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The Book of Five Rings: A Graphic Novelby Sean Michael Wilson
Synopses & Reviews
This manga version of The Book of Five Rings, the iconic book of confrontation and victory by the famed seventeenth-century duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi, reinvigorates the classic, making it more accessible and appealing to a wide audience. With atmospheric drawings and a distilled but faithful text adapted by acclaimed manga writer Sean Michael Wilson, The Book of Five Rings comes alive both as a guide to swordsmanship and strategy, and as a view into Musashi's world.
The Book of Five Rings is a brilliant manifesto, written not only for martial artists but for anyone who wants to apply the timeless principles of this text to their life. The text is adapted from William Scott Wilson's translation, which is faithful to the original seventeenth-century Japanese text while also being wonderfully clear and readable.
"This graphic adaptation of Musashi's 17th-centurytreatise on the martial arts makes careful, effective use of imagery to emphasize both the narrative and instructional aspects of the original text. Musashi's work is divided into five books, which address each aspect of battle: 'Earth,' 'Fire,' 'Water,' 'Wind,' and 'Emptiness.' That structure is retained here, with scripter Wilson and artist Kutsuwada finding terrific visual and dramatic hooks as background for Musashi's alternately anecdotal and didactic text. Musashi takes a rational, pragmatic approach to his subject. In discussing his two-sword fighting style, he advocates practice, not mere reading. As a practical guide, the book has limited usefulness today, but Musashi's lessons, in their focus on preparation and mindfulness, can easily be applied to most areas of life. The final chapter, 'Emptiness,' is particularly intriguing, with its Zen-like call for awareness of what we do not know as a way to avoid detrimental confusion. Kutsuwada's art is delicate and clean, balancing the physiological dynamics of swordplay with a clear-eyed appreciation of Musashi's natural environment. An engaging, thoughtful update of what could be esoteric." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
This graphic novel version of The Book of Five Rings, the iconic book of confrontation and victory by the famed seventeenth-century duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi, illuminates this brilliant manifesto, which has long inspired martial artists and anyone interested in cultivating a strategic mind. With evocative drawings and a distilled but faithful text adapted by acclaimed manga writer Sean Michael Wilson, The Book of Five Rings comes alive both as a guide to swordsmanship and strategy, and as a view into Musashi’s world.
About the Author
Miyamoto Musashi, who lived in Japan in the 1600s, was an undefeated dueler, a masterless samurai, and an independent teacher. He spent the last decades of his life refining and teaching his military science.
Sean Michael Wilson is a comic book writer who lives in Japan. He has had more than a dozen books published by a variety of US, UK, and Japanese publishers, and he often works with Japanese and Chinese artists on manga-style books, such as Hagakure and Yakuza Moon.
Chie Kutsuwada is a professional manga artist. She runs manga workshops at schools, libraries, and museums around the UK, such as the British Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum. She has written and illustrated King of a Miniature Garden (2007) and Moonlight (2007), which was shortlisted in the 2007 Manga Jiman competition. She also illustrated Hagakure (Kodansha, 2010).
William Scott Wilson is the foremost translator into English of traditional Japanese texts on samurai culture. His best-selling translations include Hagakure and The Book of Five Rings.
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