Musashi (novel)

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Musashi
US edition cover
Author Eiji Yoshikawa
Translator Charles S. Terry
Cover artist N. Ōrai
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Genre Historical novel
Publisher Asahi Shimbun
Publication date
1935
Published in English
1981
Media type Print (newspaper serial)
Pages 984 (US hardback edition)
ISBN 4-7700-1957-2 (US hardback edition)
OCLC 32830390

Musashi (宮本武蔵 Miyamoto Musashi?) is a Japanese novel written by Eiji Yoshikawa and serialized in 1935 in Asahi Shimbun.

Introduction[edit]

It is a fictionalized account of the life of Miyamoto Musashi, author of The Book of Five Rings and arguably the most renowned Japanese swordsman who ever lived.

The novel has been translated into English by Charles S. Terry, with a foreword by Edwin O. Reischauer, published by Kodansha International under ISBN 4-7700-1957-2.

The long epic (over 900 pages, abridged, in the English version) comprises seven "books" detailing the exploits of Miyamoto Musashi, beginning just after the battle of Sekigahara, following his journeys and the many people who become important in his life, and leading up to his climactic duel with Sasaki Kojiro on Ganryujima (Ganryu or Funa Island). Musashi becomes famous during the course of the novel as he searches for both perfection in swordsmanship and in consciousness. Innovating Japanese swordsmanship, he invents the style of simultaneously wielding both the katana and the wakizashi, something unheard of at that time in Japanese history.

Table of contents[edit]

Chapters per book

Book 1 — Earth[edit]

  • The Little Bell
  • The Comb
  • The Flower Festival
  • The Dowager's Wrath
  • The Art of War
  • The Old Cryptomeria Tree
  • The Rock and the Tree
  • The Birth of Musashi

Book 2 — Water[edit]

  • The Yoshioka School
  • The Wheel of Fortune
  • Encounter and Retreat
  • The Water Sprite
  • A Spring Breeze
  • The Hōzōin
  • Hannya Plain
  • The Koyagyū Fief
  • The Peony
  • Jōtarō's Revenge
  • The Nightingales

Book 3 — Fire[edit]

  • Sasaki Kojirō
  • Reunion in Osaka
  • The Handsome Young Man
  • The Seashell of Forgetfulness
  • A Hero's Passing
  • The Drying Pole
  • Eagle Mountain
  • The Mayfly in Winter
  • The Pinwheel
  • The Flying Horse
  • The Butterfly in Winter
  • The Announcement
  • The Great Bridge at Gojō Avenue

Book 4 — Wind[edit]

  • The Withered Field
  • A Man of Parts
  • Too Many Kojirōs
  • The Younger Brother
  • A Mother's Love
  • The Urbane Craftsman
  • Reverberations in the Snow
  • The Elegant People
  • The Broken Lute
  • A Sickness of the Heart
  • The Scent of Aloeswood
  • The Gate
  • A Toast to the Morrow
  • The Death Trap
  • A Meeting in the Moonlight
  • Stray Geese
  • The Spreading Pine
  • An Offering for the Dead
  • A Drink of Milk
  • Entwining Branches
  • The Male and Female Waterfalls

Book 5 — Sky[edit]

  • The Abduction
  • The Warrior of Kiso
  • Poisonous Fangs
  • A Maternal Warning
  • A One-Night Love Affair
  • A Gift of Money
  • A Cleansing Fire
  • Playing with Fire
  • A Cricket in the Grass
  • The Pioneers
  • Slaughter by the Riverside
  • Shavings
  • The Owl
  • A Plate of Loaches
  • Like Teacher, Like Pupil
  • Mountain Devils
  • First Planting
  • The Flies
  • The Soul Polisher
  • The Fox
  • An Urgent Letter
  • Filial Piety
  • Spring Shower in Red
  • A Block of Wood
  • The Deserted Prophet
  • The Talk of the Town

Book 6 — Sun and Moon[edit]

  • A Chat with the Men
  • Buzzing Insects
  • The Eagle
  • Green Persimmons
  • Eyes
  • Four Sages with a Single Light
  • The Locust Tree
  • Tadaaki's Madness
  • The Poignancy of Things
  • Two Drumsticks
  • The Demon's Attendant
  • Brother Disciples
  • The Pomegranate
  • Land of Dreams
  • The Challenge
  • The Gateway to Glory
  • The Sound of Heaven

Book 7 — The Perfect Light[edit]

  • The Runaway Ox
  • Hemp Seed
  • Sweepers and Salesmen
  • A Pear Blossom
  • The Port
  • The Writing Teacher
  • The Circle
  • Shikama Blue
  • The Mercy of Kannon
  • The Tides of Life
  • The Evening Boat
  • A Falcon and a Woman
  • Before the Thirteenth Day
  • At Daybreak
  • The Marriage
  • The Soul of the Deep

Release details[edit]

  • Yoshikawa, Eiji (1935), (newspaper serial), Japan: Asahi Shimbun  Missing or empty |title= (help).
  • ——— (1993) [1981], Musashi (paperback), Trans. Charles S. Terry, Tokyo: Kodansha .
  • ——— (July 1981), Musashi (hardcover), Trans. Charles S. Terry, USA: HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-859851-3 
  • ——— (May 1995), Musashi (hardcover), Trans. Charles S. Terry, Japan: Kodansha, ISBN 4-7700-1957-2 .

See also[edit]

Sources, references, external links, quotations[edit]