The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi & Arrowroot
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The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi & Arrowroot

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  215 ratings  ·  34 reviews
From a Japanese master of romantic and sexual obsession come two novels that treat traditional themes with sly wit and startling psychological sophistication. In The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi, Junichir Tanizaki reimagines the exploits of a legendary samurai as a sadomasochistic dance between the hero and the wife of his enemy. Arrowroot, though set in the twent...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 11th 2003 by Vintage (first published 1931)
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Community Reviews

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Ben Winch
My second big discovery in Japanese writing (after the short stories of Masuji Ibuse) was The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi, a lesser-known novel by this well-known author. If you've read much Tanizaki then you won't be surprised to hear there's a psycho-sexual element here, but nowhere else (that I'm aware of) does he take it quite so far as this. A samurai warlord with a fetish for 'woman heads' (severed heads with the noses cut off) and a complicated psychology that makes this fetish...more
Nick Jones
Two works written in the early 1930s by Junichiro Tanizaki. The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi is probably best described as a novella, Arrowroot a short story. I have read two of Tanizaki’s earlier works, both worked within a realist aesthetic: rounded characters existed within a detailed and believable world, the story telling of recognizable events. Something different is happening in these two works. The Secret History of the Lord Musashi tells of a Sixteenth Century Japanese lord who...more
Jo Alcock
Translator Anthony H. Chambers in his Introduction to The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi writes: Indeed, Tanizaki's fiction is far less autobiographical than that of most Japanese novelists. He preferred to use his imagination. "I have acquired a bad habit recently," he wrote in 1926.
I cannot bring myself to write or read anything that takes real facts for its material, or that is even realistic. This is one reason I make no attempt to read the works of contemporary authors that appear
...more
Truly
Memetik jelai
Memetik Apsintus
Di dalam tangan kami ada sembilan kacang
Sembilan kacang, tetapi lebih dari itu
kami merindukan rumah orang tua kami....
Jika kau merindukan aku
Datang dan temukan
Dedaunan aroma Hutan Shinoda lambang kesedihan

Buat saya, buku ini lebih menyerupai biografi, alih-alih novel sejarah seperti yang diungkapkan sang penulis. Buku ini berkisah mengenai Tuan Musashi yang dilahirkan pada abad keenam belas, saat sedang bergejolak perang saudara. Tuan Musashi merupakan seorang pemimp...more
Mel
"The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi" by Junichiro Tanizaki
The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi by Junichiro Tanizaki (1935, 138 pages-trans. by Anthony Chambers) is simply an amazing work of art. Written nearly 75 years ago, it is my first preWWII Japanese novel, it feels like it could have been written last week or in the 18th century by someone with a very strange sense of humor and amazing talent. I simply loved this work. It is darkly hilarious. An acute psychological insight is...more
Lambertus Hermawan
Sebagai bacaan kedua, pada beberapa halaman pertama saya mengira bahwa saya telah salah dalam memilih bacaan. Saya mengira bahwa buku ini berisi analisis atau bahasan dari berbagai kitab mengenai sejarah Jepang masa lampau. Namun, karena saya bertekad untuk menyelesaikan apapun yang saya baca, akhirnya saya terus membacanya... dan rupanya tidak seburuk itu.

Sebagaimana yang terdapat pada sinopsisnya, buku ini berisi dua kisah yang berbeda. Keduanya tidak berhubungan. Menurut saya, penulis hanya i...more
Lanny

I don't think I read Arrowroot. I should, but the secret history is one of the most Japanese stories, and is sort of a literary version of the ero-guro genre of Manga ie something like Maruo or Saeki. The Lord of Musashi has an erotic frisson as an impressionable youth while watching young women of the court prepare the hair of severed heads of young warriors taken
in battle. The care and fetishistic adoration afforded the heads strikes deep to the tingle root, and the young lord is never right a...more
Muhammad Irfan
Rasanya kurang tepat jikalau menyebut dua karya Tanazaki adalah Novel, karena penuturan ceritanya bersudut pandang tepat pada si Penulis, maksudnya benar-benar berorientasi pada penulis yang sedang menuliskan sebuah kisah bersejarah, sebuah eksistansi penulis, ya anda akan selalu mengijaminasikan bahwa sang Penulis seperti bercerita kepada anda.

Rasanya biar afdol biar kubahas satu-satu kedua karya yang digabung menjadi sebuah Buku setebal 305 halaman ini.

1. The Secret History of The Lord Musash...more
Parrish Lantern
Without giving too much away, this through a series of bizarre tales and adventures, develops into a full blown sexual fetish, which follows him and comes to dominate his life and his view of it, regardless of his ability as a warrior, what he becomes is as a servant to his warped appetites, all he does is in homage to that desire.
This was one strange and yet strangely enjoyable tale, Tanizaki’s take on the idea of Samurai legends & their histories, is as though through a fairground mir
...more
Rafael Uribe
I read it in spanish and i most definitely recommend this book. The secret history of the lord Musashi is very amusing and different from what you would read regularly, give it a try.
Patrick McCoy
The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi (and Arrowroot) by Junichiro Tanizaki. Musashi was typical Tanizaki, an arresting tale of sexual obsession: a boy, a girl, and a severed head with no nose. Arrowroot was much shorter and didn't make much of an impression on me. I am trying to read all Tanizaki's works in English and then I'll start writing a paper on one of his many themes.
Crcfozzie
I think it's suffice to say that I don't understand classic Japanese literature. The first novel The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi is downright disturbing and strange, but I actually think I preferred it to Arrowroot that seemed to end just as it was getting started. Maybe I'm just not used to Eastern literature, but I really did not understand these.
Xarah
I found the concept of each story to be quite interesting, though the way they were written didn't quite seem to bring out the best. I would have liked them to be more fiction, rather than, what I felt, was non-fiction. There seemed to be a bit of the dryness that can be found in non-fiction. Despite that, the mythology of the stories was fun.
Amari
disturbing, entrancing -- in other words, typical twentieth-century japanese fare in the best sense. i was surprised by the extreme darkness of the secret history, having read only the makioka sisters beforehand.

hats off to the translator -- beautifully and sensitively rendered.
Michael
I loved the absurdity of The Secret History of the Lord Musashi and its manipulation of actual history into a weird story that revolves around noses. I didn't quite get Arrowroot as much. I might need to re-read the whole thing to muster up some stronger feelings about it.
Natnat
Awalnya aku lbh suka novela Secret History of the Lord of Musashi, soalnya naratornya sompral.

Dan arrowroot sungguh berat!!!

Tapi akhirnya aku lebih suka Arrowroot. Wakakak... soalnya si narator awalnya udah sombong ke sana-sini, akhirnya dia mengaku kalah juga.

Baca deh!
Jail
I love everything I've read by Tanizaki, the way he deals with perversity and sexual masochism in such a frank and disturbing way and wrote about it in the 1930's. This book is about how a samurai's hidden masochism inspires him to the courageous deeds that create his legend.
Kris
I confess I got bored and quit reading Arrowroot, but I really enjoyed The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi, a historical profile of a fictional Japanese warrior with a weird fetish.
Paul
Arrowroot is small autobiographical beer, but Secret History is a teasingly ambiguous blend of fierce eroticism and medieval Japanese history, intoxicating stuff from one of my favorite writers.
Johan
Kirain tentang Musashinya Yoshikawa, ternyata bukan. Gak baca kelar. Bosan di cerita kedua. Lumayan kalau mau ngumpulin buku sastra Jepang.
Nana
الجزء الثاني كان عبارة عن رحلة الكاتب لقرية مع صديقه ليجد مادة لرواية يؤلفها و يبدو أنه لم يفعل ... أعتقد بأنني حببت الجزء الأول أكثر ^^
A. Moses Levitt
Sempat mengira ini tentang si legenda samurai: Miyamoto Musashi.
Ternyata bukan. Tapi bagus buat koleksi buku buku Jepang.
Jason
Both were enjoyable but a little too slight to get much insight into his writing. I'm intrigued enough to read more of his work.
Miriam
Only read the beginning it was too sad. My memory of it is how the wives back home prepared the heads taken in battle.
Chris
thumbs up to lord of musashi. wow.
thumbs sideways to arrowroot. i thought i would have enjoyed it more than i did.
Coincidence F
توقفت عند الكتاب الخامس وفيه تنتهي حكاية الأمير الغريبة !
Sweetdhee
disc gramed GI
erwwww... macet baca..
rada2 ga sreg sama pembahasan awalnya..
Natnat
Ahengggg... editan pertamaku di Kantera (kalo gak salah...) *garuk-garuk dagu*
Jacob
I take it as axiomatic that any fiction involving noselessness is good fiction.
Dion Yulianto
Belum kelar2 juga baca buku ini, hmmmmm... kayak biografi sejarah ya
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Jun'ichiro Tanizaki (谷崎 潤一郎) was a Japanese author, one of the major writers of modern Japanese literature, and perhaps the most popular Japanese novelist after Natsume Sōseki.

Some of his works present a rather shocking world of sexuality and destructive erotic obsessions; others, less sensational, subtly portray the dynamics of family life in the context of the rapid changes in 20th-century Japa...more
More about Jun'ichirō Tanizaki...
The Makioka Sisters In Praise of Shadows Naomi Some Prefer Nettles The Key

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