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Miyamoto Musashi: A Life in Arms: A Biography of Japan's Greatest Swordsman Paperback – December 21, 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Miyamoto Musashi: A Life in Arms is an impressive work of scholarship, offering insanely detailed recounts of Musashi's battles and movements, some so richly rendered that you'd swear De Lange was present at the time, taking notes." -- Glenn Dallas, San Francisco Book Review

"De Lange has painted a remarkably vibrant portrait of Musashi, one that reveals all the contradictions of a remarkable life full of triumphs and disappointments, thrilling victories as well as bitter losses...This book is unquestionably a must-read for any student of budō." -- Jeff Broderick,
Kendō World

"
Miyamoto Musashi: A Life in Armsis highly recommended to anyone who is interested in the biography of this most interesting man who has inspired generations of swordsmen and manga fans alike." -- Kim Taylor, Iaido Journal

De Lange has already published two volumes giving translations of two of the principal source documents on Musashi's life. Drawing on these, as well as numerous other sources, he builds up a new version of the swordsman's story, covering much ground that will be totally new for many. -- Chris Hellman, author of
The Samurai Mind

From the Author

Interview with the author (excerpt):
Q: How did you begin the process of telling his story?WdL: The first thing I did when I began my research was to look what original sources there were on Musashi. Of course there is Musashi's own
Book of Five Rings, but sadly, Musashi spends only half a page in describing the event of his life. I therefore had to look elsewhere, to accounts of Musashi written by his contemporaries or their close descendants, who wrote down what was passed down to them by men who had known Musashi alive.   I soon found that, in spite of widespread belief, there actually is a great wealth of different sources, some more, some less reliable. I also found that though various authors who had delved into Musashi's life had come across these text and and quoted from them, no western author had thus far taken the trouble to translate these texts in full.   It was then that I decided to carefully translate all surviving text on Musashi before I set out to write the actual biography of Musashi's life. I wanted to become intimately familiar with every scrap of ancient writing that mentioned Musashi. In all I found more than thirty classical texts comprising some 150.000 words--original accounts of duels, battles and sieges, local histories, clan records, correspondence, family lineages-- all written during Japan's feudal era. Two of these texts, the Bushu denraiki and the Bukoden, have meanwhile been published.
Q: What about Musashi intrigued you the most during your research?WDL: What was it that drove this bright yet far from privileged young man to become the best in his field? What was it, that drove him to dedicate all his time and talent to master such a difficult and dangerous art, and why was he willing to sacrifice love and a safe home in the uncompromising pursuit for perfection?
Q: Why do you think so many people around the world have found such deep inspiration from Musashi's legend and his real life?WDL: I think that most people, including myself, are struck by his fierce independence of mind. At no stage in his life did Musashi truly submit to any form of authority, choosing instead a solitary life and only serving various warlords in the capacity of adviser. I think it is that spirit of independence that shines through, not only in his unique style of fencing, but also in his writing, calligraphy, and painting. He is a truly unique individual, with an absolute belief in his own abilities and approach to life and its inevitable difficulties.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Floating World Editions (December 21, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1891640623
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1891640629
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 14.1 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.11 x 0.79 x 8.89 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

About the author

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William de Lange is the author of books, ebooks and apps on Japan's traditional culture, from history, samurai culture, to arts & crafts, and language dictionaries.

Bio: William de Lange was born in 1964 in Naarden, the Netherlands to Dutch and English parents. In the late 1980s, he traveled to Japan, where he supported himself by making traditional Japanese scrolls, working as a carpenter, and writing articles for the Japan Times Weekly. Having studied at Leiden and Waseda universities during the nineties, he lived in Japan for the next 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, culture, and art. More recently, he has appeared in the Netflix documentary Age of Samurai. His many books include Samurai Battles, Samurai Sieges, An Encyclopedia of Japanese Castles, and The Siege of Osaka Castle. He is perhaps best known for his epic history of the Yagyu clan, and his acclaimed biography of Miyamoto Musashi.

William de Lange lives and works in the Netherlands and loves to travel, enjoying good food and wine with the love of his life.

Customer reviews

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Top reviews from other countries

Shugotaki
5.0 out of 5 stars I highly recommend Mr De Lange's books as a student of Musashi-sensei's ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 10, 2015
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best collated record of Musashi's life
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 25, 2015
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