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Musashi: An epic novel of the samurai era by Eiji Yoshikawa ; translated from the Japanese by Charles S. Terry ; foreword by Edwin O. Reischauer. - Cultural Heritage Books

Musashi: an Epic Novel of the Samurai Era by Eiji Yoshikawa ; Translated From the Japanese by Charles S. Terry ; Foreword by Edwin O. Reischauer


New York, N.Y. : Harper & Row/Kodansha International, 1981. First American Edition. Stated "First edition w/full number line" on copyright page. $17.95 dust jacket. Hardcover. 970 pages ; 25 cm. An excellent copy with firm binding, clean pages and free of markings.

Eiji Yoshikaiwa

For all those who were introduced to the samurai tradition by Shogun, this monumental adventure story of a wandering swordsman who rises to greatness enables the reader to truly understand the Japanese heroic tradition. This novel has sold over 120 million copies in Japan.

Musashi tells of the real-life exploits of a popular hero. The son of a country samurai, Musashi is a youth of great physical strength who enters manhood with a flawed understanding of what it means not only to be a samurai but also to be a human being. Hope of fame and glory draws him to the great Battle of Sekigahara. On the losing side, he escapes and becomes a fugitive. But a Zen priest saves him from execution and shuts him in a donjon to train his mind and discipline his spirit. Emerging after three years of total solitude, Musashi sets out to become the greatest swordsman in the land.

In the course of battle, he creates a unique style of fighting with two swords simultaneously, one of his claims to fame, but he comes to feel that he must also experience the world and learn about life. His travels take him all over Japan, even to the shogun's castle, and eventually lead him to a dramatic confrontation with his rival in swordsmanship.

Filled with memorable characters — Musashi's childhood friend Matahachi, whose dreams all turn to dust; his friend's stubborn, sharp-tongued mother; the lovely Otsu the woman who gives her heart to Musashi to the exclusion of all else; and many others—this living story, subtle and imaginative, interweaves themes of unrequited love and misguided revenge with the reluctant hero's dedication to the Way of the Samurai.

EIJI YOSHIKAWA is one of Japan's best-known and best-loved twentieth-century novelists. Though his formal education was curtailed because of his family's poverty, he began to write at the age of 22, later worked as a journalist while continuing his literary career, and reached a large and appreciative readership through having his work published in newspapers and popular magazines. Among the honors conferred on him by the Japanese government were the Cultural Medal, the highest award for a man of letters, and three cultural decorations, which included the Order of the Sacred Treasure.


Acclaim for Musashi, the Best-Selling Samurai Epic

"Shogun must look to its laurels....This glittering narrative idealization of the samurai code has reportedly sold over 120 million copies in Japan, and one can see why. It should sell a good few here." — Publishers Weekly

"Musashi, while based on real figures, is a work of historical fiction, presenting an idealized version of the past that allows Japanese readers to feel ennobled by their heritage and enables Occidental readers to see how the Japanese wish to see themselves....Therefore the events depicted in Musashi, while occurring in the early 17th century, are, in effect, as close in time to the Japanese as the events of the Civil War are to us." — The New York Times Book Review

"...Musashi is a stirring saga and one that will prove popular not only for readers interested in Japan but also for those who simply want a rousing read." — Washington Post Book World

"A stirring saga...a rousing read!" — San Francisco Chronicle

"A captivating work." — The Atlanta Journal/Constitution

"The Gone with.the Wind of Japan." — Edwin O. Reischauer

"Dramatic and exciting." — Philadelphia Bulletin

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