Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

This novel delves into the inner workings of the Samurai mind through anecdotes and insight into the everyday life of a Samurai. It is said that Yamamoto Tsuentomo, a Samurai who died in 1719, had this work recorded by a younger Samurai over a 7 year period.

If you are looking for a printed version of this book, you can find it at Amazon.com by following this link: Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai By Yamamoto Tsunetomo and translated by William Scott Wilson.

NOTE: This translation is NOT the source for the copy I keep online. It is my understanding that the text I’ve linked to at left has passed into the public domain. If anyone can show otherwise, please speak now or forever hold your peace.Well, as it turns out, after correspondance with William Scott Wilson and his publishers, it appears that the version we posted was indeed his. Since I never had a copy of HIS translation to check against, I was unaware of this. For those interested in this subject, please purchase a copy from Amazon or your local bookseller to help show support for Mr. Wilson’s translation. If you can’t afford a full copy of the book, might I suggest you check the secondary (used) book market near you as copies of this work do turn up from time to time. The author makes no money off of the resale of their book this way but at least the spread of this beautiful work will continue to those who appreciate it.

BEG: If anyone has a translation of Yamamoto Tsuentomo where the translator has passed prior to 1960, please let me know. I fear that as an online resouce, this well has run dry at this point.

If you like this novel, you might also enjoy the following:

Hagakure places a prominent role in the movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. The film is set in New York and is about an African-American hitman who calls himself Ghost Dog and lives his life by the code of the samurai as defined in Hagakure.