Sunday, June 13, 2010

How To Be A Good Samurai Warrior


Hagakure is a book based on the teachings of a famous Samurai named Yamamoto Tsunetomo, a man with many opinions on how a good and honourable Samurai should conduct himself.

At a library in Japan I discovered that these interesting bits of 18th century wisdom have been translated into English. I spent some time reading and made two lists:

Samurai Advice With Which I Agree

  1. Be humble and look for good role models.
  2. Don't yawn or sneeze in front of people and always keep a clean appearance.
  3. Don't treat people coldly or harshly even if you're busy.
  4. Don't rely too much on others.
  5. Encourage bravery in kids; they should fear neither darkness nor lightening.
  6. Write letters thoughtfully, as though the recipient will make them into a hanging scroll.
  7. Quickly correct your mistakes and don't talk behind the backs of others.
  8. Always help the ill.
  9. Reprimand privately and gently; praise publicly.
  10. Everyone should have the chance to practice beheading criminals.

Samurai Advice With Which I Disagree

  1. A real man does not think of victory or defeat; he plunges recklessly towards an irrational death.
  2. After reading books, it is best to burn them or throw them away.
  3. On being asked to do something, don't show pride or happiness; it's unbecoming.
  4. Loyalty trumps righteousness.
  5. Whatever one prays for will be granted.
  6. To accomplish great things, simply become insane and desperate.
  7. Make decisions within 7 breaths.
  8. Suicide for the death of one's master is honourable and often expected.
  9. Live doing the things you like, but don't tell this to young people.
  10. Bleeding from falling off a horse can be stopped by drinking its feces.

1 comment:

  1. Truly enjoying your journey thus far. Had to say, this list is half brilliant half hilarious!