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

The Book of Five Rings

4.2 103
by Miyamoto Musashi, Musashi Miyamoto
     
 

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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.

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
John Mort
Here are two Japanese martial arts classics from the seventeenth century, of more than ordinary interest because of their distinguished translation and because of their identification with Zen. Musashi says things like "It is crucial to think of everything as an opportunity to kill," and there's no question his primer on training the would-be warrior's mind and body is, in that respect, as effective as ever. What might interest readers not inclined to bloodlust is Musashi's pared-down philosophy, as exemplified in his nine rules for learning any art. These include "Think of what is right and true," "Understand the harm and benefit in everything," "Become aware of what is not obvious," and the delightful "Do not do anything useless." Following Musashi's last meditation, "The Scroll of Emptiness" (about how, when one masters an art, one separates from it into a state of perfect, contented clarity), is Yagyu's short essay on the art of war. Yagyu, apparently quite a bloody warrior in his youth, in late life worked hard to link martial arts concepts to Zen, and his short essay has a distilled, aphoristic quality. Both writers are marvels of clarity and, oddly, peacefulness.
From the Publisher
"On Wall Street, when Musashi talks, people listen." —Time

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9784770028013
Publisher:
Kodansha USA Publishing
Publication date:
03/28/2002
Series:
Way of the Warrior Series
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.80(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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The Book of Five Rings 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 103 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a great book-although i have only read 40 pages- its just great. i am now a green belt in the korean art of haidong gumdo, which means korean sword art of the eastern sea. i am 13 now and this book can be hard to understand at times, but if you just keep reading that line that you dont understand a few times, you should come to understand it. also, one thing that helps me is to grab a stick or a wooden sword or whatever you can find that somewhat resembles a sword and do what the book says. all in all i just think this book is great and fun to read!
Mr.Krinkle More than 1 year ago
This is a philosophy that caters to a particular type of person. "See what can not be seen", sounds silly however it has its pure logic to the practitioner. Study and train. Defeat a man with a look. The books of Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and lastly and most difficult to understand... Void. These are not easy to understand. How to stand, flare your nose, belly out, bend your knees... Imagine your opponent defeated. One must study at length and beyond and still possibly not grasp what is being said. I cannot vouch for a particular translation. I have read two and thre is something to be learned from both. This is a very serious read. Not lengthy, just complicated. Written by Japan's most revered Samurai. This will help you grow as a practitioner and a person.
gbrutt More than 1 year ago
No matter whether you practice martial arts or have no idea what a dojo is, The Book of Five Rings is a great read. Written by someone who fought and won over sixty contests, it gives wisdom and insight into combat that can be applied to any situation. The book does not detail technique or lay out forms but rather speaks about mastering The Way. I've read it several times and always come away with greater insight and have something to think about. Clear, concise and easy to read, any person can benefit from the concepts contained in this book. "The way of the warrior is to master the virtue of his weapons."
Ringo_Fan999 More than 1 year ago
This book is intended to be read while practicing Martial Arts. In theory, one would read a chapter, wander off and practice it for a few years, return to the next chapter, and then repeat the process. Simply reading the book will not turn you into a Ninja or Zen guru. Practice is required. Re-reading it after physical practice can often be enlightening. Like many Samurai type books, the author focuses on the "Martial" part of Martial Arts. That is, the practice is intended to kill, not just disable, the opponent. Modern practice sees it differently.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Miyamoto Musashi is one of if not the most profound and prolific authors of his and our time. He writes from the perspective of a self experienced man. If you get past the surface of this manual of life you will see that the art that is being disected is for the development of a well rounded person. Only if you can get by the military surface you will see this. He (Mr. Musashi)challenges us to study what he has written and also to apply the principles so that we can see the spirit in which he writes. If you are interested in maintaining a demeanor that is unlike any other in your immediate circle of friends and constituents please purchase this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are going to sell the book then sell it not just a sample for a dollar!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is still waitting has been up since last night
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Cailalilly More than 1 year ago
Miyamoto Musashi was a brilliant swordsman. His teachings are exceptionally simple but filled with wisdom. My favourite quote of his, “This is a truth: when you sacrifice your life, you must make fullest use of your weaponry. It is false not to do so, and to die with a weapon yet undrawn.” 
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jsoda079 More than 1 year ago
Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings is a must read! Not only does this book, which is charming in its own right in that it is conveyed through a series of comics, talk about strategy as a superficial goal, but it also has underlying tones of how to balance yourself to get through daily battles and be happy in life. What a great book!
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Sianne_Rice More than 1 year ago
Musashi was probably one of the most profound writers in Japanese history. This book is amazing, it applies to not only swordplay but to business and live in general. I'd recommend it to EVERYONE.
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