japan

The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi (paperback)

Miyamoto Musashi (1584‒1645) was the legendary samurai known throughout the world as a master swordsman, spiritual seeker, and author of the classic book on strategy, the Book of Five Rings. Over 350 years after his death, Musashi and his legacy still fascinate us and continue to inspire artists, authors, and filmmakers.

The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts: A Graphic Novel

A graphic novel version of this classic collection of martial arts parables, written by Issai Chozanshi, an 18-century samurai, brings these tales alive in a captivating and immediately accessible way. The stories, which feature demons, insects, birds, cats, and numerous other creatures, may seem whimsical, but they contain essential teachings that offer insight into the fundamental principles of the martial arts.

The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman (paperback)

This classic samurai-era text fused Japanese swordsmanship with Zen and influenced the direction that the art has taken ever since. Written by the seventeenth-century Zen master Takuan Soho (1573–1645), The Unfettered Mind is a book of advice on swordsmanship and the cultivation of right mind and intention. It was written as a guide for the samurai Yagyu Munenori, who was a great swordsman and rival to the legendary Miyamoto Musashi.

Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai (Hardcover)

Living and dying with bravery and honor is at the heart of Hagakure, a series of texts written by an eighteenth-century samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo. It is a window into the samurai mind, illuminating the concept of bushido (the Way of the Warrior), which dictated how samurai were expected to behave, conduct themselves, live, and die. While Hagakure was for many years a secret text known only to the warrior vassals of the Nabeshima clan to which the author belonged, it later came to be recognized as a classic exposition of samurai thought.

The Book of Five Rings (hardcover)

When the undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi retreated to a cave in 1643 and wrote The Book of Five Rings, a manifesto on swordsmanship, strategy, and winning for his students and generations of samurai to come, he created one of the most perceptive and incisive texts on strategic thinking ever to come from Asia.

The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi

The Lone Samurai is a landmark biography of Miyamoto Musashi, the legendary Japanese figure known throughout the world as a master swordsman, spiritual seeker, and author of The Book of Five Rings. With a compassionate yet critical eye, William Scott Wilson delves into the workings of Musashi's mind as the iconoclastic samurai wrestled with philosophical and spiritual ideas that are as relevant today as they were in his times.

The Flowering Spirit: Classic Teachings on the Art of Nō

"In the Fūshikaden are reflected the primordial religious sentiments of the Japanese, the poetic standards of the aristocracy, Zen Buddhist philosophy, and the warrior class ideals from one of the most creative periods in Japanese history."

—from the Introduction

The Life-Giving Sword: Secret Teachings from the House of the Shogun

This is a translation of an important classic on Zen swordfighting. Yagyu Munenori was so widely renowned that he was appointed official sword instructor to two Tokugawa shoguns. (The position was always coveted by Miyamoto Musashi, but he never succeeded in gaining the post). Yagyu's style is known as the Shinkage-ryu style, for centuries the official style of the Tokugawa dynasty. His spiritual mentor was Zen priest Takuan.

Taiko

In the tempestuous closing decades of the sixteenth century, the Empire of Japan writhes in chaos as the shogunate crumbles and rival warlords battle for supremacy. Warrior monks in their armed citadels block the road to the capital; castles are destroyed, villages plundered, fields put to the torch.

The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman

In a life-and-death situation of being sword-tip to sword-tip with the enemy, where should the swordsman put his mind?

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