Samurai Tales is about the legendary men from the samurai class who fought for the helm of power in 19th century Japan. These are stories of courage, honor, fidelity, disgrace, fate, and destiny set in the bloody time of political change and social upheaval in the final years of the Shogun.
amurai Tales is an updated edition of Samurai Sketches. Samurai Tales contains a Forward to the New Edition, and three vignettes at the end of the book which were not published in Samurai Sketches.
The final years of the samurai were an age of unprecedented turmoil and bloodletting in Japan. They heralded the end of nearly three centuries of rule under the Tokugawa Shogun. The rule of law was deteriorating, assassination and murder were rampant, and inner-fighting among the warrior class embroiled the nation. After the United States forced an end of over two hundred years of Japanese isolation, two contrasting philosophies were embraced by the samurai. On one side were those who would overthrow the shogun and restore the Imperial monarchy. Opposing the revolutionaries were the allies of the Tokugawa Bakufu, headed by the shogun.
While the shogun’s men and the revolutionaries clashed violently, as samurai they shared an allegiance to an unwritten code of honor, bushido, which governed the ways they lived and died. Bushido was a stoic system of morals which condoned suicide, vengeance and, in some cases, cold-blooded murder.
These Tales are accurate portrayals of the heart and soul of the samurai, the social and political systems of whom have, like the Japanese sword, become relics of a distant age, but the likes of whose nobility shall never again be seen in this world. They combine to tell, in part, the great epic which was the dawn of modern Japan, and through them it has been the author’s objective to delve deeply into the psyche of the men of the samurai class..