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The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan (Tuttle Classics)
 
 

The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan (Tuttle Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Yasushi Inoue , Yoko Riley
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Originally published in Japanese in 1959, this classic novel by Yasushi Inoue takes place during the Japanese Warring Era (1467-1573)—a time when a fractured Japan was ruled by three young powerful warlords: Takeda Shingen, Iwagawa Yoshimoto and Hojo Ujiyasu. The story focuses on Takeda Shingen and his one-eyed, crippled strategist, Yamamoto Kansuke. The brilliant strategies of Kansuke, inspired by his passion for war and his admiration for his enemies' war tactics, are beautifully expressed throughout this book.

Takeda Shingen—a proud and confident warlord—wants to expand his territory. When he retains the ambitious and mysterious Yamamoto Kansuke—a masterless, unheralded samurai—as his war strategist, he discovers a bold and cunning collaborator. Kansuke's talents at diplomacy and his prescient understanding of war strategy leads Shingen's clan to great success, a path which leads the pair to Princess Yuu. When Kansuke discovers her among the ruins of a castle he has just captured, she is about to commit ritual suicide, jigaki. Kansuke falls under her spell—and convinces her to live to carry on her family's lineage. The conflicting ambitions of Shingen, Kansuke, and Princess Yuu are at the heart of this complex and intensely dramatic story.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1734 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0804837015
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Tra edition (20 Dec 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ECJEH2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #129,563 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Darth Maciek TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This novel is mostly the story of an extraordinary warrior and general who lived in XVI century Japan. Yamamoto Kansuke (1501-1561) came to prominence late in his life, as he entered the service of the legendary Shingen Takeda only in 1543, as one of his advisors. He was very short (in some sources he is even called a dwarf) but with surprisingly strong and long hands and very large shoulders (in some sources he is even described as a hunchback). Because of an accident in childhood he became lame and also lost an eye - and it seems that his disfigured face was a rather unsettling sight... But this strangely shaped and damaged body contained the spirit of an excellent strategist. It is generaly considered, that Yamamoto Kansuke's advice greatly helped Shingen Takeda to rise from a petty local castle holder to the position of one of main players in the great fight for power other all Japan. His skills were however put to great test when the Takedas had to fight the Uesugi clan and its extremely able leader. The climax of this confrontation was the dramatic and tragic fourth battle of Kawanakajima, described in this book in great detail.

The second great figure of this book is Takeda Shingen himself, a fierce and terrifying warlord who fascinated generations of writers and filmmakers (Kurosawa's "Kagemusha" is the story of the Takeda clan and its leader). The relations between the lord and his master strategist are like a chess game between two brilliant minds and they make an excellent read.

But possibly the most extraordinary person in this book is a woman - but to avoid spoilers I will not say much about her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Darth Maciek TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This novel is mostly the story of an extraordinary warrior and general who lived in XVI century Japan. Yamamoto Kansuke (1501-1561) came to prominence late in his life, as he entered the service of the legendary Shingen Takeda only in 1543, as one of his advisors. He was very short (in some sources he is even called a dwarf) but with surprisingly strong and long hands and very large shoulders (in some sources he is even described as a hunchback). Because of an accident in childhood he became lame and also lost an eye - and it seems that his disfigured face was a rather unsettling sight... But this strangely shaped and damaged body contained the spirit of an excellent strategist. It is generaly considered, that Yamamoto Kansuke's advice greatly helped Shingen Takeda to rise from a petty local castle holder to the position of one of main players in the great fight for power other all Japan. His skills were however put to the great test when the Takedas had to fight the Uesugi clan and its extremely able leader. The climax of this confrontation was the dramatic and tragic fourth battle of Kawanakajima, described in this book in great detail.

The second great figure of this book is Takeda Shingen himself, a fierce and terrifying warlord who fascinated generations of writers and filmmakers (Kurosawa's "Kagemusha" is the story of the Takeda clan and its leader). The relations between the lord and his master strategist are like a chess game between two brilliant minds and they make an excellent read.

But possibly the most extraordinary person in this book is a woman - but to avoid spoilers I will not say much about her.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars telling the Story 18 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book based on a real person[s] but it could have been toled as novel and not so much as a history lesson
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With a War Lord in 16th Century Japan 1 Mar 2006
By James Paris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Yasushi Inoue's SAMURAI BANNER OF FURIN KAZAN is written from the point of view of a short, old, and ugly samurai named Yamamoto Kansuke who serves as the chief military strategist for Takeda Haronobu, War Lord of Kai. He has an unerring gift of foreseeing how military strategies will turn out, and of fine-tuning the tactics required to position Takeda to win in any given situation.

Well, almost any given situation. Kansuke also advises Takeda on matters of the heart, and here he is on shakier ground. While he has the best interests of the Takeda clan at heart, women have other goals in mind that he perceives only dimly, being a bachelor. As Takeda tires of his marriage. he takes on two concubines in Princes Yuu and Princess Ogoto; and the problems posed by these two beautiful young women almost prove to be his undoing.

The most powerful enemy of the Takeda clan is Uesugi Kenshin of the nearby state of Echigo. His constant feints remind me of a superb defensive chess player who is familiar with the concept of "reculer pour mieux sauter" -- to retreat to gain running room for leaping forward. In the end, there is a final showdown at Kawakajima in the contested province of Shinano.

Inoue ends with an ironic epilogue in which he sees all the efforts of the 16th century war lords come to naught as Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu finally succeed in unifying Japan in the next generation, leading to the 300-year Tokugawa Shogunate that lasted well into the 19th century.

The title of the book comes from Takeda's battle flag, whose Chinese characters say, in effect:

Be as swift as the wind

Be as silent as the wood

Attack as fiercely as fire

Be as composed as the mountain

This is a wonderful historical novel for anyone who, like me, loves the classic samurai films of Japan. It helps to provide the right historical context for the films. Inoue has done better, especially in LOU LAN AND OTHER STORIES, but this one is well worth reading as well.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gem of A Read 16 May 2006
By China Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although a work of historical fiction, this novel provides an insightful look into one of the most interesting characters during the Sengoku Jidai,Takeda Shingen. It is sad that very little is offered in English regarding the life of one of the most talented generals and administrators of the Warring States Era in the form of a historical text. However, this book allows us to understand the uniqueness of this famous daimyo and one of the key figures that was instrumental in his rise to power:Yamamoto Kansuke. Even less information is available in English regarding this obscure individual, save for his involvement in the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima. However, amongst Japanese history enthusiasts, Kansuke was the intelligence behind the Takeda and their rise to power during this turbulent era. Kansuke's loyalty to his young lord is similar to that of an overbearing father offering unwanted guidance to a son as he ventures out to battle, whether it is on the field, his own seat of government, or his love affairs. The character of Kansuke is truly an intriguing one, and especially Inoue's depiction of him makes this novel well worth the read.

To supplement your enjoyment of this book, I would also recommend reading Kawanakajima 1553-1564 by Stephen Turnbull.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Samurai Banner of Fu Rin Ka Zan 3 Jan 2007
By D, Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It is not as easy to find good samurai literaure as one would imagine.

This book- 'The Samurai Banner of Fu Rin Ka Zan' by Yasushi Inoue would be a delightfully fascinating find for anyone truly interested in the genre.

It is written in a such a way that one can visualize the story as vividly as if watching a well made, well acted movie epic, and it is just as engaging. One does not need any previous knowlewdge about who Takeda Shingen or Yamamoto Kantsuke were for one to get drawn into the plot.

It is surely informative, but it is also fun to read, and at the end it leaves the reader wanting for more.

I wholeheartedly recommend it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel about a ruthless general, a terrifying warlord and an absolutely exceptionnal woman 6 Jun 2012
By Darth Maciek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This novel is mostly the story of an extraordinary warrior and general who lived in XVI century Japan. Yamamoto Kansuke (1501-1561) came to prominence late in his life, as he entered the service of the legendary Shingen Takeda only in 1543, as one of his advisors. He was very short (in some sources he is even called a dwarf) but with surprisingly strong and long hands and very large shoulders (in some sources he is even described as a hunchback). Because of an accident in childhood he became lame and also lost an eye and scarred his face - and it seems that his face was a rather unsettling sight... But this strangely shaped and damaged body contained the spirit of an excellent strategist. It is generaly considered, that Yamamoto Kansuke's advice greatly helped Shingen Takeda to rise from a petty local castle holder to the position of one of main players in the great fight for power other all Japan. His skills were however put to the great test when the Takedas had to fight the Uesugi clan and its extremely able leader. The climax of this confrontation was the dramatic and tragic fourth battle of Kawanakajima, described in this book in great detail.

The second great figure of this book is Takeda Shingen himself, a fierce and terrifying warlord who fascinated generations of writers and filmmakers (Kurosawa's "Kagemusha" is the story of the Takeda clan and its leader). The relations between the lord and his master strategist are like a chess game between two brilliant minds and they make an excellent read.

But possibly the most extraordinary person in this book is a woman - but to avoid spoilers I will not say much about her. Let's just say, that she is at least as intelligent as Kansuke and Shingen and although seemingly completely devoided of all power and influence she will leave possibly the most significant imprint on the whole story...

Once you read this book it can be a good idea to watch the great movie "Samurai banners" (1969) which is a very faithful adaptation of this book, with Toshiro Mifune as Yamamoto Kansuke. Also, once you are familliar with this story, watching Kurosawa's "Kagemusha" is a good idea, as it shows the future history of Takedas, their great army and their legendary banner "Furin Kazan"...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring & Juvenile 18 April 2013
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Though many people seemed to like this book I personally found the writing to be rather childish and boring. I could not get invested in the characters and lost interest about a quarter of the way in. If possible, get a sample and check it out for yourself before buying.
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