Shiba Ryotaro’s “Junshi”

Shiba Ryotaro’s masterpiece Ryoma ga Yuku immortalized Sakamoto Ryoma in the psyche of the Japanese people. Along with that book and many others by Shiba, I also love this one, Junshi, about Nogi Maresuke (Nogi Taisho), the famed hero of the Russo-Japan War, formerly a samurai of Choshu, whose seppuku in the wake of the death of the Meiji Emperor shocked the country. Junshi is the ancient practice of following one’s lord in death – and Shiba’s account of the incident is nothing short of awesome.