Monday, February 01, 2010

No. 6 - The Book of Five Rings

by Miyamoto Musashi

Translated by Ashikaga Yoshiharu and Rosemary Brant

Started: February 1
Finished: February 4

Notes: This great treatise on Japanese swordsmanship, and somewhat on philosophy in general was written by its famed samurai author nearly four hundred years ago. I've been meaning to read it for some time. I came across two different translations, each which seemed quite a bit different from the other, so I decided to read both at the same time. One of the draws to this particular version of the book is that it actually has a Japanese translator. This book has been quite popular among the American business world over the last few decades.

Mini review: This particular translation is a solid example of why I decided to read two versions of this Japanese classic. This version is almost too literal in its translation, making for awkward reading in English. Still, the basics are there, and it's interesting stuff. I'm glad I read it, because it goes well with the other, more developed, translation I'm reading., allowing me to see two slightly different angles on this book that's mainly about the mindset of sword fighting. And not ritualized sword fighting as a sport, but sword fighting for survival, in war and duels.

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