The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Book of Five Rings

The Book of Five Rings

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by Miyamoto Musashi
     
 

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Setting down his thoughts on swordplay, on winning, and on spirituality, legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi intended this modest work as a guide for his immediate disciples and future generations of samurai. He had little idea he was penning a masterpiece that would be eagerly devoured by people in all walks of life centuries after his death.

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Overview

Setting down his thoughts on swordplay, on winning, and on spirituality, legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi intended this modest work as a guide for his immediate disciples and future generations of samurai. He had little idea he was penning a masterpiece that would be eagerly devoured by people in all walks of life centuries after his death.

Along with The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Book of Five Rings has long been regarded as an invaluable treatise on the strategy of winning. Musashi's timeless advice on defeating an adversary, throwing an opponent off-guard, creating confusion, and other techniques for overpowering an assailant was addressed to the readers of earlier times on the battlefield, and now serves the modern reader in the battle of life.

In this new rendering by the translator of Hagakure and The Unfettered Mind, William Scott Wilson adheres rigorously to the seventeenth-century Japanese text and clarifies points of ambiguity in earlier translations. In addition, he offers an extensive introduction and a translation of Musashi's rarely published The Way of Walking Alone. This gift-book edition also features original art by Musashi himself as well as new calligraphy by Japanese artist Shiro Tsujimura.


About the Author

Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) was a renowned swordsman and painter. A masterless samurai, he developed the two-sword style of fighting and emerged victorious in more than 60 sword fights in his travels throughout Japan. The author of The Book of Five Rings, he is also the subject of the novel Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa.

William Scott Wilson, the translator, was born in 1944 in Nashville, Tennessee, and grew up in Florida. He received B.A. degrees from Dartmouth College and the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies, and an M.A. in Japanese literary studies from the University of Washington. His long-selling translations of Hagakure, The Unfettered Mind, The Roots of Wisdom:
Saikontan, and Taiko have become standards. Hagakure was featured prominently in the film Ghost Dog.

Editorial Reviews

Time
On Wall Street, when Musashi talks, people listen.
Library Journal
Written by legendary Japanese swordsman Musashi, this 17th-century exposition of sword-fighting strategy and Zen philosophy has been embraced by many contemporary readers, especially business school students, as a manual on how to succeed in life. There are many English translations, but every one, including this one, suffers from inadequate cultural, literary, and philosophical commentary. Musashi's work should be studied, not simply read, and Cleary's translation lacks commentary; it also makes the prose seems flat and the philosophy simplistic. Yet what makes this new translation worthwhile is the second text, buried deep in the back like an appendix: Yagyu Munenori's The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War . This text, also an exposition on sword fighting and Zen philosophy, is difficult to find in an English translation, and its availability is welcome. Recommended for academic libraries generally.-- Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
From the Publisher
“Embraced by many contemporary readers as a manual on how to succeed in life.”—Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553351705
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/28/1992
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
316,517
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"On Wall Street, when Musashi talks, people listen." —-Time

Meet the Author

MIYAMOTO MUSASHI (1584-1645) was a renowned swordsman and painter. A masterless samurai, he developed the two-sword style of fighting and emerged victorious in more than 60 sword fights in his travels throughout Japan. The author of The Book of Five Rings, he is also the subject of the novel Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa.

WILLIAM SCOTT WILSON, the translator, was born in 1944 and grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College in 1966, he was invited by a friend to join a three-month kayak trip up the coast of Japan from Shimonoseki to Tokyo. This eye-opening journey, beautifully documented in National Geographic, spurred Wilson's fascination with the culture and history of Japan.

After receiving a B.A. degree in political science from Dartmouth, Wilson earned a second B.A. in Japanese language and literature from the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies in Monterey, California, then undertook extensive research on Edo-period (1603-1868) philosophy at the Aichi Prefectural University, in Nagoya, Japan.

Wilson completed his first translation, Hagakure, while living in an old farmhouse deep in the Japanese countryside. Hagakure saw publication in 1979, the same year Wilson completed an M.A. in Japanese language and literature at the University of Washington. Wilson's other translations include The Book of Five Rings, The Life-Giving Sword, The Unfettered Mind, the Eiji Yoshikawa novel Taiko, and Ideals of the Samurai, which has been used as a college textbook on Japanese history and thought. Two decades after its initial publication, Hagakure was prominently featured in the Jim Jarmusch film Ghost Dog.

Wilson currently lives in Miami, Florida.

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