Miyamoto Musashi: A Life in Arms

Miyamoto Musashi: A Life in Arms

by William De Lange

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Miyamoto Musashi is the most revered and celebrated swordsman in Japanese history. Yet few of the many works on the enigmatic warrior have hewn to the original sources. Fewer still have explored the emotional turmoil that drove him on to be the very best in his field. This is the first biography to fulfill those aims, and to take advantage of a wealth of neglected or newly uncovered material.

A Life in Arms draws on extensive research to illuminate controversial or even unknown events of the swordsman's life: source of his troubled relationship with his father, his whereabouts during the Battle of Sekigahara, his unheralded heroism in the summer siege of Osaka castle, and his adventures over the years that followed. We learn of the hidden anger that impelled him to kill his first opponent in duel at age twelve, his single-minded destruction of the reigning Yoshioka sword clan, and his meticulously orchestrated showdown with the great Sasaki Kojiro on Ganryu Island. And finally we follow the remarkable gestation of his Book of Five Rings, the summation of his martial philosophy.

Surpassing his teachers and peers Musashi created a school of swordsmanship unprecedented in Japanese martial history. Yet throughout his life a yearning for respect was overshadowed by his disdain of authority; an attraction to the mayhem of battle competed with a joy in the contemplation of beauty; and a ceaseless quest for perfection in his art denied him the emotional ties for which he longed. The complex portrait of Musashi that emerges here is a far cry from the one-dimensional caricature in film and folklore.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940156676071
Publisher: Floating World Editions
Publication date: 11/10/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,003,170
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

William de lange was born in 1964 in Naarden, the Netherlands to Dutch and English parents. In the late 1980s, he aborted his English studies to embark on a journey that eventually led him to Japan, where he supported himself by making traditional Japanese scrolls and writing articles for the Japan Times Weekly. Following his graduation from Leiden University in 1994, he lived in Japan for the remaining decade, studying the art of Japanese fencing under Akita Moriji sensei, eighth dan master of the Shinkage-ryu. Since then he has written a large number of books on Japanese history and culture, including an acclaimed biography on Miyamoto Musashi. He is currently working on a history of the Yagyu clan.

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