TOYO Monographs

The Real Musashi: The Bukōden

By William de Lange

 

The Bukōden was completed in 1755 by Toyoda Masanaga, senior retainer to the Nagaoka, a clan closely involved in the events of Musashi's later life. Masanaga's work ranks with the Bushū denraiki as one of the most reliable records of Musashi's life and exploits outside those from the hand of the master swordsman himself.

Now, for the first time in two-and-a-half centuries, Masanaga's insight into this enigmatic and solitary swordsman is available to the English reader. It throws a new and refreshing light on many aspects of especially Musashi's later life—his adoption of Iori, his return to Kyushu in 1634, and of course the gestation of his great work on the philosophy and art of Japanese swordsmanship, the Book of Five Rings.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things

that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor.

Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.”

 — Mark Twain

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