Customer Review

255 of 261 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best translation available, August 25, 2005
This review is from: The Book of Five Rings (The Way of the Warrior Series) (Hardcover)
I have studied this book for years, and have read five different translations. The William Scott Wilson translation is by far the best. I always get the feeling that other translators are putting too much of themselves or their ideas about what Musashi is saying into the translations. Wilson's translation is clear and concise and yet does not feel filtered.

Here is a passage from the Thomas Cleary translation "Upset happens in all sorts of things. One way it happens is through a feeling of being under acute pressure. Another is through a feeling of unreasonable strain. A third is through a feeling of surprise at the unexpected."

Here is the same passage translated by Wilson "There are many kinds of agitation. One is a feeling of danger, a second is a feeling that something is beyond your capability and a third is a feeling of the unexpected. This should be investigated thoroughly."

They say the same thing, but Wilson is clearer.

As for the book itself, it is a classic masterpiece that describes not only a style of swordsmanship, but a way of living.
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Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 14, 2009 8:09:05 PM PDT
Thanks so much for addressing the issue of translation -- that's exactly the information I was looking for.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2011 11:33:38 AM PST
D. Magdic says:
Surprisingly I found the first translation more effective. This is the first time I have heard about the book or the authors. The first seems less pre-digested, so when it hits, it hits harder.

Posted on Oct 4, 2013 9:56:44 PM PDT
Fred Stanley says:
I think that your review is easy to read, just what I needed to know, and incredibly informative.

Posted on Oct 11, 2014 5:48:56 PM PDT
Rah says:
Hello, thank you very much for your input concerning this particular translation. Quite honestly I was completely lost while trying to determine which one of the various translations available would be suitable for me. Your example helped make up my mind. Thanks again....
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