This is the go-to volume on bushido (“the way of the warrior”), drawing on a wide range of historical sources to paint a vivid picture of the samurai in action and separating the truth from the myth of samurai chivalry. It offers a long-overdue update to the attractive but inaccurate portrait of the samurai painted in Bushido: The Soul of Japan, which has been a bestseller ever since its publication in 1905, and the equally idealistic Hagakure (c.1716).
In The Book of Bushido, Antony explores the reality of warrior behaviour versus the idealistic depiction created for an Edwardian audience by the author of Bushido: The Soul of Japan. He reveals the truth of how the samurai really behaved and of what they considered to be a warrior ethos. He replaces the image of the perfect eastern warrior with the much more interesting reality of hardened, bloodstained military leaders with human failings and a complex set of ideas about the world, who engage in ritual, magic and ceremony, who lead their followers in war and peace and who, above all, are fighting a battle between addiction to power and morality. This is the story of bushido – the way of the samurai.