The masterpiece of the former samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo is a treatise written 300 years ago, preserved for generations in northern Kyushu by warrior chiefs as moral and practical instruction for themselves and their samurai retainers. Closely guarded as secret teachings and shown only to a chosen few, the manuscript became generally available only in the post-samurai Meiji era (1868 onwards). The Hagakure offers a fascinating insight into Japanese "warrior-ness". This was a culture in which death was embraced rather than feared. Yamamoto tells his readers how to foster courage, how to serve selflessly, how to become a skilled master of your own destiny, and how to infuse life with beauty while acknowledging its transience. Yamamoto's penetrating insights and profound aphorisms reflect important moral principles that still apply to us today. This illustrated edition of the ancient classic will enlighten anyone with an interest in Japanese culture and world literature.