Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era

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Overview


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 ...

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Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era

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Overview


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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"... A stirring saga ... not only for readers interested in Japan but also for those who simply want a rousing read." -Washington Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9784770019578
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 984
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2008

    Life Changing

    I read this book when I was 15. It has shaped much of how I viewed becoming a man. I still relate to it now that I am 36. It is a brilliant, intelligent and thought provoking read. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to stretch their mind.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2007

    Terrific in every aspect of writing

    A book of civil strife and a man who overcomes the challenges that all great samurai try. Musashi is one of the greatest literal and historical characters anyone can relate to. The way the story fits into Japanese lore is perfect (as opposed to 'Shogun' where it bends the lore to fit the story), and you truly learn to love (or loathe) the different characters! I recommend this novel to anybody who seeks to perfect their own mind and body.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Go without regrets.  Musashi is the most famous of samurai, havi

    Go without regrets. 
    Musashi is the most famous of samurai, having won renown by traveling the country perfecting his skills as a swordsman (with a wooden sword!), developing the two-handed style, and remaining undefeated his entire life.
    This book tells his story, and a wonderful story it is. The most memorable thing to me is the vivid and living portrayal of each and every character. By the end you will come to love, respect, despise, pity or admire almost everyone. This is a story that sticks with you. I would compare it to my favorite western novel, Lonesome Dove, which won the Pulitzer. It’s a world that fully envelops you and affects you long after you’ve read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2008

    Still thinking about it!!

    I'm 39 now,but I read this book once when I was 24, and then I lent it to a friend never to see it again. I don't remember the specifics, but I remember it being the best book I've ever read, and I still think about it and I want to buy it and read it again! So don't tarry, go get it!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2007

    SUPERB, A TRUE EPIC!

    A superb book! A thousand pages of page-turning adventure, I could not put it down. A story of honor and of love, with very deep and passionate characters, and set with vivid and detailed description, in Japan's most scenic and beautiful places, it felt almost like being there. And the story will sweep you away, with emotions and philosophies rarely found in books nowadays. UNFORGETTABLE. A REAL JOURNEY! A book worth keeping!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2006

    Bushido

    Adventure... the best time I had since I read Shogun! gripping, original, extraordinary well described samurai tale... Ingenius work!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2005

    Excellent

    Wonderful read. I am in awe. The skill of the writer to easily transport you into the days of the Tokugawa left me breathless. The fighting scenes were so poetic. The dangers that Musashi escaped by paying attention to the subtle changes around his environment and to describe it in writing was simply genius. The characters were memorable. the build up, the anitcipation, the suspense leading to the final battle. Inimitable. The Denoument: brilliant. their is not enough words in the dictionary to praise this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2004

    Phenominal book.

    If you are one to respect samurai culture and in the slightest way admire, you will enjoy this title immensely. I can not sing its praises highly enough. You must read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2003

    this is the best book ever!!!!

    this is a very good book and i think that everyone should have a chance to read it. this book will make u beg for more until the een. you wont want to miss out on this book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2003

    Best Samurai novel ever.

    Not only is this a great novel with excellent wording.... Its a historical fiction meaning some of the events and people actually existed. You feel attached to musashi through his trials and tribulations.although the ending left something to be desired , i would recomend this book to anyone who likes samurai or musashi myamoto.... BUY THIS BOOK!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2002

    Awsome book for young adults who have good reading skills

    I read this book as a fifth/sixth grader but I thought the interest level would be very fitting for a teenager (probably male) or even someone in there thirties! Nothing even comes close to Musashi so I won't recommend anything else!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2002

    Wait

    I havn't read it yet and its already that good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2001

    Magnificent piece

    This is the third time I have purchased and read this book, I keep lending it, never to see it again. Not this time, I agree with another reader, this is by far my favorite book. An inspiring story mixed with a rich description of feudal japan. Breathtaking and an unstoppable read...Gary - Oregon

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2001

    The late Eiji Yoshikawa did it everytime

    To own his books 'Taiko' and 'Musashi' has been the greatest pleasure to me. Musashi is very inspiring and motivational, and can provide those who has profound interest with the Japanese past a satisfiying read. What are you waiting for? Go and get it!^^

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2001

    Musashi is Magnifico!

    Musashi is by far the BEST Japenese novel on the samurai era I have ever read! I have a new favorite!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2001

    My Fav!

    This is my favorite book. Its along read at almost 1,000 pages, but moves fast. I first read this when I was 15, and still love it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2000

    Sublime

    Very few novels ever grip one's heart and soul. It's not cliche, it simply is true: this novel conveys Musashi's spirit and the spirit of all the characters in a masterful way. Only the best literature does this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2000

    This book is awesome.

    One of the best books I have ever read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews

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