Lords of the Samurai: The Legacy of a Daimyo Family

Hardback: $29.95
ISBN-13: 9780939117802
Published: August 2017

Additional Information

240 pages | over 200 full-color illus
  • About the Book
  • Japan's samurai were professional soldiers, but they could also be cultivated artists, writers and philosophers. “Samurai” means “he who serves,” and these fierce warriors acted in the service of powerful feudal lords known as daimyo (“great name”). Among the most important daimyo families were members of the Hosokawa clan, whose lineage dates back some six hundred years. Lords of the Samurai brings to life the code of the samurai and the private and public lives of the daimyo by focusing on approximately 160 works from the Hosokawa family collection housed in the Eisei-Bunko Museum in Tokyo, the Kumamoto Castle and the Kumamoto Municipal Museum in Kyushu. Japanese historical objects discussed include suits of armor, armaments (including swords and guns), formal attire, calligraphy, paintings, tea ware, lacquer ware, masks, and musical instruments. To the daimyo, martial arts were not just a physical or military activity—they were part of a spiritual and ethical program that governed every aspect of their existence. Featuring an extended essay by Thomas Cleary, Lords of the Samurai lays bare the principles that governed the spirit of the samurai, enabling it to endure for hundreds of years and continue to resonate today.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Yoko Woodson, Author

    • Takeuchi Jun'ichi, Author

    • Thomas Cleary, Author


    • Hosokawa Morihiro
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • "It seems that when they were not fighting one another the famed samurai liked to indulge in calligraphy and painting and compose poetry. This exhibition brings together more than 15 works from across Japan, including armor, swords and guns, calligraphy and paintings."
      —The New York Times