Young Samurai

Young Samurai coverYoung Samurai: Bodybuilders of Japan

Submitter: My previous library, which was a small and very-specialized academic library, finished a large-scale weeding project of its circulating collection (not too long before I left). Among the books was this gem that I adored so much that (after it was weeded) I took it home with me when I left. There was absolutely no clear reason why this book was in the library’s collection, as it’s primarily a book of photos of Japanese bodybuilders making poses. (It’s not like the book was about their workout routines or something, it’s basically pin-ups?)

The real kicker? In flipping through I noticed there were some pages that appeared to be missing. So I suspect someone may have torn out pages for their own…reasons…?

Holly: The Goodreads review of this is quite good, calling the images “photographic studies” and explaining that the book changes the popular view of the Japanese male physique. It’s old and probably won’t be missed in the very specialized academic library in which it was found. It might still have value in academic libraries with Japanese studies collections, and maybe even in public libraries in areas where Japanese history and culture are prevalent.

This book is cataloged with subject terms “physical education and training — Japan” and “samurai.” The WorldCat record lists class descriptors of LC GV433.J32 (recreation and leisure. Ok, that one makes sense) and a Dewey number of 646.75 (sewing, clothing, management of personal and family living). Someone please explain this to me! I could see 613.71 (bodybuilding) or maybe 952 (Japan and samurai) or maybe even the 770s for photography, but sewing??

Young Samurai title page

Young samurai drum

Young Samurai weightlifter

Young Samurai arm wrestling


  1. The introduction is by Yukio Mishima (pictured on the cover), arguably the most brilliant Japanese author of the 20th century. He was also an actor, bodybuilder, and model. Pity it was defaced, such a work would have intrinsic value.

  2. Maybe some of these guys sewed their own thongs? Lol.
    Seriously, though: ‘management of personal and family living’. It’s a stretch, but I’ve seen worse.

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