If you have ever found yourself wondering what kind of food a samurai takes into battle, or what kind of name a baby samurai should be given if he is to be a fierce warrior, there is now a new translation of a 450-year-old book written by a famous samurai that answers all of these questions and more.
The name of the book is The Hundred Rules of War and was reportedly composed in Japanese in the year 1571 by a famous samurai that went by the name of Tsukahara Bokuden, and who lived during the Sengoku period from 1489 to 1571. Bokuden asserts that, as a samurai, he killed hundreds of men during the turbulent time in Japanese history in which he lived, and was involved in well over 100 different battles.
The Hundred Rules of War is written in a very specific style by using songs that a samurai can sing and was originally printed in book form in Japan in 1840, although it was copied over and over again for many centuries before this. Eric Shahan is the person responsible for the recent translation of the new edition, and has a long history when it comes to translations in the field of texts involving Japanese martial arts, according to Live Science.
Eric Shahan has said that the 450-year-old book on the life of a samurai deals with death above all other things, in keeping with the tradition of other books on the ways of a samurai, like Hagakure by Tsuntomo Yamamoto.
“Samurai study a great many things; however, the single focus of their learning is death.”
If you’re interested in the best possible name for a samurai warrior baby, The Hundred Rules of War explains that one of the most sacred and special names you can give them is Yumi, which is taken from two pine trees planted in Takasago, the reasoning for this being that trees are believed to “represent eternity and long life.”
“To one born a samurai, the name Yumi is best. The name should be revered and held as high as the pine tree of Takasago.”
Recently translated 450-year-old Japanese text, “The Hundred Rules of War” offers advice to samurai warriors. https://t.co/RzmuQBmaKp
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What kind of food does a samurai eat? In Tsukahara Bokuden’s opinion, if you’re close to battle, it’s best that you sustain yourself with rice and water only.
“If a samurai is preparing to step onto the field of battle, it is wise to avoid eating anything other than hot water poured over rice.”
On the other hand, if a samurai finds himself hungry while preparing for a fierce battle, it is suggested in this 450-year-old book on the life of a samurai that dried plums are carried for a snack.
“Of the things a samurai carries on the field of battle, know that there is nothing better than plums that have been dried in the sun.”
Another important thing a samurai should do is eschew alcohol, because, as Bokuden says, “Samurai that drink to excess are liable to blunder.”
The life of a samurai is never easy and if you’re overly concerned with death, Tsukahara Bokuden doesn’t believe you’ll make a very good warrior.
“Samurai cast off thoughts of both life and death, their mind is set on moving forward.”
The 450-year-old book on the ways of the samurai, The Hundred Rules of War, is now available in its newly translated form.
[Featured Image by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]