Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo translated by William Scott Wilson
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 26 March 2012


Author: Yamamoto Tsunetomo translated by William Scott Wilson

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi

This translation of Hagakure, The Book of The Samurai which means “In the Shadow of Leaves” by William Scott Wilson lay on a stall table at Glebe markets and stood out above all the second hand pulp fiction. The book is a manual for the Samurai classes simply arranged as short anecdotes and thoughts three hundred years old.

The book doesn't have to be read in any particular order or even in one go as each thought is its own work, like a book a poetry. The modern reader may have trouble accepting the attidudes represented by Yamamoto Tsunetomo which preach ethics of anti-materialism and other life styles which we may find difficult to swallow in these times of high consumerism. Tsunetomo stresses that the only loyal Samurai is the one willing to die at any moment for his lord. A unique book.