Book; Musashi by Yoshikawa Eiji


Book Review :Musashi by Yoshikawa Eiji

One of my all time favorite books,
Musashi by Yoshikawa Eiji was originally written
as a serial for the Asahi Shinbun Newspaper in
1935 by historical novelist Yoshikawa Eiji


Brilliantly translated by Charles S. Terry,
the English version of the novel published
by Kodansha International in 1981, covers
the period of the swordsman’s life between
the final hours of the Battle of Sekigahara
in 1600 up to the epic duel between Musashi
and Sasaki Kojiro which took place on the
small island known as Ganryujima in April


Although largely fictionalized, the story
follows many of the true exploits of the man
who would arguably become renowned as the Greatest of all Japanese Swordsman.
The names of many other historical
characters and incidents are cleverly woven
into the narrative, giving it a certain depth
that other historical novelists can only aspire to.


Each of the chapters are further broken into “books” with the elements as themes, rather like the Go Rin No Sho, the book on warfare that Musashi would write prior to his death in mid 1645. I was given this book by one of my teachers not long after arriving in Japan, and having once started reading early one day, found it impossible to stop, hence reading the 984 page hefty hardback version in a single day and night. (Incidentally, this book was one of the major reasons for me returning to Japan and spending nearly half my life here!) Musashi is an exciting, gripping read. Read it! Kodansha International under ISBN 4-7700-1957-2.


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