Friday, February 17, 2017

Booknote: Bushido: The Soul of the Samurai

Seán Michael Wilson,, Bushido: the Soul of the Samurai. Boulder, CO: Shambhala, 2016.  ISBN: 978-1-61180-210-8.

Genre: nonfiction, graphic novels
Subgenre: Asian studies, Japan, samurai, bushido
Format: trade paperback
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County (KY) public library.

This is a graphic novel adaptation of the classic book by Inazo Nitobe. The adaptation is by Sean Michael Wilson, who also did The 47 Ronin, which I read and enjoyed too (link to my review of that). The original Bushido book was published in 1905, and it was meant to introduce Westerners to the samurai way and tradition (on a side note, you can find an audiobook recording of that book on The book goes over the traditions, codes, virtues and practices of bushido. Wilson's adaptation brings this classic text to life for a new generation of readers.

I found the book to be very accessible and easy to read. The book has an introduction and seventeen chapters. Each chapter starts with an introductory text for the chapter's topic, then it expands on the topic with graphic illustrations. The art is in black and white, and it is very good, suitable to the text. I found it interesting and a good basic introduction to the classic work, which I may try to find down the road.

The book makes a good selection for libraries with  graphic novel collections.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Additional reading notes:

On Nitobe's book:

"His Bushido: The Soul of Japan was one of the first books to present samurai ethic and their role in Japanese culture to Western readers. We present it here in visual format, for the first time in English. . . " (from the book's introduction). 

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This book qualifies for the following 2017 Reading Challenges:

Note: Qualified for Blogger Shame challenge since I initially got it via NetGalley, but I was not able to get to it at the time, and the galley expired. However, my public library got it, so I was able to redeem it. 

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