Musashi Book Review

The last blog write-up that I composed for sibbap.org was a book review of The Book ofFive Rings, the penultimate work-related of understand swordsguy Miyamoto Musashi. Ihad actually read The Publication of Five Rings morethan as soon as, and also continue to re-review it each year as part of my"rotation" (like many type of voracious readers, I have actually favourites that Ican"t assist yet revisit on a consistent basis). In reading it, I felt that I hadobtained understanding into Musashi"s life, swordsmanship, and also approach. At the timeof writing the previous blog post I didn"t really have actually any kind of intentions ofrevisiting the historical figure in composing anytime shortly.

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This was prior to I picked up a copy of YoshikawaEiji"s timeless novel Musashi, whichcame down on my desk fairly by surpclimb previously this spring. I had actually heard of thenovel, yet was unconscious of its complete scope and also place in modern Japanese society.After some encouragement I picked it up and also started reading, and was completelyengaged in just a couple of minutes. My lunch breaks for the next few weeks werefilled as I engrossed myself in the book. Partway through analysis I realizedthat I was not finished creating about Musashi after all, and also I began makingnotes for this blog write-up.

Some background: Yoshikawa Eiji livedfrom 1892 - 1962, and was a popular historic novelist, winning many awardsthroughout his prolific composing career. His novel based on the life of MiyamotoMusashi is just one of his best-known works, especially exterior Japan. The novelwas serialized in Japan"s biggest newspaper between the years of 1935 and also 1945,and became among the definitive interpretations of the well-known historicalfigure. The novel itself has been the basis for a huge variety of film and tvadaptations and many phase productions.

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Toshiro Mifune as Miyamoto Musashi in The SamuraiTrilogy

A side note prior to continuing - if youselect to pick up this novel, attempt to uncover the version that has actually the forwardcreated by Edwin Reischauer. Reischauer was a Harvard professor and Americanambassador to Japan from 1961-1966, and also his insights right into the cultural andhistoric context are not just useful yet necessary to completely appreciate thebreadth and depth of the novel. He (fairly rightly in my view) identifies it asa "Japanese "Gone via the Wind,"" and also contrasts it sharply with James Clavall"s Shogun. Both novelshappen in the time of the exact same time period, which was a time of political upheaval andreadjust for Japan. However, in Reischauer"s opinion Shogun mirrors the use of more creative license, while Musashi is more historically specific -while still being written as a thrilling adundertaking story.

The story starts through Musashi (referred to as Takezōat that suggest in his life) on a battlearea, yet it is a battlefield on whichhe was not a victor. He awakens, wounded and also puzzled, after being on theshedding side of a relatively decisive battle in between two ruling lords or Daimyo ofJapan. Incidentally, this is the fight that is around to take area at the endof Clavall"s Shogun.

Unfavor the writer of The Book of Five Rings the young Takezō wemeet at initially is bit even more than a thug. Brash and headstrong, he stumbleswith the first a number of encounters of the book through even more luck than ability, andmore selfishness than manners. Returning to his village after reextending fromhis wounds he winds up on the run from the winning side of the war, and also beforelong is hopelessly embroiled in a fight for his life that he can"t hope towin.

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Another picture of Toshiro Mifune as Miyamoto Musashi

Go into the side characters, that as thebook progresses thrive right into completely three-dimensional personas with their owncomplicated lives and also stories. The priest Takuan, Musashi"s frifinish Matahachi,Matahachi"s fiancee Otsu, even Musashi’s rival Sasaki Kojirō all play variousfunctions in the story as their own journeys weave them in and also out of Takezō’s. Takezōis inevitably recorded and also, as punishment, is imprisoned in a single room in acastle through nopoint yet books for company. For three long years he studiestexts about battle, philosophy, and swordsmanship (including Sun Tzu"s The Art of War, which is liberallyquoted throughout the novel). Upon his release Takezō is a adjusted man, andtakes the name "Miyamoto Musashi" as he embarks on his journey toperfect the Way of the Sword.

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Miyamoto Musashi’s self portrait

The story goes on, and details twelveyears of Musashi"s life and travels. The story may be acquainted to you currently,but the tale of this wandering swordsguy is expertly expanded upon byYoshikawa. He offers some truly tremendous descriptive prose in his writing - onebeforehand instance that stuck for me was as he described a village, saying," harbored a bevy of woguys of the night, who, throats powderedwhite as was the fashion, hovered prior to their business establishments likewhite bats under the eaves." The translation job-related was expertly done, withnamong the "clunkiness" that sometimes occurs once analysis oldertexts originally created in vastly different languages. I discovered the book to beboth available and enjoyable.

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Miyamoto Musashi duels Sasaki Kojirō

I will certainly not write a full synopsis of thenovel right here, partially as a result of area (it is a historical epic, after all) and partlybereason l do not prefer to spoil endings - also famed ones. But I will saythis - if you favor tales of swashbuckling adundertaking, if you choose dramaticrescues and daring escapes, if you like romance and intrigue and also moments ofcomedy throughout - you will virtually definitely favor this book. Fans of the filmsof Akira Kurosawa, or even anime and also manga, will certainly recognize many familiar"tropes" in this novel.

Iurge anyone that has an interest or, choose myself, a love for the Japanesesociety to pick this novel up and suffer it for yourself - because just asMusashi himself uncovered, some expertise have the right to just be obtained by endure.

About the author:

Daniel Dacombe is a freelance writer, reviewer, and collector of swords and sci-fi/fantasy memorabilia. He has actually been a sword collector given that 2006, a student of martial arts and background considering that 1998, and also a geek because birth. His repertoire contains swords, many books, lightsabers, and also even a sonic screwdriver. While much from an expert, Daniel functions to make his reviews, interviews, and also posts indevelopmental and obtainable to a vast selection of fan teams and collectors.