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  • History of Samurai

    can anyone post a link here where I can read about History of Samurai warriors?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Er . . . a link? It's kind of a broad topic.

    How about starting with the Wikipedia article? Usual Wikipedia caveats apply.

    -Beth

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    • #3
      Do some reading over at http://www.samurai-archives.com/.

      Or you know... read a book.

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      • #4
        I don't have links but the following are a few paperback books you can find on-line (Amazon) or at a local hobby store that sells military models and games.

        Books by Dr. Stephen Turnbull:
        Samurai Warfare (Sterling Publishing)
        Samurai Warriors (Sterling Publishing)
        Samurai Armies 1550-1615 (Osprey Publishing)

        Books by Anthony J. Bryant (Osprey Publishing):
        The Samurai
        Early Samurai 200-1500 AD
        Samurai 1550-1600

        Here are a couple of hardcover books I recommend (try Amazon):
        Samurai - An Illustrated History by Mitsuo Kure (Tuttle Publishing)
        Arms and Armor Of The Samurai by Bottomley & Hopson (Crescent Books)

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        • #5
          If you can bear reading an actual book, you should definitely check out William Wayne Farris's Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan's Military, 500-1300, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995). Farris deals primarily with the early stages of Japanese warrior/military system just prior to the advent of what historians consider "samurai."

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          • #6
            That definately sounds like an interesting read!

            However, I have already read all the books yoda listed... I'm such a nerd

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            • #7
              How about "Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan" by Karl Friday? Anyone read this? I'm considering doing so and would value the opinion of those here.

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              • #8
                On of the books in my collection which I especially like is this one.
                It's good for a primer.

                Edited becuase Yoda-Waza beat me to it!
                :P

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sam.i.am View Post
                  If you can bear reading an actual book, you should definitely check out William Wayne Farris's Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan's Military, 500-1300, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995). Farris deals primarily with the early stages of Japanese warrior/military system just prior to the advent of what historians consider "samurai."
                  Wow, I'm definitely getting hold of that for the essay I'm writing!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by yoda-waza View Post
                    How about "Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan" by Karl Friday? Anyone read this? I'm considering doing so and would value the opinion of those here.
                    Karl Friday is another respectable scholar.

                    While I don't want to start a flame war here but Stephen Turnbull's works should be read as "pop" history if this makes any sense. A friend of mine (a Ph.D. from a very prestigeous US university) once refer to him as a hack. However, I do see some use in these pop books as they can and often do get people to search and read more about the topics.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sam.i.am View Post
                      Karl Friday is another respectable scholar.

                      While I don't want to start a flame war here but Stephen Turnbull's works should be read as "pop" history if this makes any sense. A friend of mine (a Ph.D. from a very prestigeous US university) once refer to him as a hack. However, I do see some use in these pop books as they can and often do get people to search and read more about the topics.
                      Yes, I'd already figured the works by Bryant and Turnbull, thin paperbacks with color illustrations targeted to the hobbyist, could be considered "pop" history, however, they focused on details (armor, weapons, tactics, etc.) perhaps not deemed worthy of attention in the more scholarly tomes that expound on the bigger historical picture.

                      As you mentioned, pop works can trigger further interest. I read James Clavell's "Shogun" 30 years ago (before the TV mini-series) and was subsequently inspired to read more on the historical background of that fictional work. That lead me to Sir George Sansom's 3-volume "History Of Japan" (Stanford University Press) which I read with keen interest. I have been reading more current works on Japanese history and culture ever since, including some pop stuff. My personal interests in Japanese architecture, gardens, chado and kendo came about this way.

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                      • #12
                        I think more populist writing can serve as an excellent introduction to many areas of study. As with many things, diving in at the deep end with some of the more difficult and in-depth works on Japanese history can be daunting. 'Pop' history books, whilst they may not be as comprehensive or detailed, can give a solid grounding to work from - as long as they're accurate in what they describe.

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                        • #13
                          Karl Friday makes a good point in his 'Legacies of the Sword' in that very few serious historians in the West have ever looked at the martial arts training that the samurai caste involved themselves in.

                          Problem is to be able to understand the workings of any given classical ryuha you pretty much have to practice it. Looking at it from the outside, reading books, watching embu is all well and good, but it doesn't lead to any degree of true comprehension.

                          I have read a few of Turnbull's books. He covers a range of interesting topics which stand as a good introduction to further study.

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                          • #14
                            This isn't a book or an article, but it is an interesting History Channel special about the History of Samurai.

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulnx1...elated&search=

                            Demonstrations of modern Kendo are shown at the end of part 4 and the beginning of part 5.

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                            • #15
                              I have read a few of Turnbull's books. He covers a range of interesting topics which stand as a good introduction to further study.
                              I agree. I have several of Mr. Turnbull's books. Karl Friday once said to me that they were "history lite".

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