Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book of Five Rings: A Graphic Novel” as Want to Read:
The Book of Five Rings: A Graphic Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book of Five Rings: A Graphic Novel

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  28 reviews
This graphic novel version of The Book of Five Rings, the iconic book of confrontation and victory by the famed seventeenth-century duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi, illuminates this brilliant manifesto, which has long inspired martial artists and anyone interested in cultivating a strategic mind. With evocative drawings and a distilled but faithful text ada ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Shambhala
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book of Five Rings, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Melanie It was okay. It's made me more curious about understanding Japanese Samurai culture, and it is a fast read. But it's not great.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  251 ratings  ·  28 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Nicolo Yu
Sep 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comixology
I was expecting a lot of samurai sword-fighting action but this is really more of a treatise on how Miyamoto Musashi became the legend that he is. My disappointment notwithstanding, this graphic novel adaptation gives a good insight on how Musashi developed his outlook on life and sword skills.
Ryan Lindberg
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
It reads like an instruction manual, pulling directly from Mushashi’s The Book of Five Rings. Wilson stays pretty close to the book he’s adapting and adds some interesting details about Mushashi’s life, that I appreciated reading. His afterward thoughtfully breaks down each section of the book and includes more information about Mushashi and his influence posthumous. The art isn’t bad but leaves a bit to be desired for more swordplay. Kutsuwada could have chosen more dynamic angles and balanced ...more
Aaron Maurer
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I love reading ancient texts of martial arts, warriors, and the like because I find in their articulately crafted words such great wisdom about life in general. When it all comes down to it life is about that balance and realizing that everything comes full circle. Reading this book I was reminded that we must not focus all efforts into only one thing and to clear the mind of anything that could cause confusion. The illustrations were excellent to help shape the story. Perhaps things can be said ...more
I really liked the artwork and the organization of the book. The 3 star review has more to do with the subject matter not really hitting home for me. Some of it, yes, but being a part of a Mennonite community as I am, using a warrior metaphor to talk about how one should approach life doesn't resonate. There are certainly principles one could draw from the warrior metaphor that don't involve seeing life as a kind of battle where you're trying to one-up your opponent, but you kinda have to work t ...more
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's hard to explain whether this is fiction or non-fiction, in graphic form. It's a graphic version of how a real person wrote a book of philosophy and martial arts, with the text itself illustrated by scenes which may or may not be fictional. Got that?
Musashi's Book of Five Rings was something that was a must-read for people a number of years ago, with fans from the worlds of history, martial arts and business all claiming it as a manual for their lives. It's that kind of book.
The explanatory
Stewart Tame
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Considering how un-adaptable the source material must have been, this is actually pretty impressive. That said, it just wasn't my thing. Reminds me a bit of some zen texts I've read, only not as interesting as some of those can be. Reminds me of the old story about the talking dog in that the fact of its existence is more interesting than the actual content.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Absolutely loved this book. The concept of taking an ancient treatise and producing it in the style of a manga is just brilliant. The artwork is very captivating, and suits the message that was embodied in the original Book of Five Rings.
Although the amount of reading content is very small, it is definitely valuable.

Great work. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
Stacey Marie
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really beautifully done graphic representation of Miyamoto's Book Of the Five Rings. I read the original many years ago when I was obsessed with old Japan and this is a great adaptation. The art is almost classic manga style --the non-flashy stuff, which distinguishes it from other historical graphic novels.
Thomas Mcmillen
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
A quick, well-done version of Miyamoto Musashi's Book of 5 Rings. The graphic novel form illustrates the tenets,(especially Emptiness), that can seem too etherial. "You should investigate this thoroughly".
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent adaptation of a timeless classic, to which I'll be returning before long, I hope. I hope to update this "review" with more thoughts after I've sat on this for a bit.
Dominic Fortin-Charland
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Une excellente introduction à l'illustre Musashi.
Subhadeep Bose
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
a very nice book
Should read this book
Okay, I’ll admit this is one of those foreign books that people think should read, like Machiavelli’s “The Prince” or Sun Tzu’s “The Art of Warfare”. It’s in graphic novel form too, which should make it easy to digest for contemporary readers.

But I found some of the language opaque and hard to apply to contemporary affairs. The references to the elements left me scratching my head. Also, reading about a warrior who’d never been bested in battle was a trifle…boring. Who wants to read about someon
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Honestly was expecting a little bit more. The ilustrations are nice and the excerpts from Musashi's book appropriate. Maybe it's meant to act as a hook for someone unfamiliar with the subject, otherwise it feels like under delivering on both the graphic side and on Musashi's writings.
Basten Sinaga
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full of spiritual
Sean Wilson
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi all, I am the writer of this visual version, thanks for your nice reviews here.

Some other reviews I've noticed for the book:

"Writer Sean Michael Wilson and artist Chie Kutsuwada deliver a stately and respectful adaptation of this classic work that is a truly a tribute to the original... complex themes to be conveyed in fascinating ways...Kutsuwada's style is wonderfully resonant of Japanese art and design, and is often tremendously creative. That's particularly true in the end section that d
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I picked this up as one of those recommendations for "those who liked Musashi" after finishing my second read of that novel by Eiji Yoshikawa.

This book is an abridged version of Miyamoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings, with a little bit added from other sources, and, of course, illustrated.

The Book of Five Rings is a mix of advice that is generally practical to mastering anything and advice that is extremely specific to fighting with the weapons of 17th Century Japan. Most of the abridgment is fr
Jun 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic_novels
- Despite manga being Japanese, I would have much preferred a colour graphic novel format. I also would have chosen different things to depict in several of the subjectively-drawn scenes shown here. Then again, the black and white simplicity kind of fits with Musashi's Buddhist teachings.
- Either way, a graphic treatment makes a lot of sense, given Musashi himself was a great artist too.

- This makes what seems to be a fairly readable and digestible work even more so.

- I didn't find The Book it
Sean Goh
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Feel like I took more away from the afterword at the end than the body of the graphic novel.

Interesting point though, that he repeatedly states at the end of each lesson: "You must investigate this thoroughly." His emphasis is on learning through doing. (Iron law of Zen: issai jikan, 一切自看, everything, see for yourself)
Thus the author concludes in the afterword that the book is, after reading, to be discarded like a raft after one has crossed the river.
All should understand that to be predi
Aug 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Lovely to see this captured in graphic form. I have to say, though, Kutsuwada's skill at showing stillness and movement both aside, I found the manga style to be distracting for the gravity of Musashi's lessons. As a reader, I shouldn't be staring at the weird facial expressions and mouths when I'm trying to "investigate this thoroughly." It might be something of a cultural divide, and I acknowledge that, but translated and scripted by a Scotsman for an English-speaking audience suggested at lea ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Art is simple. This fits for this ancient text. To the point, easy to understand. Fitting many different circumstances. The author seems mythic. Undefeated. Choosing a warriors life than that of a teacher. Conquered all foes and now instructing next generation. Just seems a different a different age. Always been one of my favorite books. I read every so often to get mind in tune.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics-read
not really my style
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
It has been awhile since I read the original,
so it was nice to get this concise and illustrated version from the library,
awkward and stiff though the art may be...
Michael Walker
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I especially like the ending of this book - a very artistic way to use the format of a comic book to show the 'emptyness/stillness' aspect. Great stuff!
rated it liked it
Jan 07, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jun 27, 2014
Jonathan Dearborn
rated it really liked it
Jan 18, 2014
Josh Brown
rated it really liked it
Sep 29, 2014
rated it liked it
Jul 06, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Path of the Assassin, Vol. 1: Serving in the Dark
  • Furari
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2
  • Training the Samurai Mind: A Bushido Sourcebook
  • Sumo
  • The Book of Five Rings from SmarterComics
  • Kimono
  • The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest (The Graphic Canon #3)
  • Genius
  • The Foxfire Book, Foxfire 2-3
  • My Neighbor Totoro 4
  • The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius
  • The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki's Ancient Epic
  • 47 Ronin
  • Chinese Gung Fu: The Philosophical Art of Self-Defense
  • Rurouni Kenshin, Vol. 8 #22-24
See similar books…
Sean Michael Wilson is a comic book writer from Scotland. He has had around 30 books published with a variety of US, UK and Japanese publishers, including: a comic book version of A Christmas Carol ('Best of 2008’, Sunday Times), AX:alternative manga ( 'Best ten books of 2010’, Publishers Weekly), Parecomic (with an introduction by Noam Chomsky, his first contribution to a book in graphic form). H ...more