Follow Me On
The Woman in White Marble

{Click Marble or visit Books in the main menu}

The Courage of the Samurai

by Lori Tsugawa Whaley

ISBN-10: 1938686829
ISBN-13: 978-1938686825

The Courage of the Samurai is available in paperback, audible, and eBook for Kindle (also Kindle for Android and iPad - click Kindle for Android). The book can be purchased at the following:
Barnes & Noble

The Courage of a Samurai is a Japanese American's journey into bushido, the samurai's code of ethics. Each chapter features a timeless message about Japanese and Japanese Americans who applied the principles of courage, integrity, benevolence, respect, honesty, honor, and loyalty to overcome life's challenges, and emerge stronger individuals.  The Courage of a Samurai provides the reader a look ‘inside’ this ancient code through the lives of inspiring individuals.

Why did Chiune Sugihara, aka the Japanese Schindler, save the lives of Polish and Lithuanian Jews during World War II against the orders of the Japanese and Lithuanian governments? Understand the meaning of Honor in Saigo Takamori’s, aka The Last Samurai, determination to preserve the samurai’s way of life.  Learn why “Go for Broke!” was the motto of the famous World War II all-Nisei 100th/442nd RCT, and discover why this simple motto reflects the essence of the way of the warrior.

The Code of Bushido can guide us through the challenges we all face, and inspire us to live a life of honor, courage, and integrity in today’s fast-paced and changing world. Sharpen your sword, and let the journey begin!


Lori Tsugawa Whaley is an author, inspirational speaker, and a descendant of the samurai warrior. She graduated with Honors from Portland State University. Whaley, a Baby Boomer, struggled with being 'different', and channeled her energies into understanding, and embracing her Japanese heritage. This journey forged a compassion to empower others to reach their God-given potential, and the driving force for her book, The Courage of a Samurai: Seven Sword-Sharp Principles for Success.





The Courage of a Samurai is an interesting book that combines fascinating historical information about the Japanese Samurai and culture and principles of personal/business development. Tsugawa Whaley is a Sansei, a third generation Japanese American, who through extensive research and personal experience (numerous visits to Japan) taught herself about her Japanese heritage. In this book she writes about the bushido code, the code of the Samurai, in the hopes that it will lead the reader to grow in their personal lives and business pursuits.

The bushido code includes the following principles: courage, integrity, benevolence, respect, honest, honor, and loyalty. And for good measure Tsugawa Whaley includes an eighth principle of Japanese culture at the end of the book, namely Ganbaru, a Japanese word that means to “stand firm, hold out, and persist.” The lay-out of the book is simple. Each chapter addresses one of the principles, beginning with courage in Chapter I. Tsugawa Whaley offers a brief definition and explanation of how the principle both creates and reflects Japanese culture. This is followed by stories of individuals, organizations, or events that are examples of people who she believes have exhibited the bushido principles through the living of their lives. While the approach is simple, it is, nonetheless, affective.

Though I have travelled extensively in Asia, including Japan, I suspect most readers will be like me and have a limited knowledge of Japanese and Japanese American culture, people, and history. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the bushido code and the numerous people and groups Tsugawa Whaley wrote about. Many, if not most, of the stories she told were inspiring.

Tsugawa Whaley uses a technique of asking questions of the reader that I assume is part of the personal development genre (and here I expose my ignorance of that genre). Given her stated purpose of the book is to help the reader to succeed in life and business, these are not rhetorical questions. She wants us to actually answer them. “Is your intent strong enough to muster the courage you need to take action?” “In the midst of your battle, will you face challenges and obstacles with the same spirit as Inouye (Senator Daniel K. Inouye)?” “Honor, a praiseworthy reputation – is it worth it to you?” “Are my actions conducive to the business or relationships I desire in my life?” And so on. I found this technique slightly off-putting, almost teacherly. Having said that, the challenge in each question is worth confronting!

However, I do have some unease about The Courage of the Samurai. Tsugawa Whaley has taken on a big challenge in writing this book. She has asked the reader to incorporate a Japanese cultural attribute – the bushido code, which developed over hundreds of years and has been part of the Japanese societal DNA for generations – into their personal and public life. It’s not unreasonable to think something might get lost in translation. I am more than certain that if American and Japanese individuals were to talks about benevolence, or respect, or integrity, for example, they would find some common ground and many differences. While cultures are defined by such principles, cultures also delineate the nuanced meanings of those principles. It is a dynamic and complicated relationship. It is difficult to transplant one culture’s values into another, though we often benefit for trying.  

Also, the principles of the bushido code that I listed above are foundational principles of Western culture as well. For example, the Introduction, Tsugawa Whaley described how the bushido code inspired and inspires almost all aspects of Japanese culture, saying proudly that the samurai influences made and make Japan what it was and is. She wrote: “The world’s people witnessed Japan arising from a war-torn country into an economic superpower, and they were astonished.” Well, so did Germany after World War Two and without the bushido code. It would have been interesting and helpful to have heard more about how the buhsido code’s embrace of these foundational human principles differed from that in the West. How does the Japanese understanding of, say, courage, differ from an American understanding? How do those differences impact our lives?

My point is that this book should be read as an informative and fascinating introduction to the subject. Cultural expressions of ethical principles are complicated. Cross-cultural sharing of ethical principles is even more complicated. I have no doubt Tsugawa Whaley is up to the job of bridging the gap between Japan and the West, and while that construction began in The Courage of the Samurai, it was not completed. 

Still, I highly recommend this book. You will learn of people and events, that certainly all Americans should know about, and be inspired along the way.

{By Dale Rominger, The Back Road Café}


Ms. Whaley’s The Courage of Samurai was inspirational as well as educational. As a native Japanese living in the U.S. for many years, I have had some opportunities to learn about the wartime Japanese American experiences. However, I never really tried to understand what such experiences, whether living in the interment camps or fighting for the U.S. in the war, meant to the Japanese Americans during and after the war--until I read this book.

I was particularly moved by the tales of young Japanese American soldiers who literally and willingly sacrificed their lives to serve their country--the United States of America. By doing so, they not only proved their loyalty to the United States, but also ensured that the future generations of Japanese Americans could have better lives in their homeland.

I have a Japan-born son who grew up reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in American schools and recently became an American citizen. Ms. Whaley’s book has made me realize how much he, or even we the Japan-born parents, owe our existence in this country to those courageous people who perished in the war or endured the humiliation and hardship in the interment camps, always trying to be true to their cultural roots and do the right thing as human beings.

Bushido might be a Japanese culture, but I now realize that many of its aspects have universal values and appeals. I recommend this book to anyone who seeks inspirations to be a better person who can think beyond his/her personal and cultural boundaries.

on April 28, 2016}

The passion presented by the author is so genuine in the Preface you want to read and not put it down. She suffered a lot as a child from bullying (because of skin color and blamed for WWII, she is a baby boomer) and later from TBI, and to get past the injury she pushed through completing the book. You will have to read it; I won't give away all of that! It is well aligned. Great pics, great cover, amazing layout. There is not a book out there today about the samurai that comes from the author's perspective that I am aware of that brings stories of those that live by the code and gives advice for how we can live that way in our own lives. This is a must read. The only thing I would have liked to see more of is how these principles translate today. It was presented, and it was so good I would have liked to learn more about how I can apply the code to my own life and my business. And, it is not a historical document but an exploration of the author's journey into her ancestry, with accurate historical elements to help tell the story of her ancestry; the samurai. I highly recommend this book.

{By FiretalkerPR on January 11, 2017}

The Courage of a Samurai is truly an inspiring book that has changed the way I approach my professional and personal life. The author, Lori Tsugawa Whaley, does an excellent job of bringing real life stories to each of the principles in the Bushido code; Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty, Honor, Integrity, and Loyalty. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Courage and the story of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat that saved thousands of Jewish refugees during WWII, by defying his own government because he knew he had to do the right thing. Whaley ends her book by introducing the term Ganbaru, a Japanese word meaning “go for broke” or “do your best”. At heart this is what Whaley’s book is about: "Do the right thing all the time," says Whaley. It is always doing your best, doing what is right and never giving up! 

{By Stephanie on May 17, 2017}

For more reviews of The Courage of the Samurai click on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.