宮本武蔵

Front Cover
Kodansha International, 1995 - Fiction - 970 pages
The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman.
Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai-without really knowing what it meant-he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying. On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive and brings life in his own village to a standstill-until he is captured by a weaponless Zen monk.
The lovely Otsu, seeing in Musashi her ideal of manliness, frees him from his tortuous punishment, but he is recaptured and imprisoned. During three years of solitary confinement, he delves into the classics of Japan and China. When he is set free again, he rejects the position of samurai and for the next several years pursues his goal relentlessly, looking neither to left nor to right.
Ever so slowly it dawns on him that following the Way of the Sword is not simply a matter of finding a target for his brute strength. Continually striving to perfect his technique, which leads him to a unique style of fighting with two swords simultaneously, he travels far and wide, challenging fighters of many disciplines, taking nature to be his ultimate and severest teacher and undergoing the rigorous training of those who follow the Way. He is supremely successful in his encounters, but in the Art of War he perceives the way of peaceful and prosperous governance and disciplines himself to be a real human being.
He becomes a reluctant hero to a host of people whose lives he has touched and been touched by. And, inevitably, he has to pit his skill against the naked blade of his greatest rival.
Musashi is a novel in the best tradition of Japanese story telling. It is a living story, subtle and imaginative, teeming with memorable characters, many of them historical. Interweaving themes of unrequited love, misguided revenge, filial piety and absolute dedication to the Way of the Samurai, it depicts vividly a world Westerners know only vaguely. Full of gusto and humor, it has an epic quality and universal appeal.
The novel was made into a three-part movie by Director Hiroshi Inagai. For more information, visit the Shopping area.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Vinjii - LibraryThing

This is a quick read despite its length. The language is easy and there's plenty of action. Unfortunately I thought the characters are mostly two-dimensional and the plot repetitive. If you're interested in samurais and Japanese culture, give it a try. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

An epic story of one man's transformation from unruly scumbag to a samurai that has total mastery of his sword, this book also provides insight into Japan and its culture. Yoshikawa also gives us good ... Read full review

All 7 reviews »

Contents

The Little Bell
3
The Comb
9
The Flower Festival
26
The Dowagers Wrath
35
The Art of War
47
The Old Cryptomeria Tree
67
The Rock and the Tree
78
The Birth of Musashi
92
The Gate
484
A Toast to the Morrow
493
The Death Trap
499
Stray Geese
517
An Offering for the Dead
531
A Drink of Milk
538
Entwining Branches
549
The Male and Female Waterfalls
557

FIRE
107
Sasaki Kojiro
227
Reunion in Osaka
240
The Handsome Young
259
The Seashell of Forgetfulness
269
A Heros Passing
277
The Drying Pole
284
Eagle Mountain
291
The Mayfly in Winter
303
The Pinwheel
312
The Flying Horse
322
The Butterfly in Winter
336
WIND
347
The Withered Field
377
A Man of Parts
386
Too Many Kojiros
395
The Younger Brother
409
A Mothers Love
418
The Urbane Craftsman
436
Reverberations in the Snow
448
The Elegant People
458
The Broken Lute
466
A Sickness of the Heart
473
o
565
A Chat with the Men
735
The Eagle
745
Green Persimmons
751
Four Sages with a Single Light
762
The Locust Tree
769
The Poignancy of Things
785
The Demons Attendant
793
Brother Disciples
802
The Pomegranate
815
The Challenge
827
The Gateway to Glory
834
The Sound of Heaven
840
The Runaway Ox
847
Hemp Seed
855
Sweepers and Salesmen
866
A Pear Blossom
874
The Writing Teacher
891
Shikama Blue
907
The Tides of Life
923
Before the Thirteenth Day
939
The Marriage
954
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

EIJI YOSHIKAWA was born in 1892 in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo. He began his literary career at the age of twenty-two. During his thirties he worked as a journalist while continuing to write stories and novels, reaching a large and appreciative readership through having his work published, often serially, in newspapers and popular magazines. At the time of his death in 1962, he was one of Japan's best-known and best-loved novelists. He received the Cultural Medal, the highest award for a man of letters, and other cultural decorations, including the Order of the Sacred Treasure.


CHARLES S. TERRY, the translator, was born in Mississippi in 1926 and graduated from Duke University. He first studied Japanese in the U.S. Navy during WW II and after the war received a master's degree from Columbia University in Japanese history. Resident in Japan since 1952, he also received a master's degree in Chinese history from the University of Tokyo and has since been active as a translator of works on Japanese art, architecture and history. He died in 1982.

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