I read a selection of parts from Hagakure
in the final year of high school for my end paper. Now, I picked up this illustrated hardcover copy in Dutch, which will make for a nice reference. It turns out its nearly 300 pages contain only a modest selection of the original work, so I wonder how many Hagakure
s are actually completely unabridged.
The book is deservedly a classic of Japanese philosophy, and it gives a valuable contrast to works like Musashi's Book of Five Rings
, who emphasises other parts of samurai philosophy. To put it briefly, Musashi is all about victory, while Tsunetomo's all about death.
I found this a very worthwhile version, though it would probably better to purchase the English original translation, which has the same layout. My version is translated two times, something which is rarely if ever an ideal situation. Regardless, it gets across the general messages of Hagakure
quite well, and the aforementioned layour is pure bliss. A heavy hardcover, pages adorned with coloured natural patterns, and loads of beautiful japanese art and photography.