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Best Samurai Books You Should Read

Looking for the best Samurai books? Browse our list to find excellent book recommendations on the subject.

1. Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai (2014)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadThe Hagakure is one of the most influential of all Japanese texts—written nearly 300 years ago by Yamamoto Tsunetomo to summarize the very essence of the Japanese Samurai bushido (“warrior”) spirit. Its influence has been felt throughout the world, and yet its existence is scarcely known to many Westerners. This is the first translation to include the complete first two books of the Hagakure and the most reliable and authentic passages contained within the third book; all other English translations published previously have been fragmentary and…
Author(s): Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Alexander Bennett

2. Training the Samurai Mind: A Bushido Sourcebook (2009)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadThrough the ages, the samurai have been associated with honor, fearlessness, calm, decisive action, strategic thinking, and martial prowess. Their ethos is known as bushido, the Way of the Warrior-Knight. Here, premier translator Thomas Cleary presents a rich collection of writings on bushido by warriors, scholars, political advisors, and educators from the fifteenth century through the nineteenth century that provide a comprehensive, historically rich view of samurai life and philosophy. Training the Samurai Mind gives an insider’s view of the samurai world: the moral and…
Author(s): Thomas Cleary

3. The Compassionate Samurai: Being Extraordinary in an Ordinary World (2009)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadBecome an extraordinary results-producing champion for humanity and yourself! In life there are two types of people. The first are those who are nice, good-hearted, and compassionate but can’t make much happen. The other kind can make everything happen—they’re the creators, the go-getters, and the aggressive producers in society—however, they’re often self-centered, greedy, and unethical. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make things happen in a really big way but not lose your integrity? The Compassionate Samurai will show you the way to produce extraordinary…
Author(s): Brian Klemmer

4. The Last Samurai (2016)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadCalled “remarkable” (The Wall Street Journal) and “an ambitious, colossal debut novel” (Publishers Weekly), Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai is back in print at lastHelen DeWitt’s 2000 debut, The Last Samurai, was “destined to become a cult classic” (Miramax). The enterprising publisher sold the rights in twenty countries, so “Why not just, ‘destined to become a classic?’” (Garth Risk Hallberg) And why must cultists tell the uninitiated it has nothing to do with Tom Cruise?Sibylla, an American-at-Oxford turned loose on London, finds herself trapped as a single…
Author(s): Helen DeWitt

5. Samurai!: The Autobiography of Japan’s World War Two Flying Ace (Uncommon Valor) (2015)

 Best Samurai Books You Should Read, first published in 1957, is the war-time account of Saburo Sakai, the leading Japanese fighter ace to survive the Second World War. Sakai, born in 1916, hoped to escape the poverty of life in his rural village by enlisting in the Imperial Japanese Navy at age 16. In 1937, he graduated at the top of his pilot-training class, and soon saw combat in China. Later, against the Allies, Sakai engaged in more than two hundred dogfights, from the Philippines to Iwo Jima, and by war’s end had reportedly downed a staggering total of 64 Allied aircraft. His most renowned accomplishment occurred…
Author(s): Saburo Sakai, Martin Caidin, et al.

6. Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune (2018)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadStirring narrative nonfiction recounts the rise of Minamoto Yoshitsune from seemingly doomed infant to immortal warrior-hero (and one of the most famous samurai in Japanese history). Acclaimed author Pamela S. Turner delivers all the drama, romance, and tragedy of the original story–with delightfully dry wit and a healthy dose of modern perspective. Gorgeous ink paintings by celebrated graphic-novelist Gareth Hinds complete this irresistible package….
Author(s): Pamela S. Turner, Gareth Hinds

7. Heart of a Samurai (2012)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadIn 1841 a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.Manjiro, a 14-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives there for some time and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won…
Author(s): Margi Preus

8. Samurai and Ninja: The Real Story Behind the Japanese Warrior Myth that Shatters the Bushido Mystique (2015)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadSamurai and Ninja expert Antony Cummins shatters the myths and exposes the true nature of these genuine—and very lethal—medieval Japanese warriors. The Samurai and Ninja were, in fact, brutal killing machines trained in torture and soaked in machismo. Many were skilled horsemen and sword-fighting specialists, while others were masters of deception and sabotage. Some fought for loyalty, others for personal gain. What these warriors all shared in common was their unflinching personal bravery, skill and brutality.In Samurai and Ninja, Cummins separates myth from reality and shows why the Japanese…
Author(s): Antony Cummins

9. The Samurai’s Tale (2005)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadWhen the powerful Lord Takeda’s soldiers sweep across the countryside, killing and plundering, they spare the boy Taro’s life and take him along with them. Taro becomes a servant in the household of the noble Lord Akiyama, where he meets Togan, a cook, who teaches Taro and makes his new life bearable. But when Togan is murdered, Taro’s life takes a new direction: He will become a samurai, and redeem the family legacy that has been stolen from him….
Author(s): Erik C. Haugaard

10. Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back (2016)

 Best Samurai Books You Should Read“Nimura paints history in cinematic strokes and brings a forgotten story to vivid, unforgettable life.” ―Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a GeishaIn 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the United States. Their mission: learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan.Raised in traditional samurai households during the turmoil of civil war, three of these unusual ambassadors―Sutematsu Yamakawa, Shige Nagai, and Ume Tsuda―grew up as typical American schoolgirls. Upon their arrival in San Francisco they became…
Author(s): Janice P. Nimura

11. The Samurai (New Directions Classics) (2018)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadOne of the finest novels, from “a masterly historical writer” (David Mitchell)  In 1613, four low-ranking Japanese samurai, accompanied by a Spanish priest, set sail for Mexico to bargain for trading rights with the West in exchange for a Catholic crusade through Japan. Their arduous journey lasts four years, as they travel onward to Mexico then Rome, where they are persuaded that the success of their mission depends on their conversion to Christianity. In fact, the enterprise seems to have been futile from the start: the mission returns to Japan to find that the political tides…
Author(s): Shusaku Endo, Van C. Gessel

12. The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger Novels) (2008)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadIn The 47th Samurai, Bob Lee Swagger, the gritty hero of Stephen Hunter’s bestselling novels Point of Impact and Time to Hunt, returns in Hunter’s most intense and exotic thriller to date. Bob Lee Swagger and Philip Yano are bound together by a single moment at Iwo Jima, 1945, when their fathers, two brave fighters on opposite sides, met in the bloody and chaotic battle for the island. Only Earl Swagger survived. More than sixty years later, Yano comes to America to honor the legacy of his heroic father by recovering the sword he used in the battle. His search has led him…
Author(s): Stephen Hunter

13. Samurai! (2018)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadOf all Japan’s aces, Saburo Sakai is the only pilot who never lost a wingman in combat.For a man who engaged in more than two hundred aerial combats, this was an incredible achievement.His remarkable book Samurai! written by Martin Caiden but with the assistance of Sakai and Fred Saito is a brilliant account of life as a Japanese pilot in the Second World War.Samurai! charts Sakai’s remarkable life from his lowly, poor origins, to signing up with the military at the age of sixteen, to his conflicts with American aircraft over Guadalcanal where he had the heavy fragments of two 50-caliber machine gun…
Author(s): Martin Caidin

14. The Pocket Samurai (Shambhala Pocket Classics) (2015)

 Best Samurai Books You Should ReadThe samurai of Japan, who were the country’s military elite from medieval times to the end of the nineteenth century, were synonmous with valor, honor, and martial arts prowess. Their strict adherence to the code of bushido (“the way of the warrior”), chivalry, and honor in fighting to the death continues to capture the imagination of people today, inspiring authors, filmmakers, and artists. The Pocket Samurai contains the essential writings of the era by the most esteemed samurai and philosophers of the age, including the iconic Miyamoto Musashi, author of The Book of Five Rings; Yamamoto Tsunetomo, author of…
Author(s): William Scott Wilson

Best Samurai Books You Should Read

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some samurai books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

How to Be a Modern Samurai

Author(s): Antony Cummins
ID: 2588126, Publisher: Watkins Media, Year: 2020, Size: 7 Mb, Format: epub

Ninja vs Samurai: The Myths Revealed

Author(s): Roley, Don
ID: 2798842, Publisher: , Year: 2020, Size: 1 Mb, Format: epub

The Way of the Samurai

Author(s): Inazo Nitobe
ID: 2803012, Publisher: Arcturus Digital Limited, Year: 2020, Size: 660 Kb, Format: epub

Please note that this booklist is not final. Some books are truly hot items according to Los Angeles Times, others are composed by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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