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Western scholars and educators are generally far less familiar with the samurai in his original - and, ostensibly, primary - role as warrior and master of arms than in his other functions as landowner, feudal lord, literateur, or philosopher. Yet any attempt to comprehend fully the samurai without considering his military abilities and training (bugei) is futile. Karl Friday combines the results of nearly two decades of fieldwork and archival research to examine samurai martial culture from a broad perspective: as a historical phenomenon, as a worldview, and as a system of physical, spiritual, and moral education. Legacies of the Sword is the first attempt by a Westerner scholar trained both in bugei and in Japanese studies and historical methodology to discuss this major and compelling component of Japanese culture. It presents a case study of the Kashima-Shinryu, one of the oldest of the extant samurai training organizations, and was written in close collaboration with its current headmaster, Seki Humitake. The volume illuminates the extraordinary complexity of the bugei and the manner in which various physical, technical, psychological, and philosophical factors merge to produce a coherent art that guides the lives of those who practice it.
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- ID: 9780824818791
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