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TAIKO / Yoshikawa Eiji
An epic novel of war and glory in feudal Japan, Taiko is a must read for anyone interested in the
Sengoku, or Warring States period.
This stirring saga follows the life of the man who would eventually rise from the position of
a lowly sandal bearer to the absolute ruler of Japan, the second of the three unifiers, Toyotomi
Hideyoshi. It also captures the relationships between the three men who would work to unify
Japan, the ambitious, charismatic yet brutal Oda Nobunaga, and the cold, deliberate and wise
Born the son of a lowly ranked peasant foot-soldier, the puny, monkey faced Hideyoshi had none
of the privileges into which Nobunaga or Ieyasu were born. Nor did he possess the physical strength
of these two men. What he did possess was a strong intellect. Author Yoshikawa Eiji, in using the
known facts of Hideyoshi’s life, has brought the whole story to life through this fascinating read.
This is THE story of the Sengoku period, covering Nobunaga’s rise to prominence destroying an
army ten times his own before forming an alliance with the loyal, astute Ieyasu. It takes you
through the barricades of Nagashino, to the assassination of Nobunaga and the ascent of Hideyoshi
from battle to battle and to the ultimate position of Taiko. The book is filled with tales of savagery,
treachery, pageantry and violence, balanced with Hideyoshi’s humor and insight into human nature,
and the way he exploits that understanding to change men’s minds and open the hearts of women.
Taiko was first published in Japanese in 1967, five years after the death of the brilliant Yoshikawa
Eiji, author of the international best seller Musashi. The book was translated by William Scott Wilson
and published in English in 1992 by Kodansha.
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