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Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
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Musashi (original 1935; edition 1995)

by Eiji Yoshikawa (Author), Charles S. Terry (Translator), Edwin O. Reischauer (Foreword)

Series: Musashi (omnibus)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1611712,141 (4.38)41
The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman. The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman. Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai-without really knowing what it meant-he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying. On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive and brings life in… (more)
Member:Gautam_Bakshi
Title:Musashi
Authors:Eiji Yoshikawa (Author)
Other authors:Charles S. Terry (Translator), Edwin O. Reischauer (Foreword)
Info:Kodansha USA (1995), 970 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:to-read

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Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa (1935)

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» See also 41 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
As gory as this was, and as much as it doesn't really pass the Bechdel test, I loved this legend tale for how much it reminded me of the books I devoured as a kid: those of the knight errant / wandering warrior / searching scholar / itinerant monk in times past, with lessons about self-enlightenment against various scenic backdrops, peppered with extraordinary characters and meandering sidequests as befitting of an epic.

It's the super unlikely coincidences that only happen in these types of stories, where the characters can travel as far as they like, but somehow everyone they meet is essential to the main story and connected to a known character. It's how each individual events of the overall nomadic journey is like a small puzzle in itself for the protagonist (and sometimes the reader) to solve st the same time. And how overall it's just a rollicking good story with villains and heroes alike all reach some satisfying pinnacle point of learning.

The serialised nature of this tale lends itself easily to manga-isation, and I'd love to read one with all the rough and raw drawing style that the story demands. Another version I'd love to read is with a itinerant scholarly woman but considering these types of stories seem most popular a few centuries ago, I might never be able to find one.

In a fun coincidence, at my weekly visit to a friend's house recently, we were sitting in their study that we've sat in a few times before, and my eyes were browsing their books as we chatted and I suddenly spot "Musashi" on the torn spine of this small paperback. It was The Book of Five Rings. Truly, once you learn/know something, you really do start seeing it everywhere. ( )
  kitzyl | Sep 6, 2020 |
Once I started reading it, I had a hard time putting it down and would stay awake reading long into the night because I wanted to know what happened next.

I first became familiar with Musashi from the movies in the Samurai trilogy, starring Toshiro Mifune. I don't practice martial arts, but I found Musashi such an interesting figure that I wanted to learn more about his life, hence the Yoshikawa novel, and it didn't disappoint me. I learned not only about Musashi's life and accomplishments, but also about the inner workings of the man and what made him tick, and even after reading this book, I still Musashi intriguing.

I'd like to re-read this book at some point, and since I'll probably never get mine back, it looks like I'll be buying another one, but I enjoyed reading it so much that I don't mind buying it twice. Ordinarily, I don't read a book more than once, but I'm sure I'd enjoy this one again and get even more out of it the second around. ( )
  MadMaudie | Sep 5, 2020 |
I loved this book! It's quite hard to put down. The chapters progress like a play, with the players intertwining throughout. The Zen/Tao message is strong and sincere. I think about 30% could have been reduced with the peripheral players, but all together, a wonderful long read. ( )
  bsmashers | Aug 1, 2020 |
Having started on Vagabond, the manga adaptation of this novel, I am somewhat familiar with the situations and characters in this book. This particular book was quite engrossing for me, I really caught myself being lost in its prose many times. It's only too bad that Vagabond is unfinished, and I don't know if there are any chapters past number 327. Given all of that, I decided to read the source material. There were a lot of names thrown around, so it was sometimes difficult to follow. However, I did really enjoy it as it was. Sometimes I thought a map would have been useful, but I suppose I could find those locations through Google or something.

In any case, the basic story is pretty simple, a young man named Takezo was at the battle of Sekigahara and his side lost. He then goes on to become Musashi after having trained in Zen and other such things. Along the way, he develops his own sword style and fights against a great rival. Of course this is pretty simplified, I mean, the novel is over 900 pages long. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
This is a quick read despite its length. The language is easy and there's plenty of action. Unfortunately I thought the characters are mostly two-dimensional and the plot repetitive. If you're interested in samurais and Japanese culture, give it a try. ( )
  Vinjii | Mar 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eiji Yoshikawaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Terry, Charles S.Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karlsson, SuneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reischauer, Edwin O.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Musashi (omnibus)

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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
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""E depois de tudo, céu e terra aí estão, como se nada tivesse acontecido. A esta altura, a vida e as ações de um homem têm o peso de uma folha seca no meio da ventania... Ora, que vá tudo para o inferno!", pensou Takezo."
Takezō lay among the corpses. There were thousands of them.
Quotations
That's what's extraordinary about him. He's not content with relying on whatever natural gifts he may have. Knowing he's ordinary, he's always trying to improve himself. No one appreciates the agonizing effort he's had to make. Now that his years of training have yielded such spectacular results, everybody's talking about his 'god-given talent.' That's how men who don't try very hard comfort themselves.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
L'intégralité de la série est parue sous la forme de sept livres nommés : Terre, Eau, Feu, Vent, Ciel, Soleil et Lune, La parfaite Lumière.
La Pierre et le Sabre est le nom du premier tome de l'édition francophone regroupant les quatre premiers livres.
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The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman. The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman. Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai-without really knowing what it meant-he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying. On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive and brings life in

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