Saturday, August 13, 2016

Where my book Samurai comes from


It isn't really anything mind blowing here, but every written work has a source of inspiration.

Origin of inspire
Middle English inspiren ; from Old French inspirer ; from Classical Latin inspirare ; from in-, in, on + spirare, to breathe: see spirit
  1. to inhale
  2. to give inspiration
That is, to be inspired, is to have a spirit breathed into you.  And that is absolutely true for me, because since being a child I've been fascinated by the warrior culture of Japan.

Samurai, the term in Japanese means "to serve".  For me their example has served to provide for me a means to deal with the vagaries of existence.  I was constantly told to believe in things I did not, to do things I did not agree with, and that the world was a certain way, that I knew that it was not.  There is no one to blame, generations and culture always conflict, and there isn't, truly, a single right way to exist.

According to my favorite author Albert Camus the world we live in is absurd.  "The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning. This is a truth nearly all great minds have taken as their starting point. It is not this discovery that is interesting, but the consequences and rules of action drawn from it."  And I agree, life is absurd.

The world around me is absurd, but escaping into the lessons of the past were very helpful.  So I have read, watched and studied the Samurai.  In my life there were additional areas of chaos and absurdity.  I was born of dark circumstance, I suffered from brain disorders, I had cruel life experiences that caused PTSD.  The end result of these absurdities made my life different than many other people's life.  I tried to organize my mind by living more ordered and aware by the things I've learned via studies of the Samurai.  I am also a Christian, so my pursuit of God and morality was guided by those principles as well.

One last area of inspiration came from a nearby and recent source.  My friendship with Josh Brown made me want to write about our shared interests. 

“If you are unaware that the world is teeming with ineptitude from the beginning, you will develop a bitter countenance, and in turn others will eschew you.” Tsunetomo Yamamoto

“Perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.”  Yukio Mishima, Runaway Horses

"What do you think of farmers? You think they're saints? Hah! They're foxy beasts! They say, "We've got no rice, we've no wheat. We've got nothing!" But they have! They have everything! Dig under the floors! Or search the barns! You'll find plenty! Beans, salt, rice, sake! Look in the valleys, they've got hidden warehouses! They pose as saints but are full of lies! If they smell a battle, they hunt the defeated! They're nothing but stingy, greedy, blubbering, foxy, and mean! God damn it all! But then . . . who made them such beasts? You did! You samurai did it! You burn their villages! Destroy their farms! Steal their food! Force them to labour! Take their women! And kill them if they resist! So what should farmers do? Damn... damn... damn..."  Kikuchiyo

Seven Samurai

Stephen Turnbull


Shambhala Publications

"The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one's aim is to die a dog's death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one's aim."   Yamamoto Tsunetomo

As a historian I've read, studied, and researched Japan.  The culture, the military history, the people and the mythic beliefs are sources of constant interest for me.  I've been a believer in a religion from the western civilization, but I practice it as one who uses the mental and spiritual learning I found in Japan, and primarily, the Samurai warrior.  I am not a person who transcends culture, I have a separation due to language, a haze across my eyes due to time, and more.  But I do love Japan.  I love Japan very much.

I am not a person who watches a ton of movies.  But I moved deeply by many aspects of Japanese culture, including the cinema of Japan.  From the children's entertainment to adult concepts, the cinema from Japan is my world of comfort and interest.


I read about Japan nearly every day.  Sometimes in fiction, sometimes in non-fiction, often I read about the military history.


There are a great variety of comics from and about Japan that I am a fan of.

Comic Books aka Manga and Anime

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