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Musashi Hardcover – July 14, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"... has sold over 120 million copies in Japan, and one can see why." -- Publishers Weekly

"A captivating work." -- Atlanta Journal / Constitution

"A stirring saga." -- Washington Post Book World

"Dramatic and exciting." -- Philadelphia Bulletin

"The Gone with the Wind of Japan." -- Edwin 0. Reischauer

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 970 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (July 14, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770019572
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770019578
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.5 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #755,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By "globalbiz" on February 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book back in 1982 while a student attending the American School in Japan in Tokyo. The thousand or so pages of text did seem daunting at first but I could not put the book down ater the first few pages. Not only did it provide me with a greater understanding of my own Japanese heritage (I am half Japanese) but it did offer a greater and fundamental insight into what all of us are searching for -- the understanding of the self, way to approach things seen and unseen around us and a calm awareness of life. I have worked and lived throughout the world (Latin America, West/East Europe, and Russia in addition to the US)since my first reading and find that I am able to identify with the local cultures and find that many of the "lessons" garnered from this epic are also interwoven into the ideals of each of culture. It is also interesting to note that "the way" is now commonly referenced in leading business publications and books (read some of the great recent stuff from Tom Peters and you will see what I mean). The search for such understanding goes back to the Iliad but it is possible to trace the development, maturation and blossom of one single person (in this case Musashi) and experience the continous challenges he must face in order to defeat his demons. The combat scene at the Spreading Pine rivals any such related written description of someone working in a difficult situation but under total self control. Whenever I find myself in a difficult situation, I take time and re-read that chapter. Read the "Book of Five Rings" from the pen of Musahi himself next. At the very least, anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding into Japanese culture should read this book.
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156 of 173 people found the following review helpful By Stuart W. Mirsky on May 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Written in the early twentieth century, this indigenous Japanese novel recounts the life and times of old Japan's greatest swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi -- a man who began life as an over-eager and rather brutish young lout but who, through the discipline of Japan's "way of the sword," turned himself into a master of his chosen weapon. But this tale is not only about a life spent in training to perfect the art of killing with a sharpened piece of steel. In the venerable Japanese tradition, it is also about a man's search to conquer himself, to become a better person. The Buddhist view cultivated by the Japanese warrior class allowed for a spiritual dimension to their very bloody enterprise of warfare and killing. And it is this aspect of his training that consumes Musashi, to the detriment of the people he encounters and who seek to attach themselves to him. Unable to settle down in the ordinary way, or to simply join a particular clan as a retainer to some noble lord, Musashi embarks on the life of a ronin (masterless samurai) as he wends his way through the feudal world of medieval Japan in his seemingly endless search for perfection. In the process he finds a young woman who loves him and many enemies who seek his destruction, at least in part in repayment for the damage he does them while on his quest. He also crosses swords with many other experts in Japan's martial arts, but it is his early encounter with a Buddhist priest that puts him on the path which will forever after guide his life. Musashi ultimately finds his grail in a duel to the death with a man called Kojiro, who will become his greatest opponent, a sword master famous for his "swallow cut" -- a stroke so fast and deadly that it can slice a swooping, looping bird out of the air in mid-flight.Read more ›
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83 of 97 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Written in the early twentieth century, this indigenous Japanese novel recounts the life & times of old Japan's greatest swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi -- a man who began life as an over-eager and rather brutish young lout but who, through the discipline of Japan's "way of the sword," turned himself into a master of his chosen weapon. But this tale is not only one of a life spent in training to perfect the art of killing with a sharpened piece of steel. In the venerable Japanese tradition, it is also about a man's search to conquer himself, to become a better man. The Buddhist view cultivated by the Japanese warrior class allowed for a spiritual dimension to their very bloody enterprise of warfare and killing. And it is this aspect of his training that consumes Musashi, to the detriment of the people he encounters and who seek to attach themselves to him. Unable to settle down in the ordinary way, or to simply join a particular clan as a retainer to some noble lord, Musashi embarks on the life of a ronin (masterless samurai) as he wends his way through the feudal world of medieval Japan in his seemingly endless search for perfection. In the process he finds a young woman who loves him and many enemies who seek his destruction, at least in part in repayment for the damage he does them while on his quest. He also crosses swords with many other experts in Japan's martial arts, but it is his encounter with a Buddhist priest, early on,that ultimately puts him on the right path. In the end Musashi finds his grail in a duel to the death with his greatest opponent, the sword master, Kojiro, famous for his "swallow cut" -- a stroke so fast and deadly that it can slice a swooping, looping bird out of the air in mid-flight.Read more ›
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