Kengo Miyamoto Musashi

Kengo Miyamoto Musashi

SOLD: sorry, this item was already purchased

Today's book shop addition is a large format art book dedicated to Miyamoto Musashi. Before I go into more details, here is the basic book information:

Title: 剣豪宮本武蔵とその周辺・書画を中心として
English title: Sword saint Miyamoto Musashi and the people around him: calligraphy and painting
Published: 2003
Condition: spotless
Selling price: 10,000 JPY (postage included)
Interested? Please email "george" at "kendo-book.com"

This large format book is split into four chapters showcasing  80 pieces of calligraphy and art related to Musashi which were brought together and exhibited in 2003.  Note that the exhibition was run, and this book published, by a calligraphy organisation.

Oh, and an important bit of extra background: the NHK Taiga Drama for 2003 was "Musashi" which meant there were Miyamoto Musashi related events all year, the exhibit mentioned here being one of them. I remember the drama well as I arrived in Japan in 2003 and watched the drama every Sunday. Well, I tried to... my Japanese was terrible at the time!

2003 NHK Taiga Drama "Musashi"

Here is more information about the contents of the book:

Chapter one: Miyamoto Musashi. It includes calligraphy and paintings by the hand of Musashi as well as art from related persons, some of whom were alive in the same period and knew him directly, and others who, though related, might not have known him directly. There are 23 items in total listed.

Chapter two: Takuan Soho. Historically, Takuan and Miyamoto almost certainly had no connection, but he did live in the same time period and did have a relationship with other famous kenshi, most notably being Yagyu Munenori. His inclusion in the art exhibit is due to the fact that the pair are strongly connected in Yoshikawa Eiji's highly popular - and highly fictionalised - account of Musashi's life (which the Taiga Drama was based on). Still, Takuan's influence on the philosophy of swordsmanship is undisputed and as such is a nice addition to the exibition. There are 25 items listed.

Chapter three: Honami Koetsu. The inclusion in the exhibit of a famed craftsman and adept calligrapher was for comparitive purposes. As mentioned above, the exhibition was run by a large calligraphy organisation and they selected a known calligrapher from about the same time to compare Musashi with. There are 22 items listed.

Chapter four: Yoshikawa Eiji. The exhibit ran on the back of the NHK Taiga Drama which itself was based on Yoshikawa's fictionlised version of Musashi's life (hence the addition of Takuan Soho in the exhibit as well). This very small chapter at the end of the book includes a small handful of pictures plus a couple of examples of Yoshikawa's calligraphy. It also includes part of the original Musashi handwritten script.

Check out some snaps below:

Various pictures of Musashi
Beautiful kanji
The book and slip case
With an iPhone SE2 for scale