HISTORY

Site of Miyamoto Musashi’s greatest Duel, Ganryujima / 厳流島

2013.05.03 [HISTORY,PLACES,WHAT'S NEW]

Site of Miyamoto Musashi’s greatest Duel, Ganryujima / 厳流島

Anybody who has studied the martial arts, or who has any interest in Japan will know the name
of Miyamoto Musashi, the greatest swordsman in samurai history.

 

In the calm waters of the Kanmon Straights, just off the coast of Shimonoseki, is a small boat
shaped island, formerly known as Funashima, or Boat Island. For over 400 years its name has
gone down in history as Ganryujima. A little over 300 meters long, and just over 100 meters wide,
the small island with virtually no attractions as such, is world famous as the site of the most 
celebrated duel of the samurai period, the fight between Sasaki Kojiro and Miyamoto Musashi.

 

 

剣豪・宮本武蔵。
武道の経験者や日本に興味を持っている外国人の間でも人気が高く、有名な人物の一人です。
そんな武蔵が佐々木小次郎と有名な決闘をはたした場所が、巌流島。(正式名称は、船島)
下関から程近い場所にある、関門海峡に浮かぶ小さな無人島です。

  

  

The great duel took place on the morning of April 13, 1612. The two arch-rival swordsmen,
Musashi and Kojiro had agreed to meet on the island at 8am, however Musashi failed to arrive
until a little after 10.

 

As he was being rowed to the small island, Musashi is said to have fashioned a wooden sword
from an oar, with the intention of fighting with that, instead of a real sword. As his boat approached
the beach, Musashi nimbly jumped out into the knee deep water and faced Kojiro.

 

 

1612年4月13日、最大のライバルでもある武蔵 VS 小次郎の「巌流島の決闘」の日。朝8時。
時間になっても決闘の場に現れない武蔵。なんと約2時間遅れの10時過ぎなって、小さな舟で現れました。
岸に到着するのを待たずに、舟から飛び降りる武蔵。
武蔵は、舟をこぐための櫓(ろ)を削って作った木刀を準備したと言います。 

 

 

“You’re late!” snarled Kojiro, drawing his oversized sword and angrily casting the scabbard
into the water. “You’ve lost,…” answered Musashi. “What makes you think that?” spat Kojiro
moving menacingly forward. “If you were going to win, you’d need your scabbard again later,
” answered Musashi calmly striding out of the water and onto the beach, holding his carved
oar behind him.

 

With a roar, Kojiro made the first move, and in an instant Musashi struck him down. Rumor
has it, that as Kojiro slumped to the ground dead, Musashi’s headband fell away, sliced by
Kojiro’s near fatal cut.

 

Musashi then bowed to the official witnesses, returned to his boat, and was rowed away.
It is believed Musashi was taken to a small castle that once stood on the opposite side of the
channel, overlooking the site of the Battle of Dan no Ura in 1185.

 

 

待ちぼうけをくらった小次郎は、既にいらだっています。野太刀を抜き、鞘(さや)を海へと放り投げる
小次郎。それを見た武蔵は「お前の負けだ!勝つ気なら、勝負が終わった後、その鞘が必要だろう。」と
相手を挑発し、二人の戦いが始まります。

 

「やっ!」一瞬にして勝負あり!武蔵の剣を頭にうけた小次郎は、その場に倒れこみ、勝利した武蔵は
舟で、その場を後にします。 

 

 

Ganryujima is accessible by a ten minute ferry from Shimonoseki Harbor for just 400 Yen. 
Regular services mean you won’t have to wait long. Give yourself at least an hour to wander
the island, see the site of the duel, and the impressive statue depicting the single combat.

 

Apart from the statue of the two warriors in battle, there is a sign post and boat shaped marker
pointing out the actual site of the duel, and a memorial to Sasaki Kojiro. Apart from that, there
really isn’t much to see on Ganryujima. While there are some free for use BBQ and toilet facilities
available, there are no shops, or eateries, no souvenir stands, nothing. Nothing but the atmosphere
of just being there! And for a fan of the great Miyamoto Musashi, that is more than enough!

  

  

巌流島までは、下関港(唐島桟橋)から直行便(船)で、約3分。
静かで小さなこの島には、小次郎と武蔵の銅像の他に舟形の碑、小次郎を偲ぶ碑があります。
小次郎と武蔵の闘った、この巌流島の地で、400年前の歴史を感じてください。 

 

 


大きな地図で見る


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