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Traces the development of Japanese arms from their earliest beginning and discusses the history of the samurai warrior.
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The history of Japan over the last thousand years is largely the history of the elite military class, the samurai warriors. The samurai were an entire and separate class in society. Until late in the nineteenth century they had an absolute monopoly on the bearing of arms in Japan. They followed a special code known as bushido, a philosophical foundation for a "freedom from fear", and epitomized the ideals of patriotism and devotion to military duty. This spiritual philosophy, which in the last century inspired the country in its headlong drive to modernization, was carried through also into the design, production, decoration, wearing, and use of samurai armor and weapons. The influence of the samurai was one that was created by force of arms, which, although initially influenced in the 7th and 8th centuries AD by mainland Asia, quickly developed into styles that were totally Japanese in character and are impossible to confuse with those of any other nation.Following decades of painstaking research, the author provides an intriguing, scholarly, yet highly readable history of these fascinating weapons and the men who made and fought with them. This wonderfully illustrated book displays in spectacular photographs, most of which are in color and many of which have never been published before, the most important samurai weapons of all - various types of long and short sword, polearms, bows and arrows, and firearms, - as well as the dramatic forms of head and body armor designed specifically for samurai-versus-samurai combat. (10 1/2 x 11 1/4, 144 pages, color photos, b&w photos, illustrations)
Clive Sinclaire has been a member of To-ken Society of Great Britain for over thirty years. It is the oldest club in Europe dedicated to the study and preservation of Japanese swords and armor, of which he is currently the chairman. He has also been a member of NBTHK, the leading study and preservation society in Japan. He has written many articles on the subject of the Japanese sword, and is the editor of the English publication on the subject, titled Nihon-to.
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