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TitleHagakure : the secret wisdom of the samurai
TagsSamurai Bushido
LanguageEnglish
File Size6.2 MB
Total Pages289
Table of Contents
                            Frontcover
Title Page
Copyright
CONTENTS
FOREWORD
HAGAKURE IN CONTEXT
	INTRODUCTION
	THE HAGAKURE PHENOMENON
	CONTEXTUALIZING THE HISTORICAL SETTING AND SOCIAL MILIEU
	CONTEXTUALIZING THE CONTENT
	UNRAVELING THE ESSENCE OF HAGAKURE
	CONCLUSION
IDLE TALK IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT
Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
	PERTAINING TO FEALTY
	PERTAINING TO DEATH AND WAR
	PERTAINING TO WOMEN
	MISCELLANY
MAIN EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE SAGA DOMAIN AND YAMAMOTO JŌCHŌ'S LIFE
HAGAKURE HIERARCHY
REFERENCES
Other Ebooks
Backcover
                        
Document Text Contents
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HAGAKURE
T H E S E C R E T W I S D O M O F T H E S A M U R A I

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143Book 2

One year when I came back from Kyoto and then had to return

again to resume my mission, I made a request to the elders for assis-

tance. “Due to the length of my sojourn in Kyoto, my household

budget has come under considerable strain.1 I humbly request your

favorable treatment in this matter. It would not look good if I had

to borrow money before departing. I ask this favor not out of self-

indulgence, but because the fulfillment of my duties in Kyoto neces-

sitates it.” The councilors conveyed my request to the lord, who

responded by kindly affording me some money.

At another time when I was not feeling well, the physician pre-

scribed a course of ginseng. I couldn’t afford such an expensive item,

but hearing of my predicament, Moro’oka Hikouemon2 said: “As you

are such a diligent servant, you will be given as much ginseng as you

need to recover.” Once a retainer has given himself wholeheartedly

to his master, he need not be troubled by such affairs. Things become

difficult when you isolate yourself.



27. Uchida Shōemon said, “Lord Naoshige’s military strategy was
exceptional. He never told his men anything in advance, but was

precise and made flawless decisions when it was called for at the

front.” His chief retainers asked him questions about his tactics in

his dying hour, but he never divulged his secret.



28. Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu’s forces were overpowered in a certain
battle. In the aftermath, people talked of the feats of his men with

great admiration. “Ieyasu is truly a courageous general. Not one of

his warriors was slain with his back to the enemy. They all fell for-

wards.” A warrior’s attitude is revealed even after his death, so take

care not to bring disgrace to your name.3

1 This was in 1698 and 1699. Jōchō was sent to Kyoto a number of times.

2 See Book 1-98.

3 See Book 1-162.

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H A G A K U R E144



29. Somebody said: “It is fortuitous there are no wars anymore.” This
is a terribly imprudent thing for a samurai to declare! Life is short.

It’s a warrior’s calling to experience battle at least one time. Dying

in one’s futon is an insufferable waste, and not the end a samurai

should hope for. The ancients were particularly aggrieved by the

unfortunate fate of perishing on a sleeping mat. I think there is no

better end than to die in battle.”

Be sure to refute a comment such as this. You may think it point-

less, as the proclaimer might be a pretentious old man “putting on

airs.” If, however, a thoughtful man overhears the banter, he will

think that you are agreeing. Therefore, it is best to respond, but in a

way that won’t cause offense. For example, you could judge the mood

and say: “That is not necessarily true. The reason why people today

lack spirit is because there is peace throughout the realm. They would

surely be pluckier as the situation dictates. I don’t expect that the

men of old were that different from warriors now. Even if they were,

that was then. Samurai today are merely in tune with the state of the

world, where everything is mediocre compared to before—but that

doesn’t mean that they are inferior.” Expressing your opinion is

crucial to avoid misunderstanding.



30. As Yasuda Ukyō declared regarding one’s attitude when putting
saké cups away, “The end is important.” The same can be said about

one’s life. When your guests leave, hopefully there is a reluctance to

bid farewell. If not, it is a sign of disinterest, and all the good mem-

ories forged through the discussions in the day and night will fade

away. When interacting with guests, it is important that you don’t

tire of each other’s company. Act as if you haven’t seen each other for

some time. This can be achieved with just a little mindfulness.



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