Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Musashi Readalong - Part 6

Readalong hosted by Jenners at Life...With Books.

Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa - translated from the Japanese by Charles S. Terry.
With a foreword by Edwin O. Reischauer.
First published 1971.

The Classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman.

The 970p volume is separated into seven different books and we're reading one for each 9 day period of the readalong.

Book 1 - Book 2 - Book 3 - Book 4 - Book 5

Book 6 - Sun and Moon

I enjoyed this book - it was shorter and had less darting off into different subplots. Most of the manin characters are in or around Edo ( Tokyo) and their activities were connecting and it was all much easier to follow.

Osugi - it must be 7 -8 years since the story began so she must be almost 70 years old by now which in the 17th century must surely have been considered a great age but nothing seems to keep this indomitable old lady from her quest for revenge. She's been conducting a most successful smear campaign against Musashi which is made even worse by his refusal to retaliate.

Musashi  is definitely older and wiser than the rash, undisciplined boy he was and rather than look for trouble he and Ioro build themselves a home outside of Edo where he concentrates on training the boy .

The Great Revelation

Iori wants to attend the dance festival at the Mitzumine Shrine and ,although reluctant ,Musashi agrees to take him.

Musashi Self Portrait

It is here that he has the 'aha' moment that would make him famous throughout the country for generations to come.
" The revelation struck like lightning. Musashi had been watching the hands of one of the drummers, weilding two short, clubshaped drumsticks. He sucked in his breath and shouted " That's it! Two swords!"
Musashi is also being considered for a position as a tutor to the shogun but a wrongful arrest for theft which lands him in jail adds more fuel to Osugi's campaign and he is refused the appointment because of unfavourable reports of his character.
" What was left unexplained was why people accepted so unquestioningly what they were told. Not just ordinary people - women gossiping around the well or laboureres drinking in cheap sake shops - but men who had the intelligence to sift fact from fabrication."
Having come to the conclusion he didn't really want the position anyway but didn't want to upset his friends and sponsors, Musashi is not at all upset about the decision.

Jotaro returns - having spent the past few years with his adoptive father, Daizo, he is rescued in the nick of time for Daizo is involved in a plot against the shogun.
Matahachi and Akemi , who have been living as man and wife, also find themselves mixed up in the plot and are very lucky to escape with their lives, suffering a severe whipping but saved from losing their heads..........thanks to Takuan.

A discovery is made that reveals Otsu is Iori's long lost sister.

Musashi decides to go away to the mountains for a few years and he leaves the care of Ioro  to Gonnosuke and a letter for his friends that ends " Indulging my chronic wanderlust, I am setting out on another journey."

One more book to go...........

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