This blog is a translation of quotes by YOSHIDA Shouin everyday. YOSHIDA Shouin was an amazing man who, despite his youth, inspired the great jooi shishi who created modern Japan. However, practically none of his writings have been translated into English, and he remains largely unknown to the West. Through this site, I hope I can grant Western readers more access to his profound writings, all the while improving my ability to read literary Japanese. The quotes are all taken from 吉田松陰一日一言 (YOSHIDA Shoin: Quote a Day) by 川口雅昭 (KAWAGUCHI Masaaki). Mr. KAWAGUCHI’s modern Japanese translations in the same book give me aid.

Your humble translator at work

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  1. Liliya

     /  2012 January 4

    Thank you very much for this precious initiative 🙂

  2. Michael

     /  2014 February 23

    Thanks for this resource. Much to consider here and to return to consider more.

  3. Thank you. This is very useful. I would like to know your interpretation of the word 身の本尊 that Yoshida Shoin used in 「道は身の本尊にて」. In particular, I want to know how closely this is related to Buddhism and whether 身 indicates a physical element or an innate element.

    • Motowori

       /  2016 October 3

      My translation: The Way is within our bodies’ spirit. The purpose of our body is in the Way.

      “Mi” means the physical body, but not excluding the psychological/spiritual. Honzon usually means the main buddha of devotion in a temple, but that is clearly not the meaning in this case. Rather I think “honzon” refers to the source (本) of what is precious (尊き) in us, in other words our inner true spirit (or you could say our inner buddha or inner kami).

  4. Sunand

     /  2018 April 16

    Your website is a goldmine. Thank you so much for the work that you have done. Please continue translating more of Yoshida Shoin’s if you find the time. 🙂

    • Motowori

       /  2018 April 16

      Thank you! I’ve been quite busy in recent years, but I am always thinking it would be nice to take up translating Shoin again.


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