An Illustrated Guide to Samurai History and Culture (9784805316597)

Current Stock:
Tuttle Publishing
Hardcover, Jacketed
Date Published:
over 250 color prints, paintings, photographs and illustrations
Number of Pages:
Trim Size:
7 1/2 X 10

The ultimate visual guide to Samurai history and culture!

The Samurai are continuously celebrated as the greatest warriors the world has ever seen. They ruled Japan for centuries, finally uniting the nation after a prolonged period of brutal war and bloodshed. Though famed for their loyalty, honor, and chivalry, they could also be treacherous, bloodthirsty, and merciless.

This book tells the story of their rise and eventual demise through carefully curated images, both historical and contemporary, with an engaging and authoritative text by Gavin Blair—a noted commentator on all things Japanese. It exposes the myths surrounding the Samurai and reveals their many secrets, while examining their enduring influence on global culture in anime, manga, books, and video games.

Gorgeously illustrated with color prints, paintings, and photos throughout, this book features detailed chapters on:
  • The rise of the Japanese warrior class and how they established their grip on political power
  • Rival clans, legendary Samurai, the unification of warlord states, and famous female Samurai
  • Samurai "tools of the trade"—swords, bows, spears, guns, castles, and armor
  • The cult of Bushido, the fabled warrior's code
  • The transformation of Samurai into cultured "gentlemen" warriors, poets, and aristocrats
  • Their legacy in modern world literature, media, film, and popular culture
  • And so much more!

A foreword by leading Samurai historian Alexander Bennett, the celebrated translator of works such as The Complete Musashi and Hagakure, introduces readers to these fascinating warriors, who continue to captivate modern audiences.

About the Author:
Gavin Blair has been writing about Japan for more than two decades. His work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, Christian Science Monitor, South China Morning Post, LA Times, The Times, Guardian, Sunday Times, Financial Times, Independent, Global Post, and many more. He has reported for France 24 TV, Voice of America, CBC, BBC, and NHK World, among others. Blair is the co-author of Japan in 100 Words: From Anime to Zen published by Tuttle. He has trained in karate for 35 years, which is what first brought him to Japan, and also practices Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

Alexander Bennett is a professor of Japanese history, martial arts and Budo theory at Kansai University. He cofounded Kendo World, the first English- language journal dedicated to Kendo. He holds black belts in several martial disciplines--Kendo Kyoshi, 7th Dan; Iaido, 5th Dan; and Naginata, 5th Dan. His published works include Japan: The Ultimate Samurai Guide, Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai and Bushido Explained: The Japanese Samurai Code--A New Interpretation for Beginners.