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The Wisdom of the Ancient Samurai


How to be Desperate and Insane

submitted by: Doug Williams

A samurai's life is one of complete devotion. It is his duty to plunge headfirst into the realm of death, seize chaos with his hands, slice through the elements of disorder with a sword that could cut through a modern engine block, bring wa to his fiefdom and maintain an orderly domain for his liege lord to rule.

This is the way of the samurai as dictated by Yamamoto Tsunemoto, a loyal retainer of Nabeshima Mitsushige. He lived in what is now Saga Ken. After his master's death in 1700, Yamamoto was prohibited by law from ritually disemboweling himself. This would have been an ultimate and final gesture of devotion to his late master. The utterly disappointed, but not quite gutted, Tsunemoto received permission to shave his head and become a Buddhist priest. He lived in semi-seclusion. Tashiro Tsuramoto, a young samurai, visited Tsunemoto from 1710 to 1716. Tsuramoto transcribed their conversations. He named the collection Hagakure, roughly translated as "Hidden Among the Leaves". The Following sayings are taken from a book of selections from William Scott Wilson's English translation of Hagakure. These sayings depart an old samurai's wisdom on a wide range of matters such as:



Home Remedies

Personal Hygiene and Etiquette

Thinking 'Outside the Box'

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