|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic|
The Way of the Samurai is found in death.This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai.
Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily.
Every day, when one's body and mind are at peace,
One should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears, and swords, being carried away by surging waves,
Being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake,
Falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing Seppuku at the death of one's master.
And every day, without fail, one should consider himself as dead.
The Hagakure (Kyūjitai: 葉隱; Shinjitai: 葉隠; meaning "Hidden by the Leaves"), or Hagakure Kikigaki (葉隠聞書?), is the Book of Bushido. It is a practical and spiritual guide for a warrior, drawn from a collection of commentaries by the samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo, former retainer to Nabeshima Mitsushige, the third ruler of what is now the Saga prefecture in Japan. The book was written over a period of seven years, after Tsunetomo retired as a samurai and lived in semi-seclusion as a converted buddhist. An old friend by the name of Tsuramato Tashiro, a younger samurai, would frequently visit. Over the course of seven years (1709-1716), he had dictated every personal thought, recollection, anecdote or philosophical musing Tsunetomo had. It would be published several years later, well after the older samurai was dead. Obscure at the time of publication, it has since become one of the most influential treatises on the Samurai way of life, alongside other integral works as Miyamoto Musashi's The Book Of Five Rings and The Book Of Family Traditions On The Art Of War by Yagyu Munenori.
The Hagakure was written a century after the start of the Tokugawa era. As a time of relative peace and stability, society was changing, and with a total lack of large scale wars the samurai were transforming from warriors to administrators of the land. The book outlines what the author felt should be the true role of the warrior in society. His work represents one approach to the problem of maintaining military preparedness and a proper military mindset in a time when neither has much practical application.
A must read for historians, fans of Japanese culture and Samurai, and for those who even practice the art of Bushido.
- A Father to His Men: This attitude is encouraged. According to Tsunetomo, a leader should treat his men with respect and compassion, fostering morale and a powerful connection amongst all comrades.
- Author Tract: Tsunetomo clearly longs for the old days, before the Tokugawa period, and is quick to decry the "weakened" samurai of the next generation.
- Badass: Several appear throughout the book. One case involves a Battle Couple embarking on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on a bunch of thugs for insulting the husband's honor. Another involves a thirteen year old boy, armed with only a short sword, squaring off against two experienced, burly wrestlers. He won.
- Badass Creed: Look at the page quote. There are a couple scattered throughout the book.
- Badass Crew: "The Men of Seven Spears," a band of famous warriors who led a charge at the battle of Shizugatake.
- Subverted in one anecdote, when one crew of samurai get into a brawl at a teahouse and kill the employees senselessly. They were more like armed thugs than badasses.
- Badass Preacher: Two prominent standouts.
- Crosses over with Badass Pacifist. A priest known as Ungo of Matsushima is passing through the mountains at night when he's suddenly surrounded by bandits. Calmly, Ungo says, "I am a man of this area, not a pilgrim. I have no money at all. But I have these clothes, if you want. Please, spare my life." The bandits put their weapons away and say, "Our efforts have been in vain. We have no need for clothes." And as they ride off, Ungo calls out to them, "I have broken the commandment against lying. In my confusion I had forgotten I had one piece of silver in my moneybag. I am truly regretful that I had said nothing at all. I have it here now. Please, take it." The bandits, impressed and shaken by the priest's humility, bow down to him. They shave their heads and join Ungo as his disciples.
- As noted below, Denko the buddhist monk gets his hands on a sword to kill the man who murdered his mother, nephew and younger brother. Unfortunately, his order banishes him for breaking his oath and he's forced to forsake monkhood... but that doesn't stop his old parishioners from protecting him, travelling with him as he leaves town. They knew that killing two men who were the son of a ronin and had connections with local samurai might have triggered a violent retaliation, but they stuck by the monk regardless. Tsunetomo notes he lived the rest of his life peacefully, warmly received as a hero in every town he visited. The story had circulated everywhere.
- Battle Couple: Aside from the aforementioned husband and wife and their little asskicking spree, Tsunetomo believes any samurai should feel this way towards his Heterosexual Life Partner or lover.
- Blood Knight
- Cultured Badass: See Warrior Poet.
- Death Seeker
- The Dragon: Loyal retainers will become this to their lords.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: All samurai want this end.
- Face Death with Dignity
- Fate Worse Than Death: To shame one's family house and soil one's honour? If not rectified, it will haunt the family for future generations.
- The Fettered: The ideal samurai.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Suggested lifestyle for the samurai.
- Handicapped Badass: A thief tries to steal from a sick samurai suffering a hard fever. Do the math.
- Het Is Ew Men and women? Bah, they'll never have the same "true" love as men have together.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Another attitude encouraged. It makes sense, given the author's take on homosexuality and male bonding.
- Honor Before Reason: A major theme, obviously.
- Important Haircut: Or, rather, important moustache cut. While the samurai valued their hair as a symbol of their status as warriors, it's recounted that many would cultivate moustaches so their decapitated heads would be identified after the battle. Although it's pointed out the enemy would often shave the moustaches, just to pour salt in the wound.
- Karmic Death: Goroemon and his brother are rightfully slain.
- Last Stand
- Made of Iron: Some accounts have a few samurai surviving mortal wounds. In particular, one low-ranking samurai - formerly a cook - ran straight into enemy lines to kill as many enemies for his lord as possible. When the fight was over and he was pulled out of the fray, he suffered numerous lacerations. He lived.
- Manly Gay: You're a samurai, you're contractually obligated to kick some ass, and chances are you have a male lover (a very popular trend among the samurai). You're this by default.
- Master Swordsman: A few are seen here and there.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: A major theme of the Hagakure.
- Nakama: According to Tsunetomo, a samurai should always make more friends than enemies.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: An entire book about how to properly live as one.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Even though it's a book on the philosophy of the samurai... it's also a book on proper etiquette. Hey, they're samurai, they're noblemen.
- Not to mention the blatant adoration of homosexual love.
- Redemption Equals Death: The logic behind Seppuku. Also counts as Forgiveness Equals Death in samurai culture.
- Revenge Before Reason: Both this and the trope right below are often subverted by Tsunemoto. The act of revenge is an ugly thing, and may tarnish one's honor. Played straight with the Denko the monk's story.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge
- Seppuku: Many instances throughout the book, but curiously averted with the author. Around his time, the very act of seppuku was prohibited by the Tokugawa Shogunate. It was, in fact, illegal to commit seppuku, thereby he couldn't die with his lord. If he did, we never would have had the Hagakure. Therefore, Author Existence Failure averted!
- The Siege
- Single-Stroke Battle: And you thought it was just a cliché in film and anime, huh?
- Taking You with Me
- Victorious Loser: Even if slain in battle, face the opponent. Never falter. Never close your eyes. Even if your head is cut off, it is certain the body can be capable of one last action.
- Warrior Poet: A strange Zig-Zagging Trope. Tsunetomo speaks out against the arts as being the samurai's primary concern or interest, yet he's very philosophical about the nature of death and loyalty. Other passages speak how a samurai should refine his mind through poetry, yet - as said - "artistry" is reserved for "other classes."
- What You Are in the Dark: Two samurai have a conversation about one's character "in the darkness of battle."
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: An anecdote tells of a small story of Lord Nabeshima travelling with his men across the country. Stopping by an old house, one of his men proceeds to suggest the lord should meet the oldest man in the region. His age? Ninety-eight years old. The advisor claims it's a wonderful thing for a man to have lived so long (especially given this is seventeenth century Japan). Nabeshima, however, is skeptical that longevity is a gift. He's quick to point out that the old man must be old enough to have outgrown most - if not all - his friends and family, arguing prolonged life is tragic, worthless and isolating. This ties in with the book's overall theme of embracing death. To run away, an act of cowardice according to Tsunetomo, is to not fulfill life itself.