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Publisher's Summary

The classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman.

Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai - without really knowing what it meant - he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed, and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying. On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive, and brings life in his own village to a standstill - until he is captured by a weaponless Zen monk.

The lovely Otsu, seeing in Musashi her ideal of manliness, frees him from his tortuous punishment, but he is recaptured and imprisoned. During three years of solitary confinement, he delves into the classics of Japan and China. When he is set free again, he rejects the position of samurai and for the next several years pursues his goal relentlessly, looking neither to the left nor to the right.

Ever so slowly it dawns on him that following the way of the sword is not simply a matter of finding a target for his brute strength. Continually striving to perfect his technique, which leads him to a unique style of fighting with two swords simultaneously, he travels far and wide, challenging fighters of many disciplines, taking nature to be his ultimate and severest teacher and undergoing the rigorous training of those who follow the way. He is supremely successful in his encounters, but in The Art of War, he perceives the way of peaceful and prosperous governance and disciplines himself to be a real human being.

He becomes a reluctant hero to a host of people whose lives he has touched and by whom he has been touched. Inevitably, he has to pit his skill against the naked blade of his greatest rival.

Musashi is a novel in the best tradition of Japanese storytelling. It is a living story, subtle and imaginative, teeming with memorable characters, many of them historical. Interweaving themes of unrequited love, misguided revenge, filial piety, and absolute dedication to the way of the samurai, it depicts vividly a world Westerners know only vaguely. Full of gusto and humor, it has an epic quality and universal appeal.

©1971 Fumiko Yoshikawa (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Musashi

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An epic work of Japanese fiction from the 1930s

This is a pretty good fictional series from the 1930s Japan, involving a character vaguely resembling the real world Musashi. The narration speed is slow, so listening at 3.05x or above is recommended.

I accidentally bought it, when I was supposed to be buying Musashi's own book (The Book of Five Rings). THAT book is freely available in audiobook form on YouTube. But since this is effectively Japanese Pulp Fiction in audio form, it makes for great casual listening. 51 hours (at 3x speed that is 17 hours) is definitely binge-friendly. I'd get it done in a week and not regret it one bit!

I knocked off a star because the book's description doesn't announce that it is a fictitious work.

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A Captivating Collection of The Life of Musashi

A phenomenal book, which bolstered by the performance of Brian Nishii brings the characters to life. Written beautifully, this long tale rewards the listener for their initial persistence, and unfolds beautifully in the final chapters. Personally, I was skeptical and worried by the length of the work, but quickly understood why it was so long. Listening to Musashi is a journey I feel everyone should embark on, as there is a lot to be learnt in observing the life of Miyamoto Musashi.
First heard of this book through a podcast by Tim Ferriss and Jocko Willink.

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Must read for anyone who seeks the way.

If you are looking to better your life. Have recently decided to work on yourself and become better everyday. If you regret your past actions and seek solace. If you need direction in life read this book. it will answer many of your question and other questions that you might not have come up with. Read this book. There are not many books that are recommended by Jocko Willink (leader of SEAL Team 3, Task Unit Bruiser; Lead Chris Kyle, Jonny Kim) and Tim Ferris. I cannot stress it Enough the book is LIFE CHANGING. Read it, listen to it and then dream about it.

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  • Loud Lemur from Latveria
  • 03-11-18

My all-time favorite book

surprised I didn't write a review before now. just finished my third reading and second listen to this book. It's simply a masterpiece. I really hope kodansha does an audiobook for Yoshikawa's Taiko as well someday

66 people found this helpful

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  • The Walking Dude
  • 11-08-19

Good Historical Novel

Musashi is a good historical novel. It recounts in great detail the life of Miyamoto Musashi the famous samurai. The story often feels as if it were cowritten by Charles Dickens and Akira Kurosawa. That’s a good thing. There’s a huge cast of interesting characters that cross paths in surprising was over many years. The path of Musashi from a young, irresponsible hothead into the great swordsman of legend is a wonderful journey to follow.

Yet in my opinion it’s about 10 hours too long. At a certain point it seemed that storylines were being recycled and tedious, irrelevant events were being given too much time. As the story ended villainous characters suddenly had magical, positive changes of heart that seemed to have more to do with a diminishing page count than an actual moral enlightenment. And much of the cast of characters don’t have a satisfying resolution to their arcs. You just don’t really know what happened to them. After fifty some hours of prose I expect to know what their fates are in some way.

I also didn’t go for the preface that pretty much denigrates a better book, Shogun, in an effort to cast this book in a positive light. You shouldn’t knock down a peer to make yourself look better.

This book is good, but it’s got problems. I would actually recommend watching the Samurai Trilogy that stars the great Toshiro Mifune that was adapted from this novel instead of reading or listening to the book as it’s a better constructed piece as a whole.

53 people found this helpful

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  • Gerardo Ruiz Jr
  • 15-09-18

A great book with a great narrator

This is one of my favorite books and was made better with the narrators performance.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Garrett J. A. Flowers
  • 10-11-18

Great story, great narrator

Such a well-written story, with so many different storylines developed and then woven together. This story provides a fascinating view into Japanese and samurai culture. 53 hours long and I was sad that it ended! The narrator is fantastic, with real feeling, seemingly authentic pronunciation of Japanese names and unique voices for nearly every character.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Brannon Burroughs
  • 27-01-20

Must listen ... especially if you liked Shogun.

The narrator is great and is great world in which to lose yourself for 50 hours.

8 people found this helpful

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  • William G. Voit
  • 16-09-19

One of the best books I have listened to

This have to be one of the best books I have listened to. Great story and the narration. Brings the story to life for me. The life of the Japanese Samurai has always intrigued me and this takes you into the day to day life and times of a Samurai plus gives you a glimpse into that time in history. Well worth the time and money for this one. Thanks so much for the work to bring it to me. Greatly appreciated.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 17-07-20

I don’t know if it’s the narrator or 7 books in one

It’s a long adventure for a samurai with basically 6 characters. Weird to have an entire world and then in every city it just so happens the same 6 characters are there. I think the fact that there is no spice of life in 50 hours the narrator starts to get old since they don’t have very many voices to do.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 15-09-18

BIG Must

this book is definitely a big must for anybody that is a fan of Japanese culture and history

5 people found this helpful

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  • Luie Guopo
  • 16-08-19

Amazing book!!!

I was so engaged throughout and the narrator did an incredible job capturing the vibe of each scene. As far as the author, words could not do this book any justice. One of the best books I’ve ever read! I’m a martial artist (*jiu Jitsu) so this book spoke to my soul! Great book!

4 people found this helpful

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  • J. Richards
  • 09-04-19

wow

Best experience so far on audible in about a year and 30+ books. Maybe the best story of all time. The voices are done perfectly.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-01-19

Wonderful and engaging story

Having read the book many years ago, I found this much more enjoyable as it moved along at a good pace. Also the pronunciation of the names was much better mine.

7 people found this helpful

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  • daniel
  • 15-01-19

epic. hugely enjoyable.

great fun, compulsive listening,
like s cross between a dubbed Kung Fu film, historical novel, and high Japanese literature,
hits so many spots.

6 people found this helpful

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  • GDS
  • 26-03-19

Epic tale of the Samurai

Epic story that once started has to be finished do not be put off by the 53hrs they will fly by.

5 people found this helpful

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  • SingAlex82
  • 13-09-18

A classic

I will always recommend this classic, over and over again. For those having a samurai spirit, this is for you

10 people found this helpful

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  • Mikhael
  • 14-05-19

everyone should read this

Although telling a story about a samurai it really is about life itself. Read it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • PETER O DRAKE
  • 11-05-19

My book of the decade

Thanks this is the best book l have had the pleasure to hear. A true delight

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ian Henley
  • 26-05-19

Find a different translation

Really disappointed I wasted a precious credit on this. The translation into English is appalling, full of cliches and lazy writing. I could not stand it and gave up after a few chapters. Shame, as I suspect the original work is well worth attention. I also found the reader's rendition of speech wholly unconvincing.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Iuri Martinez
  • 22-03-19

The best book of my life.

This book is my bible.

I’ve read it 10 years ago and decided to try the audio book version on my second time.

The story is amazing as well as the performances.

I recommend it to everyone who’s interested in a deeper understanding of life itself.

Yes. It’s a philosophy book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Ben Handley
  • 22-01-20

Americanised Japan

Very Americanised, the poor translation and reading took me out of the story. far too many modern terms and words. Disappointed as was looking forward to listening.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andy Bryce
  • 02-01-20

A wonderful listen.

Beautifully read and gives the listener a true taste of Japan during this period. One of my favourite works on the samurai and a genuine classic.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ilias
  • 08-11-18

Magnificent

Magnificently narrated! The character voices made the story incredibly enjoyable and helped me, as the reader, to easily identify who was speaking. The effort of the narator along with the magnificence and beauty of this story has forced me to give this a 5 star review. 53hours of pure enjoyment, I strongly recommend

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-06-20

what a story

An amazing story. you can lose yourself in it. grab a carton sit back .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-12-18

Well written, well translated, well performed

A fascinating story of swordsman Miyamoto Musashi set just after the Battle of Sekigahara in Japan in the early 17th century. Eiji Yoshikawa wrote the story in the 1930s, but is still able to describe the settings, culture and traditions at the time. It is a long book at over 900 pages - or 53 hours for the audiobook. The story can be divided in a number of ways - there are seven books officially - personally I view Takezo's (Musashi) development in two parts with the defining midway point being his battle against the Yoshioka school. The second half of the book as it moves towards Musashi's epic dual against Kojiro does slow down somewhat and goes on slight tangents. The "romance" between Musashi and Otsu also becomes a little annoying and almost soap opera-like after a while. Despite these it's well worth pushing through to the end.

The book beautifully translated by Charles S. Terry and there are very few signs that the prose was originally written in Japanese - a difficult task considering the difficulty of the language and the numerous historical, social and cultural peculiarities embedded in the story. Similarly, Brian Nishii does a masterful performance bringing the characters to life as well as ensuring that the Japanese names and words are properly pronounce throughout.

1 person found this helpful

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  • paul south
  • 06-04-21

inspirational

a great heavy storey . to read it and understand in its native tounge would be exceptional .

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  • Cameron
  • 17-12-20

Worth every minute

Epic story infused with wisdom a must read for a being following “the way” ... thank you ...the narrator is a master

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-10-20

Excellent book

Terrific book and very engaging and interesting reader. Thoroughly enjoy this book and would recommend to any

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  • Paul
  • 07-10-20

fantastic

read the book when I was younger. The audible version is just as good. Must listen-to audiobook.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-10-20

Excellent

Captivating story and story telling. Highly recommend to anyone interested in Japanese and Samurai culture.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-20

A compelling classic tale

A classic epic who's lessons are applicable across the ages.
Ever exciting with interesting characters who's stories and motivations you can't help but sympathise with.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-07-20

Crazy Good ^U^

Loved it!, such an easy listen with wonderful narration, it even sounded good ot 2X speed which is how I listened to the majority of it, looking forward to revisiting it <3