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The 47 Ronin: A Graphic Novel Paperback – 5 Dec 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc (5 Dec. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611801370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611801378
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 657,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By nasman on 9 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
A clearly translated book which considers the concept of No-Mind in relation to martial arts - I recommend checking out the the reviews on the US amazon site for a comprehensive overview.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Walker23 on 11 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
Some reviews for the book include:

"A masterful retelling of one of the greatest stories in Japanese culture. An engrossing, engaging, emotional and unforgettable epic."
- Jonathan Ross, BBC television presenter

"The 47 Ronin is a dignified telling of a dignified story. It's violent when it needs to be, precise and calm when it's called for and never once loses focus. This is a tightly focused, perfectly pitched retelling of the story and a perfect entry point for anyone coming to the story for the first time. The Keanu Reeves version may have all the spectacle, but this version has all the heart."
- Alasdair Stuart, Bleeding

"This is a successful attempt to accurately depict a legendary historical event. Someone as fascinated by Japanese culture as I am will love this graphic novel for that fact, but anyone expecting it to be similar to the upcoming movie where Keanu Reeves literally sword fights with dragons will be seriously disappointed.

The beautiful artwork and sparse text made it a fast read and gave the revenge tale an ethereal feel, and while I would have liked to see the revenge plot fleshed out in greater detail, I appreciate that may not have been possible given how closely this story seems to be taken from historical record."
-Eric, GoodReads

"If you enjoy works like Lone Wolf and Cub, you will probably enjoy this graphic novel as well.
I'd give it four out of five stars." - Angel Rivera, Librarian.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a very enjoyable read and exactly what i was looking and hoping for.

I would recommend this to others a good price too
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jay Kody on 27 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you can keep your mind unbiased while reading this book, then you will recognise this book as a non-biased book. A book which opens up the mind, re-develops/re-established thought and discovery of the individual path. Each line has a 1000 meanings but the seeming reality is that each meaning concludes in simplicity. A really excellent book for those who require refreshment and confirmation beyond the sweat and pain.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 29 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Awesome! 4 Jun. 2009
By Ronin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a masterpiece of warrior philosophy. It is not a casual read and nor is it a story that will provide entertainment value. This is essential reading for martial artists and practitioners of eastern medicine as one of the fundamental lessons involves the cultivation of Qi. The "Demon" in this case refers to the Tengu, which are legendary throughout Japan.

The Tengu is many things and comes in many forms. It is known as a mischievous and malevolent spirit that brought terror to the Japanese. The ninja made use of these legends and often impersonated Tengu to strike fear. But the Tengu is also a respected and revered symbol and is associated with Shugendo, or the Way of the Aesthetic. In this role the Tengu can be a teacher, and a protector of Buddhism who punsihed evil-doers.

Practitioners of Shugendo often live alone in the mountains and are known as Yamabushi (Shinto), meaning "Mountain (Yama) Warrior (Bushi) Aesthetic" in the deeper sense. They view nature as possessing powerful Qi; in the mountains, rocks, and streams. In the wilderness they train and cultivate their energy. Their ancient roots come from China and the Taoist traditions, which is very evident in this book:

"The Demon said, 'The Way cannot be seen or heard. What can be seen or heard are just traces of the Way.'

The Tengu, the Yamabushi, and the ninja are all connected. Togakushi is a small village high in the Japanese alps that claims a ninja heritage that is 900-years old. There are 3 shinto shrines in the valley, and countless sacred spots throughout the mountains, which have many small waterfalls and streams. The Tengu of Togakushi takes the form of a raven. Tengu are also common in many other ninja villages like Yagyu-zato.

What's incredible about this book is its really the only one on this subject in english. While sitting high on a precipice in the mountains above Togakushi, I watched a raven high above tuck its wings into a steep dive and it sounded like a katana slicing the air as it passed 15-feet away before continuing another 1000-feet down and leveling off just over the tree line. It was an odd display and there was something really powerful about it. That spirit is alive in this book, and it sheds light on where these ideas originated.

The Tengu are also high techers, but only to the select few. They often took a keen interest in people who retreated to the mountains for extended training. Morihei Ueshiba, the Aikido founder learned some of his martial arts from a Tengu in the 1920's. Sword master Yagyu Muneyoshi had an epic sword duel with a Tengu during a violent lightning storm in the mountains above the village. There is rock there where supposedly his sword cut through the stone after the Tengu dodged him that is now known as Itto Seki, or "one sword stroke rock".

This book deals a lot with the movement of a warrior, but perhaps a more powerful message relates to the Shugendo concepts or more specifically the cultivation of Qi. This was fundamental to the ancient Taoist masters who created powerful martial arts such as the highly advanced Ba Gua Zhang. Chozanshi is clearly advocating that we work endlessly to cultivate Qi, and through this process both our lives and our practices will excel.

This book is a rare treat. It offers some very advanced material, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a serious practitioner of the arts. Be prepared to study.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Hearing the sermon from the bottom of the mount 24 Feb. 2008
By Bradford A. Harkness - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Books on Bushido and swordsmanship are a vast part of my collection, things ranging from the common Sun Tzu, Musashi's 5 Rings, to the lesser known Shogun No Rin, Takeda and the Hagakure and other books are frequent reads for me. This book is interesating in that it deviats from the practical aphorisms and "text book" nature of the others and adopts a 2 part structure. The first section is a collection of stories based on animals and insects that explain the workings of Ch'i flow and the essence of the "void mind" and similar concepts. it does this ina way similar to the Zen Flesh Sen Bones koan/story method, though these have a warmer feel to them. The second part of the book is the actual sermon as overgeard by a traveling man who happend upon some demons on a mountain. Now Demon in the Japanese context does not have the same menaing as it does in the west. So this isnt some horned pitchfork carrying guy talking in the woods. Instead it a gathering of Demons holding a question and answer session with a masterful demon on he subject of the nature of mind in combat as tied to sword play. The meat of the discussions is similar to those of most books but it focuses alot on Ch'i energy and how it is used/abused/neglected, something that most other books leave out entirely. I have little knowlage of Ch'i myself in this context, but found it a good opener for the subject and it did whet the appitite for more. Though there are better books on Bushido out there for the moral practitioner this one leands intself well to a collection as it delves into a different spirituality than most as the others spend alot of time on strict Zen principles. Of course this is xrooted in Zen and Buddhism as well, but it contains a strong influence from the Taoist schools as well, a healthy dosage to say the least as outlined in the first few pages. A good read.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Deep and cryptic 13 July 2007
By wiredweird - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Demon's Sermon comes from Japan's 17th century. Author Niwa Jurozaemon Tadaaki (writing as Issao Chozanshi) created this work on martial arts, despite a claim after the Sermon that "I am not a swordsman, so how could I teach swordsmanship?" If that is truly the author speaking, then what else in these essays should be discounted as suspect in their accuracy? And, if it's self-deprecating fiction, then what other points in these essays should also discounted as fiction? This, I think, is the least of the paradoxes within this text.

The text carries a Taoist tone, with many allusions to Taoist classics. Educated Japanese in many centuries referred often to the Chinese canon. Chozanshi's work, however, stands out for building up Chinese concepts in terms of Chinese classics, building them on a base of Japanese martial arts, folk culture, and religion. This sermon on martial arts in fact says very little about those arts - instead, it cultivates the mind, spirit, and human energy of the martial artist. The third essay in this set scarcely addresses martial arts at all. Instead, the amusing parable follows an exchange between cats on the conquest of an uncommonly fierce rat. If just a word here and there were changed, the fable would have sounded like an actual part of the Chuang Tzu.

Wilson's translation is modern and fluent. His preface and footnotes clarify many cultural referents that could otherwise have been obscure, especially regarding the demon speaker himself. Despite skilled translation, the Way of Chozanshi's text remains obscure - as if to remind a reader of any century that the Way that can be spoken is not the eternal Way.

-- wiredweird
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An interesting and informative graphic novel about the legendary Japanese tale of "The 47 Ronin." 6 Dec. 2013
By Joseph J. Truncale - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the Japanese story bout the legendary 47 Ronin (Masterless Samurai) many years ago but thought reading this graphic novel about this historical tale would be interesting to explore once again. I was not disappointed. The story is a familiar one and anyone who has read anything about Japanese history has heard this tale about how 47 Samurai avenge the death of their master, Lord Asano.

After Lord Asano had to commit seppuku (Ritual Japanese Suicide), because he struck (but did not kill) an evil, ignorant and impolite official named Lord Kira, in another Lord's castle, his Samurai decided upon revenge but they devised a secret plan so that no one would be suspicious of their true goal and objective. Each Ronin (A Masterless Samurai) completely changed their personality, some becoming drunks, some pretending to be peasants and others pretending to be garden workers. Some of these Ronin were even able to work on the grounds and inside the castle where Lord Kira lived.

Finally after two years the 47 Samurai put their plan into action and were able to avenge the death of their master. In the end to show they were indeed men of honor and followed the code of Bushido (Way of the warrior), all 47 Samurai committed seppuku. Even if you have already read the original book this graphic novel version really makes the story come alive. If you like graphic novels and Japanese Bushido (Way of the warrior) tales, you should check out this book.

Rating: 4 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: The Samurai Heart: An old warrior's poetic tribute)
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An indispensable classic of traditional Japanese culture and martial arts philosophy. 12 May 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Written by 18th-century Japanese samurai Issai Chozanshi and translated into English by William Scott Wilson, also known for his translations of "Hagakure" and "The Book of Five Rings", The Demon's Sermon On The Marital Arts is a uniquely insightful and philosophical contemplation. Presented in the format of an imagined discourse between a tengu (a mythological birdman) and an anonymous swordsman, The Demon's Sermon On The Martial Arts is much broader in scope than a simple list of strategies and maneuvers taught by assorted Japanese disciplines, extending into wisdom gleaned from Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto. The result is a guide for martial artists to perfecting the mind, rising above hesitation, indecision, or distractions, and harnessing the flow of the dynamic energy of ch'i to empower transformation. An indispensable classic of traditional Japanese culture and martial arts philosophy.
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