The Book of Samurai series by Antony Cummins and Yoshie Minami is an essential read for anyone interested in historical samurai and shinobi (ninja). This is not an uninformed book of fantasy or made up "facts" that reimagines the historical methods used by the samurai and ninja. The series of books are English translations of over 10 scrolls written by samurai and shinobi teacher, Natori Masazumi in the 1600s. Natori Masazumi saw the ending of the samurai era and decided to record the teachings from the Natori Ryu, school of samurai and ninja warfare. These are the words that were written down in the 1600s.
The first book, The Book of Samurai: Fundamental Teachings (https://www.amazon.com/gp/f.html?C=2KVQPKQSS2V7N&M=urn:rtn:msg:20181031182427ded7c0df384c43f0b478dee91db0p0na&R=XGHXY0C6UAO6&T=C&U=https%3A%2F%2Fsmile.amazon.com%2FBook-Samurai-One-Fundamental-Teachings%2Fdp%2F1780288883%2Fref%3Dcm_sw_em_r_dp_dz_v_U_ImF2BbC1B6ATJ_tt&H=H9IK4QUL3JIYEKNGXPQUZD4XJLOA) covers the basic teachings a samurai needs to know as an individual. This first book includes the scrolls Heika Jodan no Maki and Ippei Yoko.
Heika Jodan teaches you about everyday life of the samurai and their family. It includes articles about:
- times of peace
- strength in war
The second scrolls, Ippei Yoko, teaches you about being an independent samurai. It includes articles about:
- types of samurai
- how a samurai gets paid (don't lose your head over this section)
- castle design
- military terms
- how to attack
- military travel.
Book One really should be your starting point in learning what the samurai were taught.
Book Two, The Book of Samurai: Samurai Arms, Armor, and the Tactics of Warfare, covers information on how the samurai and shinobi fit into an army. Book Two lends itself to having diagrams illustrating details about samurai armor, weapons, equipment, and strategy. It also is composed of two scrolls, Heigu Yoho and Heieki Yoho
Heieki Yoho teaches you about your duties in the military and includes articles about:
- military leadership
- estimating the number of soldiers
- troop formations
- military attack
- use of thieves
- castle construction
- castle siege
- military structure
- military punishment
- military intelligence
- battle camps
- shinobi (ninja)
Heigu Yoho teaches you about military tools and includes articles about:
- military tools
- war banners
Both book one and book two are valuable assets to anyone interested in learning what the samurai and ninja were trained, directly from the words of their teachers. The Book of Samurai series will continue to grow as more and more scrolls get translated. In the end, this series will be a complete collection of samurai and ninja school. Another scroll in this series, not yet included under the title of The Book of Samurai is the Shoninki. The Shoninki scroll by Natori Masazumi is dedicated to the tools and skills of the ninja and has also been translated by Antony Cummins and Yoshie Minami, under the title True Path of the Ninja (https://www.amazon.com/gp/f.html?C=2KVQPKQSS2V7N&M=urn:rtn:msg:201810311946193b35f2544173444a93742f370480p0na&R=2FRCIJBV2NCO9&T=C&U=https%3A%2F%2Fsmile.amazon.com%2FTrue-Path-Ninja-Definitive-Translation-ebook%2Fdp%2FB005CVV1Q4%2Fref%3Dcm_sw_em_r_dp_dz_v_U_zzG2BbX9MEV0X_tt&H=1WZB2ZHI2ZZJTJJSO4OVK3YZMEQA). I highly recommend getting the True Path of the Ninja, along with the two Books of Samurai in order to help complete your set of all of the Natori Ryu scrolls that have been translated and published thus far.
This new volume in the prestigious, beautifully presented Book of Samurai series offers an unparalleled understanding of a historical samurai's armour, weaponry and military tactics. A sample chapter detailing lessons in military tactics.
About the Author
Antony Cummins is the founder of the Historical Ninjutsu Research Team, which has previously published the first two manuals in its ninja series, The Book of the Ninja being the last in the trilogy. Antony also works as the head of Urban Canyon Films to produce high-end documentaries on Japan, which are being distributed by National Geographic. He has been recognised by peers as a leading expert in the discovery of military arts of medieval Japan.