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Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era Hardcover – 15 Oct 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 984 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha America, Inc (15 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156836427X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568364278
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 4.3 x 15.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review


.".. A stirring saga ... not only for readers interested in Japan but also for those who simply want a rousing read." -Washington Post


--Washington Post

About the Author

EIJI YOSHIKAWA was born in 1892 in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo. He began his literary career at the age of twenty-two. During his thirties he worked as a journalist while continuing to write stories and novels, reaching a large and appreciative readership through having his work published, often serially, in newspapers and popular magazines. At the time of his death in 1962, he was one of Japan's best-known and best-loved novelists. He received the Cultural Medal, the highest award for a man of letters, and other cultural decorations, including the Order of the Sacred Treasure. CHARLES S. TERRY, the translator, was born in Mississippi in 1926 and graduated from Duke University. He first studied Japanese in the U.S. Navy during WW II and after the war received a master's degree from Columbia University in Japanese history. Resident in Japan since 1952, he also received a master's degree in Chinese history from the University of Tokyo and has since been active as a translator of works on Japanese art, architecture and history. He died in 1982.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Oct. 1996
Format: Hardcover
This book is just fascinating. It tells a lot about the
nature of life in Japan during the age of the Samurai. It's
a documentary sometimes and a thriller some other times -
but mainly it's just a wonderful *very* long - and still to
short - story with heroes who need some time to become
heroic and villans, who at times are likeable human
beeings too. As a lot of power of this book comes out of the
beautiful language, i should point out, that i read the german
translation. I`ve read thousands of books - but this one is
definetly the Best. I whish i spoke Japanese, so that i could
read all the other works of Yoshikawa, which haven't been
translated yet!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By mjh93sa on 16 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I can add little to the other reviews other than to confirm that this is an excelent book. Those with an interest in fuedal Japan will be drawn to it, whilst those who shun it because of this, it's length or price are missing a gem. Despite it's length it is too short by half. You'll find yourself immersed in the world of Musashi and staying up late to read just a little more.
The characters are brought to life and are without the idolisation that might have been the case for such an historic figure in Japanese culture. It is so much more than a martial arts inspired book that it has a much broader appeal that it will ever realise. Charting the life, fortunes and falures of Musashi and those close to him it is a love story, action thriller and inspirational text all rolled into one.
Simply put this is the one of the best books I've read and would stand head and shouders above mainstream 'bestsllers'. I would recommend it without reservation to anyone.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By MR A P COOKE on 18 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read Eiji Yoshikawa's 'Taiko' before I read Mushahi. Although i was impressed by the book I felt the translation let it down a lot. So when I picked up this book I was suprised (like the other reviewers) how hard I found to put this book down.
It takes a lot for me to get gripped by a book and this one draws you in so well you don't even realise your hooked until your over half way through.
I really can't say much more as most of the reviewers have said it for me but I will add that if your looking for a beautifly written and very well translated epic novel then you really can't get much better than this.
Put it like this no-one who has reviewed this book has given it less than 5 stars, need I say more...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Oct. 1996
Format: Hardcover
This is my all-time favorite book. I am not one to do anything twice unless I am truly impressed. This is a book that I have read more than once and which I will keep in my library for many years to come.

I first ran across the book in a used bookstore in Japan, just two months before I left the country where I was spent my childhood. I spent two days and nights reading the book. I could not put it down because it captured my imagination and my heart.

For anyone who has ever fallen in love with the old Japan, that delightful culture, the unique history of the people and their customs, this is a book to treasure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 May 1997
Format: Hardcover
What a fabulous read! Having lived in Sagami Hara, Kujukuri, and other places on Honshu for over ten years, I could almost close my eyes and see the blood-tinged dust settling on the plains after a battle. I have read Lao Tsu's "The Art of War," and was a Buddhist for a while as well. Every part of this book was just fabulous, absorbing, and I heartily recommend it to anyone and everyone who is interested in old Japan.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By happy mum on 21 Jun. 2001
Format: Hardcover
As epic books go this one is the best. It has everything you could hope for : love, war... What makes it different is the focus Yoshikawa adopts. You are witnessing the spiritual growth and development of several people. These characters believe in something and they search and do their best in order to achieve their goals. It is also an exceptional insight into japanese culture. All the places described in the book are real places which makes it come alive for the reader who has been there. The characters are actually real characters. What was not my surprise when visiting Kyoto's Sanjusangendo temple to see a portrait of Musashi! Last but not least Yoshikawa's style is very addictive and once you have started the book, you will not be able to put it down.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Aug. 1997
Format: Hardcover
I read this book quite some time ago, but the story is still with me now - a testiment to any great book. Eiji Yoshikawa is a master of story-telling and prose, and Charles Terry's translation is, as any good translation should be, undiscernible. The book could very well have been thought written in english, and beautifully so.
The 970 page (over-sized page) epic is difficult to sum-up in a few short sentences... but the basis of the book is the life of the greatest warrior (calling him a 'swordsman' would be like calling Shakespeare s 'scribe') of Feudal Japan.
Close your eyes... envision a full moon on a clear night in ancient Japan, a soft wind caresses your face and cherry blossoms float upon the wind. In the distance, a nightingale's golden voice penetrates the silence as easily as a pebble passes through the water of a pond... soon the soft snow of winter will be upon the fields and and trees... the seasons continue to flow, such is the way of nature... of life.
Musashi is the story of one man's remarkable seasons, of not 'finding', but rather 'making' his place in the world, told with the imagination, subtleness, humour and drama that is life.
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