The Code of the Samurai
[The Manga Edition]

  • Tsunetomo Yamamoto
  • Adapted by Sean Michael Wilson
  • Illustrations by Chie Kutsuwada
  • Afterword by William Scott Wilson

Size: 226×152 mm, 300 g
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 144
ISBN10: 4-7700-3120-3
ISBN13: 978-4-7700-3120-4
Release date: Jan. 1, 2011

List price: $14.95

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A fledgling samurai humbly requests to be taught the ways of the samurai by Yamamoto-sensei, the famed author of Hagakure, a book of samurai deeds that has been acclaimed throughout the land. Yamamoto takes on the education of the eager young samurai, and so begins a series of tales reminiscent of The Arabian Nights, with deeds both admirable and atrocious, but each one a lesson in the convoluted Way of the Samurai...

The Way of the Samurai is not an easy road to travel, and aspiring samurai are often confounded by the ins and outs of the profession. Confronting just such a problem, young Tsuramoto Tashiro seeks the advice of the famous Yamamoto Tsunetomo, the retired-samurai-turned-Zen-monk who wrote the renowned Hagakure. The old samurai master grants the young man's request, and so begins a unique education.
At each sitting, Tashiro listens in rapt attention as his teacher relates tales of samurai past. With brutal, unrelenting samurai justice, wrongs are righted and judgment is passed. With each incident, the young novice learns what it means to be a samurai. Learns what courage and right thought are. Learns the harsh realities and subtle wisdom of his age.
This is the first English-language manga version of Hagakure, the eighteenth-century samurai classic translated into English by William Scott Wilson, who has written a special Afterword for this edition.

"Hagakure became a kind of magical discovery for me, and 'hidden under its leaves' were some important gifts." —Jim Jarmusch, director of Ghost Dog
"The most influential of all samurai treatises ever written." —Ivan Morris
"A guidebook and inspiration for...anyone interested in achieving a courageous and transcendent understanding of life." —East West Journal

About the Author

Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1659–1719) was a samurai retainer of the Nabeshima clan, based in what is present-day Saga Prefecture, on the western edge of Japan. Upon the death of his lord, and prohibited from following him in death by committing seppuku, he shaved his head and became a Zen priest. He later dictated Hagakure, now considered a samurai classic.
Sean Michael Wilson has written a number of comic books and manga, and is the editor of the groundbreaking Ax: Alternative Manga. His books include comic/manga versions of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Lafcadio Hearn's Japanese Ghost Stories, The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde, The Story of Lee, The Japanese Drawing Room, and Iraq: Operation Corporate Takeover. He has worked with a variety of Japanese, Chinese, and British artists, including Mike Collins and Yishan Li. He has also given lectures on mature manga in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Chie Kutsuwada graduated as an art major from a Japanese college before moving to London, where she continued her studies at the Royal College of Art in London. Her work has appeared in The Mammoth Book of Best New Manga (volumes 2 & 3), and she drew a manga adaptation of William Shakespeare's As You Like It with the writer Richard Appignanesi. Ms.Kutsuwada has given numerous manga workshops and talks on drawing manga around Britain, making presentations in such well-known venues as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Library, and British Museum.
William Scott Wilson is a well-known translator of Japanese classic texts, and the author of The Lone Samurai. Hagakure, his first Japanese translation, went on to inspire Jim Jarmusch's film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. Wilson has written an Afterword for this edition. Though Wilson had not worked with Sean Michael Wilson before this project, and they have no immediate relatives in common, it turns out that both are descendents of the Gunn clan from northern Scotland.