley
I think this book was interesting especially if the reader applies the book to his/her life, or the lives of the general population. There is definitely a "common sense" message here, and practical application for living.
Peter
May 29, 2011 Peter rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: samurai fans
Bought it on discount price from Indonesia Japan Expo last week. Haven't finished yet, but so far it's one of the best books I've bought.
It tells the code of the samurai, the way of warrior, and its application in real life.

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