The fierce loyalty and self-sacrificing attitude of the samurai have made them both a legend and a cult. Although their military prowess and skills in the martial arts have been studied exhaustively, an understanding of their belief system still eludes many. This original work examines the spiritual world of the samurai, from their attachment to Japan's mainstream religions of Shinto and Buddhism to their involvement in Confucianism, Christianity, and Folk Religion.
Samurai expert Stephen Turnbull examines important topics such as Zen and the martial arts, modern militarism, the cult of the sword, revenge and suicide, hara kiri and kamikaze pilots. He also looks at the fascinating issue history of Japan's Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians), as well as the growing cult status of the samurai both in Japan and in the West.