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Thread: On Hagakure and other Old Texts

  1. #1
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    Default On Hagakure and other Old Texts

    Peter Goldsbury wrote:

    "Actually, my own feeling is that people are too uncritical of the books they cite in this thread. For example, I wonder how many English translations there are of the complete text of "Hagakure". I think there are none. Why? Because the full text is so turgid to read and there would be no point in reproducing all of Tsumemoto's meanderings in English. So, why would one need to read the "Hagakure" in connection with contemporary martial arts? As a piece of late Tokugawa history it is of great value (see the relevant sections of, e.g., Ikegami's "Taming the Samurai"), but as a comtemporary martial arts text it is of very limited value, in my opinion."

    As for Tsunemoto, there are some sections, as you say, that illuminate aspects of the samurai's life, there are some sections that provoke thought about our current objectives of training, but it is primarily a political tract that has as an objective to create an ideology for totalitarian control while checking independent initiative. The incessant pronouncements on the duty of a samurai is to die, that one focuses on death rather than life, are antithetical to the period when warriors really fought. In those days, the duty was to try to win, many personally tried to survive as long as one could do so without loss of honor (BUT, if one looks at the actual history - my chapter in Old School on the 'Origins of Araki-ryu" provides some examples - the warriors, in fact, betrayed each other, their leaders, their friends as a rule, not an exception). Personally, I found even the abridged versions of Hagakure quite tedious to read, and also found it striking that Mishima, that decadent pretentious ponce used it as his Bible. Hagakure merely bolstered the entanglement of his perversity with his fantasies of death, giving THAT ideological support.

    Best

    Ellis Amdur

  2. #2
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    Default Re: On Hagakure and other Old Texts

    Originally posted by Ellis Amdur
    Personally, I found even the abridged versions of Hagakure quite tedious to read
    I was quite enchanted to find an abridged paperback copy in a used bookstore, and was quite disappointed by the contents...98% twaddle by my reading...
    David Anderson
    Calgary, Alberta


    "Swords are the rosary of Aikido"

    D. H. Skoyles Sensei 04/03/01

    Nakayamakai KoAikido dojo

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