Lords of the Samurai

Current Stock:
Asian Art Museum Foundation
Hardcover, Jacketed
Date Published:
over 200 full-color illus
Number of Pages:
Trim Size:
9 X 12

Samurai means "he who serves," and these fierce warriors acted in the service of powerful feudal lords known as daimyo. Among the most important daimyo families were members of the Hosokawa clan, whose lineage dates back some six hundred years.

Lords of the Samurai illuminates the private and public lives of the daimyo by focusing on approximately 160 works from the Hosokawa family collection housed in the Eisei-Bunko Museum in Tokyo, the Kumamoto Castle and the Kumamoto Municipal Museum in Kyushu. Objects discussed include suits of armor, armaments (including swords and guns), formal attire, calligraphy, paintings, tea ware, lacquer ware, masks and musical instruments.

Hosokawa Morihiro, eighteenth-generation head of the Hosokawa family and seventy-ninth prime minester of Japan, introduces the book. Takeuchi Jun'ichi, director of the Eisei-Bunko Museum, contributes an essay of the literary world of the daimyo. Yoko Woodson, curator of Japanese art at the Asian Art Museum, surveys the history of the Japanese warrior over several centuries. Deborah Clearwaters, director of education at the Asian Art Museum, considers the artistic world of the samurai, with special emphasis on the Way of Tea (chanoyu).

Lords of the Samurai demonstrates that Japanese warriors were not mere fighters but were also dedicated and inspired men of culture. It lays bare the principles that governed the spirit of the samurai, enabling it to endure for hundreds of years and continue to resonate today.

About the Author:
Yoko Woodson's books include Hokusai and Hiroshige: Great Japanese Prints from the James A. Michener Collection and Honolulu Academy of Arts and Zen: Painting and Calligraphy, 17th-20th centuries. She is curator of Japanese art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Preface by Morihiro Hosokawa, the former prime minister of Japan. He is also a widely exhibited potter and special consultant to the Japan Times.

Thomas Cleary's many books and translations include Opening the Dragon Gate by Chen Kaiguo and Zhen Shunchao, The Story of Chinese Zen by Nan Huai-Chin and The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, as well as Code of the Samurai and Soul of the Samurai.