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William Scott Wilson (b. 1944 in Nashville, Tennessee) is known for translating several works of Japanese literature, mostly those relating to the martial tradition of that country. He is recognized by The American Literary Translator's Association (ALTA) as "today’s foremost translator of classic Samurai texts." Mr. Wilson is also described as the world's foremost expert on the warrior's philosophy of Bushido. He served as a Consular Specialist for the Consulate General of Japan in Seattle (1980)--Heading the trade section and advising the Consul on political and economic matters. Wilson received Japan’s Foreign Minister’s Commendation from the Consulate General of Japan in Miami, Masakazu Toshikage on November 15, 2005.

According to the Consulate Press release: The award is "conferred upon individuals or groups that have rendered especially distinguished service in strengthening the relationship between Japan and other countries. Through his literary works and translations, Mr. Wilson has contributed greatly to increased cultural understanding and friendship between the US and Japan."

"Mr. Wilson is a premier author and translator of samurai literature. He completed his first translation, Hagakure, while living in a farmhouse in Japan....His first original work, The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi, was published in 2004. He has done extensive research on Japanese philosophy and Bushido, the way of the samurai."


Curriculum Vitae

  • Bachelor of Arts, Japanese Language and Literature, Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies, Monterey, California, USA
  • Aichi Prefectural University, Nagoya, Japan (1975-1977) extensive Study of Edo period (1603-1868)
  • Master's Degree in Japanese Language and Literature, University of Washington at Seattle. (1979)


  • The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi] (287 pages) Kodansha International (October, 2004) ISBN 4-7700-2942-X

Translated Works

  • The Unencumbered Spirit: Reflections of a Chinese Sage. Kodansha International 224 pages ISBN: 4770030975
  • Yojokun: Life Lessons from a Samurai (The Way of the Warrior Series) by Kaibara Ekiken and William Scott Wilson (Jan 1, 2009) Kodansha International 224 pages ISBN: 978-4770030771
  • The 36 Secret Strategies of the Martial Arts by Hiroshi Moriya with translation and foreword by William Scott Wilson (March, 2008)
  • The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts by Issai Chozanshi, Translated by William Scott Wilson (224 pages) Kodansha International, (release date: November, 2006) ISBN 4-7700-3018-5
  • The Flowering Spirit : Classic Teachings on the Art of No (Hardcover)],by Zeami (160 pages) Kodansha (release date: May 19, 2006) ISBN 4-7700-2499-1
  • The Life-Giving Sword: Secret Teachings from the House of the Shogun (The Living Sword) by Yagyu Munenori (February, 2004)
  • Go Rin no Sho (The Book of Five Rings) by Miyamoto Musashi (01/18/2002)
  • Taiko: An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal Japan by Eiji Yoshikawa (10/27/2000)
  • The Unfettered Mind by Takuan Sōhō (12/01/1987)
  • Budoshinshu: The Warrior's Primer by Daidōji Yuzan (04/01/1984)
  • Hagakure (Hidden in the Leaves, among other common translations) by Yamamoto Tsunetomo (03/01/1983)
  • Ideals of the Samurai: Writings of Japanese Warriors (October, 1982)
  • Roots of Wisdom (Saikontan)(1984)


Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), Jim Jarmusch film prominently features excerpts from The Hagakure.

External links



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