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5 of 5 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 exceptional woman, 19 July 2011
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan (Tuttle Classics) (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. 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"...
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4.0 out of 5 stars telling the Story, 18 May 2014
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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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The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan (Tuttle Classics)
The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan (Tuttle Classics) by Yasushi Inoue (Paperback - 6 Dec 2005)
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