This is a modern translation of text originally written for those preparing to follow the way of the Samurai. The format is like a collection of self-help tidbits and news snippets, including the names of people, places, and events from 16th century Japan. Reading it feels like finding hidden knowledge. However there are tons lessons and anecdotes that are relatable today.
The Hagakure is about the interconnection of life and death, or living as though you were already dead. The many examples of sincerity, bravery, and selflessness, are worthwhile reading for anybody.
In the last few decades, the appeal of new has dulled itself upon many. While I consider myself an early adopter, I believe too much new, like anything, can become hazardous to one’s health.
Hagakure, The Book of the Samurai takes the reader to a time in Japan when respect, honour, and ‘the Way’ was what you lived and died for. Some refer to the book as the ‘last breath of the samurai’. An ancient code for how to conduct oneself in community, family, and alone in death.
The philosophies and instructions in Hagakure fall into three categories:
- Timeless. Wow, I need to incorporate this philosophy into my life.
- Timely. Woah. This is pretty severe and has no place in today’s society.
- Right in the middle. The instruction may not be suitable, but the intent; the spirit, is noble.
Overall, a great body of work that I look forward to reading again.