Picture of author.

Musashi Miyamoto (1584–1645)

Author of The Book of Five Rings

27 Works 5,183 Members 62 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Disambiguation Notice:

There is some dispute over the date of Musahi's death.

Image credit: Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645)
Ukiyo-e by Utagawa Kuniyoshi 1852
(LoC Prints and Photographs Division,

Works by Musashi Miyamoto

The Book of Five Rings (1936) 4,982 copies
The Book of Five Rings: A Graphic Novel (2012) — Contributor — 58 copies
The Samurai Series (2006) 22 copies
Az öt elem könyve (2018) 3 copies
Via del samurai, La (TD) (2011) 2 copies


Asia (26) Buddhism (21) budo (18) bushido (49) business (61) classic (21) classics (33) Eastern (14) eastern philosophy (28) fencing (19) history (122) Japan (305) Japanese (65) Japanese History (19) Japanese literature (34) kendo (28) kenjutsu (14) literature (19) management (20) martial arts (309) military (61) military history (31) military strategy (17) Musashi (30) non-fiction (224) own (17) philosophy (378) psychology (26) read (25) samurai (123) spirituality (25) strategy (198) swords (23) swordsmanship (17) tactics (14) to-read (182) unread (16) war (55) warfare (19) zen (31)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Miyamoto, Musashi
Other names
Shinmen Takezō
Miyamoto Bennosuke
Niten Dōraku
Date of death
Burial location
Yuge, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan
Harima no kuni, Japan
Short biography
Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵), also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke, or by his Buddhist name Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman and samurai famed for his duels and distinctive style. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship and the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin No Sho), a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today.
Disambiguation notice
There is some dispute over the date of Musahi's death.



Një nga tekstet më të sakta të kulturës aziatike, për artin e sofistikuar të betejës dhe triumfit.
BibliotekaFeniks | 55 other reviews | Nov 28, 2023 |
A short, functional book, Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings offers some rather basic philosophical tenets – know yourself, be calm, live in harmony with things, etc. – alongside extensive and specific instructions on various weapons and fighting stances and so on. The latter is, of course, less useful to a modern reader, and the former is elevated in many readers' eyes by its context. I believe ancient instruction manuals like this are elevated by some to the level of philosophy, when in truth they are nowhere near, simply because people like the aesthetic of learning from a samurai and following a 'warrior's path' or somesuch.

My Shambhala edition, translated by Thomas Cleary, also included a second short manual, The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War by Yagyū Munenori, which is more of the same. It was a little bit more lively in its writing style, but in truth both books are a bit turgid. Ultimately, these books are shallow pools whereas real works of philosophy can be like great brawling oceans when you read them. The Book of Five Rings does have one profound line about expanding your knowledge beyond your own discipline, because "if you have wide knowledge of the ways, you encounter them in everything" (pg. 18). I only wish the books themselves had done more to show us.
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MikeFutcher | 55 other reviews | Nov 21, 2023 |
Another book that's sat on my Kindle for years unread. But having just finished David Kirks' books it really felt like the right time to read this.

It's hard to judge this book in any real contemporary terms because it simply has no place in the contemporary world. It's an anachronism from a time and place that is no more and will never be again.

It is aimed solely at the samurai warrior, but maybe there are those who are ultra competitive who do contact sports, and also military personnel, that could still gain a lot from reading it - which doesn't apply to me.

It is, however, an incredible view into the mind of one of the greatest strategists (swordsmen) from Japanese history, and it really gives you the genuine thoughts and attitude of a Samurai in regards to fighting and killing with swords. It's probably the most amoral thing i've ever read, and in that aspect alone it's quite wonderful because it is so genuine.
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5t4n5 | 55 other reviews | Aug 9, 2023 |
Just before Musashi died, he wrote a set of precepts for his favourite student.   In this book the precepts are discussed one by one by five martial artists from different backgrounds and careers.

A really good look at Musashi and his ideas with five different interpretations of both the man, the legend and his precepts.

A must read for those of us who are interested in Japanese culture, especially from the feudal era.

Bye for now.
5t4n5 | 3 other reviews | Aug 9, 2023 |



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