Castles of the Samurai

Castles of the Samurai: Power and Beauty
By Jennifer Mitchelhill; photos by David Green.
Kodansha International, 2003.
US$35.00.
ISBN: 4-7700-2954-3.
110 p. 7.75" x 10.5"; hardcover.

I can't believe this book has been out for three years, and I have only just now discovered it. If you have already encountered Castles of the Samurai count yourself fortunate! This is a beautiful collection of photographs of a huge variety of castle features (as well as, naturally, photos of castles themselves). Appended to the 50-odd pages of captioned color photos are several brief chapters on the rise of the Japanese feudal system, the samurai and daimyo that comprised it, and the role castles played in the unification of Japan. Further brief chapters provide details on castle construction, layout, types, and their eventual fates. In addition, the book contains an extremely useful list of "Forty-five Castles to Visit" and a map of both castle locations and feudal domains during the Edo Period.

Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Japanese warrior culture.

Diane Skoss

You might also enjoy Samurai: An Illustrated History, Code of the Samurai, and Legends of the Samurai. Or search for more information on samurai at Koryu.com.

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Classical Japanese Martial Arts