Read Next

Want to Learn Japanese History? Start with Sengoku

Hi Sebastian

Happy new year!

I am hoping you would share your resources for your reading on Japanese history. Book titles and/or urls would be very helpful.


I got that a week ago, and I kind of sat there staring at the email. Japanese history is some of the most confusing to start to learn, because different elements of Japanese history and culture all play on and influence each other. I could run you through the military history of Japan from The Battle of Okehazama to Sekigahara to the Boshin War, from there into Dai Nippon Tekoku Era, from there into defeat and the Occupation under McArthur, and then we could do a little post-war history.


From "Miyamoto Musashi: The Masterless Samurai" by Albert E. Lyngzeidetson --

"[Musashi] admonishes the practitioner to not favor esoteric, unusual, or convoluted forms of combat. Indeed, he says that you should force your opponent to adopt these outlandish mannerisms, and then strike him down with one single well placed blow. The point is to be effective and dispatch the opponent as expeditiously as possible. Nothing else matters. In keeping with this sentiment, and true to his Zen roots, the warrior should be completely unconcerned with the loss of his own life or the taking of the opponent’s life. Life and death – no difference! This may seem quite cruel and crass to some, but the import of the attitude is this: if I am even the least bit apprehensive about losing my life in combat, this may promote a hesitancy or anxiety to act, and this very delay may indeed cost me my life due to making a fatal error."

A wealth of takeaways there --

*Focus on being effective, not on looking impressive.*Focus on the core outcome first and foremost.*Encourage adversaries to focus on impressive distractions and lose focus on the outcome.*Once committed to action, do not consider downsides -- just act.*Live in the moment, not in fear of a possible future outcome.

Eiji Yoshikawa's "Musashi" remains one of my favorite works, brilliance as both an adventure story and for its philosophy. Musashi's own writings -- Go Rin No Sho and Dokkodo -- also stand the test of time very well.

Rendering New Theme...