The Samurai Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide to Japan’s Elite Warrior Class

We rated this book:


The samurai is universally recognized as a fundamental symbol of the national character. Unfortunately, popular perceptions of samurai customs, institutions, and behaviors are dominated by misconceptions, misinformation, and even fabrications. This book (which is a reprint of Samurai: An Encyclopedia of Japan’s Cultured Warriors, 2019) has several encyclopedia-style entries that attempt to make all things samurai accessible to the general reader.

As an encyclopedia, this is a collection of distinct entries rather than a cohesive narrative exploring broad topics such as people, material culture and samurai practices, social organizations and groups, events, texts, and institutions and systems. While the entries are alphabetically arranged, there is a thematic list as well.

The book has over one hundred entries that are easy to read, well-researched, and informative. While the book is an enjoyable read, the encyclopedia format assumes that the reader has existing knowledge of Japanese history (which may not be the case for general readers). Perhaps a historical narrative would be a better format. Given the broad scope, this book intends to cover, some material necessarily had to be omitted. Regardless, it is an excellent reference book that tries to separate the mythology of the samurai from the historical samurai.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 544 pages
Publisher Tuttle Publishing
Publish Date 25-Oct-2022
ISBN 9784805317082 Buy this Book
Issue December 2022
Category History