Yamamoto Tsunetomo — Japanese Soldier born on June 11, 1659, died on November 30, 1719

Yamamoto Tsunetomo, also read Yamamoto Jōchō was a samurai of the Saga Domain in Hizen Province under his lord Nabeshima Mitsushige. For thirty years Yamamoto devoted his life to the service of his lord and clan. When Nabeshima died in 1700, Yamamoto did not choose to follow his master in death in junshi because the master had expressed a dislike of the practice in his life. Instead, Yamamoto followed his lord's wishes and refrained from junshi. After some disagreements with Nabeshima's successor, Yamamoto renounced the world and retired to a hermitage in the mountains. Later in life, he narrated many of his thoughts to a fellow samurai, Tsuramoto Tashiro. Many of these aphorisms concerned his lord's father and grandfather Naoshige and the failing ways of the samurai caste. These commentaries were compiled and published in 1716 under the title of Hagakure, a word that can be translated as either In the shadow the Leaves or hidden leaves... (wikipedia)

One's appearance bespeaks dignity corresponding to the depth of his character. One's concentrated effort, serene attitude, taciturn air, courteous disposition, thoroughly polite bearing, gritted teeth with a piercing look - each of these reveals dignity. Such outward appearance, in short, comes from constant attentiveness and seriousness.
Nothing is impossible in this world. Firm determination, it is said, can move heaven and earth. Things appear far beyond one's power, because one cannot set his heart on any arduous project due to want of strong will.
One must know the so-called 'lesson of a downpour.' A man, caught in a sudden rain en route, dashes along the road not to get wet or drenched. Once one takes it for granted that in rain he naturally gets wet, he can be in a tranquil frame of mind even when soaked to the skin. This lesson applies to everything.
Death seems to be a long way off. Is this not shallow thinking? It is worthless and is only a joke within a dream. It will not do to think in such a way and be negligent. Insofar as death is always at one's door, one should make sufficient effort and act quickly.
When confronted with two alternatives, life and death, one is to choose death without hesitation.

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