Review: Musashi

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Musashi is one of the most notable men from Japanese History, and this book brings the story of this man to life. Musashi is a Ronin, a masterless samurai, who seeks to improve himself as a warrior. Musashi starts off as a rough young man, and through following the way of the sword he turns himself into a master of his form of combat. This story is about a man who goes on a journey to conquer himself to become a better man. Through his journey he crosses paths with other Masters and through each contact he overcomes the obstacles and learns from each event. The story builds up around Musashi and the people that get pulled into this man’s path, people can not help but get attached to this man because of his aura, and he prepares himself for the final battle and what differentiates himself from others is fighting outside the normal boundries of human thought, and putting himself on the line to prove his path. I have never been so engrossed in a book such as this, I have read this book three times since I picked it up over 7 years ago and everytime I read it I get the feeling of satisfaction from reading this book unlike I have gotten from any other.

Link: Amazon

Rating:
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A guy who is just trying to enjoy life!

5 Comments

  1. Is this his real life story? I remember him from Shura no Toki, I was finished watching it a few days ago.

  2. N: yes, its his real life story! Shura no Toki isn’t a real story but a blend of some really good stories! I recommend you read it!

    Exzombie: I know, its all about Miyamoto Musashi when he started from a young buck all the way to the old man who wrote the Book of Five Rings. I have the Book of Five Rings and I have read it, a good read, makes you think!

  3. Musashi

    I am almost finshed reading this book and I don’t want it to end. This is one fantastic book. Definately in my top 5. I would read it again. Anyoone recommend anything as good?

  4. Dr. Paul

    The story isn’t all historically true- it’s the Japanese “Robin Hood”- a popular story based on hundreds of folk-tales that are in turn based on real historical characters and events. (It is not even historically verified that Takuan Soho and Miyamoto Mushashi ever met- however most commentators assume they did, at least through their seperate links to the Yagua family). Yoshikawa took the consistent elements of these stories and wove them into the novel. It was originally published serially in a newspaper, which explains the way the plot is structured. If you get into it it is impossible to put the book down, and as you read you dread the moment it will end- these are hallmarks of a well sustained serial. Yoshikawa’s “Mushashi” is a particuarly good remedy for such western nonsense as James Clavell’s “Shogun.” The love story with Otsu is one of the most authentic Japanese romances to have ever been translated into English.

    All of Mushashi’s duels included in Yoshikawa’s retelling are reported in various period sources or are documented in records from the “Two Heavens” sword school Mushashi founded or the schools of those people he fought. The climactic duel with Sejiro is particularly well documented.

    “The Book Of Five Rings” or “The Book Of Five Spheres” is the seminal ken-jutsu text. In it Mushashi interprets a life time of rough and tumble fighting with boken and katana through the lens of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” The result is a manule that describes a one-on-one fight in exactly the same terms as a 10,000 a-side battle. Mushashi says that “by one thing you can know the ten thousand things”, and it is true that the better you understand his pragmatic advice in terms of a one-on-one duel with swords, the more you see ways in which these lessons apply to broader aspects of life.

    I have re-read “Five Rings” several times, (with several years between each re-visit), and found new treasures and deeper layers of meaning each time. If you only read English I recommend William Scott Wilson or Bradford J. Brown’s translations of “Five Rings”.

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