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There is perhaps no more potent symbol of the samurai era than the sword. By the seventeenth century in Japan, the art of swordsmanship had begun to take on an almost cult-like popularity. Swordsmanship was more than a mastery of technique; it was a path toward self-mastery. The Swordsman’s Handbook is the definitive collection of writings by men who saw the study of swordsmanship not only as essential to life and death, but as something that transcended life and death as well. Their teaching, that dealing with conflict is an art that requires grace and courage, speaks to us today with surprising immediacy and relevance. Included in this collection are writings by Kotada Yahei Toshitada, Takuan Soho, Yagyu Munenori, Miyamoto Musashi, Matsura Seizan, Issai Chozanshi, and Yamaoka Tesshu.
A definitive treatise on the code of the samurai--revised and with a new introduction Upholding the samurai code both on and off the battlefield is one of the essential tenets of bushidō, the Way of the Warrior—and Budōshoshinshu is a definitive treatise on living in accordance with the samurai code. When it comes to books on samurai philosophy, the Edo-period classic Hagakure is iconic to contemporary readers, but Budōshoshinshu, which was written during same period, was equally influential at the time. Many scholars consider Hagakure, which was influenced by Zen, to be the most radical and romantic of samurai texts, while Budōshoshinshu is more measured and practical, owing to its heavy Confucian influence. Taken in tandem, they provide a range of insights on the role of the individual within the samurai order—both addressing the warrior’s role in times of peace and emphasizing the importance of living selflessly. Written by Daidoji Yūzan, a Confucian scholar who descended from a long line of prominent warriors, Budōshoshinshu comprises 56 pithy instructive essays for young samurai on how to live morally, with professional integrity and a higher purpose, and to carry on the true chivalrous tradition of bushidō. Budōshoshinshu is imbued with classic Confucian philosophy, centered on living one’s life with sincerity and loyalty.
In the capital of the political power of feudal Japan, Kyoto, around 1540, a clan of formidable swordsmen who had previously dedicated themselves to trade and the production of colors for dyeing fabrics began to emerge. However, their exploits as master swordsmen lasted only four generations; they then died out or had to return to their previous economic activities. More than for their skills as instructors of the house of the shogun, they, in fact, went down in history for a number of battles lost against Shinmen Munisai, and his legendary son, Miyamoto Musashi. In the stories passed down to us, truth and myth are blurred, leaving the researcher and the reader with many unanswered questions and doubts. Who were the Yoshioka? When did their exploits as swordsmen begin? Where did their martial art come from? Who were their opponents? Were they really defeated or killed in duels against Miyamoto Musashi?
Take a trip to old Japan with William Scott Wilson as he travels the ancient Kiso Road, a legendary route that remains much the same today as it was hundreds of years ago. The Kisoji, which runs through the Kiso Valley in the Japanese Alps, has been in use since at least 701 C.E. In the seventeenth century, it was the route that the daimyo (warlords) used for their biennial trips—along with their samurai and porters—to the new capital of Edo (now Tokyo). The natural beauty of the route is renowned—and famously inspired the landscapes of Hiroshige, as well as the work of many other artists and writers. Wilson, esteemed translator of samurai philosophy, has walked the road several times and is a delightful and expert guide to this popular tourist destination; he shares its rich history and lore, literary and artistic significance, cuisine and architecture, as well as his own experiences.
This giant reference is the only book that tells you whether a movie is really healthy to watch for a Catholic family. Includes both MPAA and USCC ratings, plus plot descriptions and reviews from a Christian perspective.

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