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Kukai the Universal: Scenes from His Life

liked it 3.00  ·  Rating details ·  12 ratings  ·  3 reviews
The life's work of famed Japanese writer Ryotaro Shiba, this extensive and inspired biography recounts the life of the visionary monk who founded Shingon Buddhism, invented the kana syllabary, and changed the cultural landscape of Japan forever. Ryotaro Shiba (192396) is Japan's most respected historical novelist of the twentieth century and the winner of the Naoki Prize.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Stone Bridge Press (first published 1975)
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liked it 3.00  · 
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 ·  12 ratings  ·  3 reviews

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Apr 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
This author is known for his historical novels. This book is more novel than historical, in fact it gives a highly misleading and distorted view of a great figure of Buddhism and Japanese culture. It attributes to him many character defects which are entirely out of keeping with the man, and with all other historical sources (in English anyway!).

As well as faults of content and history the book is also hampered by poor translations of Buddhist technical terms such as "Baptism" for "Abhiṣeka" (t
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Given that the previous two people who have uploaded comments have attacked this great book with as much as they could possibly muster, I figured that a defense was in order.

Clearly, they went into it trying to look for something that was never going to be there -- so they ended up disappointed. I have indeed gone through their claims and responded to all in full at my own blog on a post on this very book here (link to the post).

For purposes here, I will just say that this book did what it was
Mar 08, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
I have to admit, I read this book hoping to learn more about the most famous man from Shikoku and I can't say that I did. The book was dry and uninspirational. I was still unable to capture why and how this man had such a profound influence on Japan. He founded a sect of buddhism but I know nothing about it and the book doesn't explain it at all. Basically this book is just a chronological re-telling of scanty facts about his life that are difficult to even confirm.
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Ryōtarō Shiba (司馬 遼太郎)born Teiichi Fukuda (福田 定一 Fukuda Teiichi?, August 7, 1923 – February 12, 1996) in Osaka, Japan, was a Japanese author best known for his novels about historical events in Japan and on the Northeast Asian sub-continent, as well as his historical and cultural essays pertaining to Japan and its relationship to the rest of the world.

Shiba studied Mongolian at the Osaka School of