Musashi

By Eiji Yoshikawa, Charles Terry (translator),

Book cover of Musashi: An Epic Novel Of The Samurai Era

Book description

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…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Musashi as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book really felt like a religious and spiritual experience for me. It's almost like a manual on how to live one's life. We are following the main character, Miyamoto Mushasi, who is based on the real-life figure of the same name, as he journeys across Japan to become the best samurai to have lived.

We start with Musashi when he is young and naive, and we see him evolve into a mature man who becomes less self-absorbed and arrogant with time. We get Musashi's reflection on many topics: from being the best at what one does, to having balance…

I’d never heard of Musashi before. It was a complete revelation to me. It’s an adventure story set in early 17th-century Japan, a time of feudalism, samurai, and ronin.

What really struck me was how familiar the people all felt. They were all so human, so real, not foreign or alien at all. I learned how they lived, what they thought, how they felt, what they believed, and I emerged from Mushashi looking at my own world subtly differently than I had before. I had learned a bit about the Way of the Sword and the better parts of that…

This is my favorite book, ever. In part because it’s the story of the greatest of all Samurai. But there’s more to that.

In the long run, martial arts are an exercise of self-development. Of tapping into your inner beast, setting it free, then controlling it back. No book ever written tells that journey as beautifully as Musashi, by Eiji Yoshikawa.

Often called “Japan’s Gone with the Wind,” the book marches from cliffhanger to cliffhanger through the glorious life of the protagonist, although for me its mark was deeper than any of these electrical moments of adventure. For my eyes,…

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