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Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings

4.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  194 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Miyamoto Musashi, who lived in Japan in the fifteenth century, was a renowned samurai warrior. He has become a martial arts icon, known not just as an undefeated dueler, but also as a master of battlefield strategy. Kenji Tokitsu turns a critical eye on Musashi's life and writings, separating fact from fiction, and giving a clear picture of the man behind the myth.

Paperback, 528 pages
Published June 20th 2006 by Weatherhill (first published 2004)
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Anthony Alessi
Feb 17, 2011 Anthony Alessi rated it liked it
Shelves: own, non-fiction
I am not well read on Musashi's life but like the author, I am a practitioner of both Kendo and Iaido. The book has 2 aspects to it. first, it is an attempted reconstruction of Musashi's life from documentary evidence. second, it is a translation of the book of the 5 rings. Both are done from the point of view of a martial artist looking at and interpreting the work. The interpretations make sense, and the author takes pains to point out any place where he makes assumptions, what assumptions he ...more
David Vaughan
Sep 25, 2010 David Vaughan rated it really liked it
If you study Asian history, this is a touchstone. By closely reading a good biography of Japan's most celebrated Samurai -- Miyamoto Musashi -- and by reading his own "Book of Five Rings," you will begin to glean some insight into the spirituality associated with Bushido, paradoxically by learning about the chaotic life of a rural runaway who sought conflict and killing, fought with psychological tricks and never lost a battle, even when facing dozens of foes at once. If you study Japan, study t ...more
Jim Bouchard
Dec 12, 2010 Jim Bouchard rated it it was amazing
Bar none this is the best translation of Musashi and includes much more than Book of 5 Rings.

Tokitsu gives us the most comprehensive portrait of Musashi the man I've ever found- and that wasn't easy! He shares the legends, but really dives well below the surface to give us a look at the human being at the root of the legend.

Extensively researched, well written, yet I don't recommend this for the casual reader. If you're truly interested in Asian philosophy, warcraft and history this is a must
E. Paul Zehr
Oct 15, 2009 E. Paul Zehr rated it it was amazing
I have read numerous English language translations of Musashi's "Go rin no sho". Tokitsu's is the best by far. I thoroughly enjoyed the annotated comments and historical explanations that he used. The explanatory essays at the end of the book were also of interest. The only disappointment was how the book finished by devolving into a bit of unnecessary metaphysical musings.
Jul 23, 2009 H added it
Shelves: martial
Best translation (with incredible annotations) of Musashi's Book of Five Rings I've ever read. Written by a kendo practitioner who understands the language, the history, and the state of mind of this practice. Disabuses myths and uncertainties about Musashi's historical life.
Dec 01, 2010 Emtee rated it liked it
A very in-depth biography on Musashi, with translations of texts he wrote, and some of his paintings. The book is quite educational and insightful.
Miroku Nemeth
Mar 10, 2015 Miroku Nemeth rated it it was amazing
An amazing work on many levels: Tokitsu is a true scholar and provides a comprehensive summary of the works of Musashi, his disciples, the lineages that sprang from him, and all of those who have told his story and tried to emulate his martial path over the last five hundred years; he provides new translations of Musashi's "Book of Five Rings" as well as less well known works; he provides images and commentary on some of the vibrant and amazing artwork of Musashi; he situates Musashi contextuall ...more
Jul 21, 2009 David rated it it was ok
I am nearly done with this book, and really despite the author explicitly saying that they are trying to cut through the myth to the 'real' Musashi, I can't help but think he has failed. Either I simply know too little of 16th/17th Century Japan (which is true) to understand that he has drawn reasonable conclusions from the inflated and biased contemporary and near-contemporary accounts or there is simply not enough reliable information to actually say anything about the man in a reliable manner ...more
Robert Paske
Oct 11, 2013 Robert Paske rated it it was amazing
While I am no Musashi scholar/historian, I have read a few different books in relation to Miyamoto Musashi (Starting with a translation of Eiji Yoshikawa's). Of those I've read dealing with finding the historical Musashi, this was by far the best. Well written and researched, without delving too far into hero worship or following trains of speculation too far without some sort of evidence. This also contained the best translation of The Book of Five Rings that I've come across- I even re-read it ...more
Jan 28, 2013 Bryan rated it it was amazing
This is without a doubt, the most authoritative and researched work on Musashi to date. Kenji Tokitsu has done a superb job at shedding new perspective on one of the most enigmatic figures in Japanese history.
Sep 08, 2015 Jake rated it it was amazing
The catch all for Musashi books. Best translation of Go Rin No Sho I've ever encountered.
ThunderPhunk TheGreat
May 02, 2012 ThunderPhunk TheGreat rated it really liked it
Miyamoto's life story should be a movie!...That's all I'm going to say...blessings
E Taylor
Nov 13, 2011 E Taylor is currently reading it
more research for first novel
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Kenji Tokitsu (時津 賢児) is a Japanese author and practitioner of Japanese martial arts. Dr. Tokitsu has also written a scholarly work about the legendary swordsman Musashi Miyamoto. He holds doctorates in sociology and in Japanese language and civilization.

Kenji Tokitsu was born on 1 August 1947 in Yamaguchi, Japan. A practitioner of Shotokan karate since youth, in 1983 Tokitsu started his own schoo
More about Kenji Tokitsu...

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