The Samurai and the Sacred

The Samurai and the Sacred

General Military
  • Author: Stephen Turnbull
  • Short code: GNM
  • Publication Date: 10 Oct 2006
  • ISBN: 9781846030215
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number of Pages: 224
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About this Product

The fierce loyalty and self-sacrificing attitude of the Samurai have made them both a legend and a cult. Yet although their military prowess and skills in the martial arts have been studied exhaustively, an understanding of their belief system still eludes many. This original and exciting work examines the spiritual world of the samurai, from their attachment to Japan's mainstream religions of Shinto and Buddhism, to their involvement in Confucianism, Christianity and Folk Religion. Samurai expert Stephen Turnbull examines important topics such as Zen and the martial arts, modern militarism, the cult of the sword, revenge and suicide, hara kiri and the kamikaze pilots the suicide bombers of their day. He also looks at the fascinating issue of Japanese religious terrorism, as well as the growing cult status of the Samurai both in Japan and in the West.

Biographical Note

Stephen Turnbull, a leading authority on Japanese history, has an MA in Theology and an MA in Military History, in addition to a PhD from Leeds University for his work on Japanese religious history. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the Far East and also runs a well-used picture library. His work has been recognized by the awarding of the Canon Prize of the British Association for Japanese Studies and a Japan Festival Literary Award. He is a lecturer in Japanese Religion at the University of Leeds.


Introduction - Religion in Samurai History The two faces of Shinto Buddhism in samurai history Religion goes to war Beyond belief Onward Christian Samurai! Religion and social control under the Tokugawa Zen - the religion of the samurai? Bushido - the soul of the samurai? Heaven, hell and hara-kiri Cults, crazes and poison gas

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