The Hagakure is one of the most influential of all Japanese texts—written nearly 300 years ago by Yamamoto Tsunetomo to summarize the very essence of the Japanese Samurai bushido (“warrior”) spirit. Its influence has been felt throughout the world and yet its existence is scarcely known to many Westerners. This is the first translation to include the complete first two books of the Hagakure and the most reliable and authentic passages contained within the third book; all other English translations published previously have been extremely fragmentary and incomplete.
Alex Bennett’s completely new and highly readable translation of this essential work includes extensive footnotes that serve to fill in many cultural and historical gaps in the previous translations. This unique combination of readability and scholarship gives Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai a distinct advantage over all previous English editions.
“Alex Bennett has produced the first truly authoritative translation and analysis of Hagakure—perhaps the most famous text ever written about samurai honor—to appear in any Western language. Simultaneously erudite and accessible, this v
“Dr. Bennett possesses a profound knowledge of, and deep insight into, the world of Japanese bushido. This expertise has been enhanced by his extensive practical experience of the traditional martial arts of Japan, and his proficiency in this domain.
“[Alex Bennett] is the very best writer on martial arts alive today and [his] work needs to be showcased to the general public.” —Don Warrener, President, Budo International
“[A] strong point is a scholarly and succinct introduction that grounds the work in historical and social context, equipping the reader with a cultural map of Yamamoto’s world. Footnotes provide valuable background and add resonance throughout.
“…the most impressive part of the book for us was Bennett’s introductory chapter…It puts the Hagakure into its proper historical and social setting as well as examining ‘bushido’ […] with a critical eye and a look at how Jocho’
About the Author
Alexander Bennett holds doctorates from the University of Canterbury and Kyoto University. He has worked for the International Research Center for Japanese Studies and is currently Associate Professor at Kansai University’s Department of International Affairs. He lectures frequently on Japanese martial culture and is Vice President of the International Naginata Federation and a committee member of the All Japan Kendo Federation, as well as director of the Japanese Academy of Budo. He is also head coach of New Zealand Kendo. His recent publications include Naginata: the Definitive Guide, Budo Perspectives, The History and Spirit of Budo and The Bushido That Japanese Don’t Know (in Japanese).