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Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira Shigesuke

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,029 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
Learn the ways of the Japanese Bushido Code with this very readable, modern translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu.

Code of the Samurai is a four-hundred-year-old explication of the rules and expectations embodied in Bushido, the Japanese Way of the Warrior. Bushido has played a major role in shaping the behavior of modern Japanese government, corporations, society, and indi
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Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 15th 1999 by Tuttle Publishing (first published April 1st 1984)
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Nash
Aug 25, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Professor
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4cs
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
Gimo Zangana
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It gives you a nice guide of life rules to follow, with the purpose of better'ing yourself.
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moral duty, honor to your family and bosses, leadership, and daily life.As being over 400 years old it has some outdated terms but never outdated ideas.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
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Sylvan Clarke
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Dan
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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".
Michael Baker
Nov 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great philosophy.
Ptakopishka
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a splendid read! Offers a very interesting peep into the lives of 17th century Japanese warriors and the society and cultural norms in general, which is helpful in understanding modern Japan as well.

Awesome chapters like "Dying Honourably", "Horsemanship" and "Modesty" are peppered with age-old wisdom, such as:
- There are two ways to be interested in horses: good and bad
- White jackets and officials are best when new
- When there is a villain in your overlord's house, get rid of the vill
...more
Fernanda Brady
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Informative and fun. Great learning tool to understand the culture and life of the Samurai.
Mal
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
I picked this up for class. I wasn't expecting to actually read the whole thing, but just find bits that I felt I needed for my essay -- but the thing is super small and it's actually really good. So, I enjoyed it \^^/
Ali Reda
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: japan
One who is supposed to be a warrior considers it his foremost concern to keep death in mind at all times, every day and every night, from the morning of New Year’s Day through the night of New Year’s Eve.

As long as you keep death in mind at all times, and realize that the life that is here today is not certain on the morrow, for a knight, life is here today, uncertain tomorrow. Therefore he realizes everyday that he has this one day to serve, so he does not become bored or neglect any of his dut
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Briana
Aug 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Annette Abbott
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, history, japan
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
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Aaron
Sep 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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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
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Paul
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Sebastián Alarcón
This book has quite changed the way I see life. The punchline, pressed at the hardcover clearly shows what to expect and what to take into account: "One who is samurai must have in mind by day or by night... the fact that he has to die". I simply fell at the book's feet. The book has a good, thorough and accurate translation, with easygoing maximae and a plain language, making this book accesible to a foreigner.

The book is divider into three chapters: the first one gives the whole idea of the ph
...more
Lizann Dennis
Nov 13, 2011 marked it as to-read
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
C.
Jun 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: martial_arts
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
Petr Moschner
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Liam
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"One who is supposed to be a warrior considers it his foremost concern to keep death in mind at all times, every day and every night, from the morning of New Year's Day through the night of New Year's Eve." (3)

"So when it comes to doing right and being courageous, there is nothing to go on but a sense of shame." (23)

"For those who died ignominiously and those who died gloriously, the pain when they handed their heads to the enemy was no different. Realizing this, the true attitude of a warrior i
...more
Graham
Jul 15, 2008 added it
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
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
Jack
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian-classics
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
Chad
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
An old man, remembering a time of civil war and despairing of younger generations falling into indolence and greed during an era of peace and prosperity, extols the virtues of a knightly ethos to an administrative caste who had once been primarily warriors.

Bushido for Beginners is an interesting look into turn-of-the-18th century Japan as well as a document worthy of study for the modern warrior.

The translation had a modern feel to it that I have some reservations about, but I would like to rea
...more
Milo
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Uno de los códigos del bushido que surgió durante la era Tokugawa en Japón cuando la figura del samurái era ya más mítica e idealizada que en épocas anteriores donde la élite militar tenía una función más relevante. Una guía para los jóvenes guerreros, para que no olviden su papel, sus funciones, a qué ideales se deben y cómo han de guiar su vida para que la paz e inactividad bélica de este período no los degenere. Total relevancia hoy día, elementos que podrían ser seguidos en la actualidad com ...more
Nash
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Phil West
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It appears often said that this work provides invaluable insights in to corporate management. Perhaps: but I found it more interesting to use the 'Codes' to try to understand the origins of a fascinating culture. I have visited Japan once and was able to see the contrast between adolescents attached to their high tech gadgets and the monuments of their ancestors. An intriguing country and culture which this work has helped me to understand a little better.
Nicolas Adame
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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!
Achmad Soefandi
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
buku cukup bagus, yang berisi mengenai etika hidup samurai dan beberapa masih relevan sebagai rujukan nilai yang bisa diterapkan dalam kehidupan sehari hari. Point inti dari etika hidup samurai yang dijelaskan dalam buku ini mencakup kesetiaan, pengemabanan tugas dan juga kejujuran. Meskipun buku ini merupakan buku terjemahan tetapi bahasanya sangat mudah dicerna
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Also known as Taira Shigesuke
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