Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵)

Musashi MIYAMOTO (1584? – June 13, 1645) was a master of the sword during the early Edo period. He was a heihoka (tactician) and also a celebrated artist in calligraphy and painting.


He developed the Niten Ichi-ryu Heiho (Niten Ichi-ryu School of Art of Warfare) in which the swordsmanship style is well known for using two swords. He is quite famous as a master of ink-wash painting and crafts as well. His original family name was Fujiwara, real name was Harunobu, and he called himself Musashi MIYAMOTO or Musashi SHINMEN. When he was a child (until about age fourteen), he was called Bennosuke (written as '辨助' or '弁助' or '弁之助', pronunciation is the same), and later he also called himself Niten or Niten Doraku. In his book "Gorin no sho" (The Book of Five Rings), he signed as "Shinmen Musashi no kami, Fujiwara Harunobu."

At present there remain a few letters which are confirmed being in his handwriting; his letter to Naozumi ARIMA and to Okinaga MATSUI are signed as "Miyamoto Musashi Harunobu," and another letter to Sado no kami (Governor of Sado Province) Nagaoka signed as "Niten." On Musashi's tombstone in Yuge (Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture) is written "Shinmen Musashi Koji" ('Koji' is a title for the man who devotes himself to Buddhism without becoming a priest); on the stone monument in Kokura (Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture) "Shinmen Musashi Harunobu Niten Koji-Hi" (known as "Kokura Hibun"), which Musashi's adopted son Iori (Sadatsugu MIYAMOTO) erected nine years after Musashi had died, is written "Banshu Akamatsu-matsuryu Shinmen Musashi Harunobu Niten Koji" ('Banshu' is old Harima Province, 'Akamatsu-matsuryu' means 'originates from the Akamatsu clan').
The book, "Honcho Bugei Shoden" (Short Stories of Japanese Masters of Martial Arts), which was written in 1716 (seventy years after Musashi had died), says that Musashi's real name was 'Masana.'
Since some of his ancestries, biographies and memorials quoted that information, at present there are many novels and trade books introducing Musashi's real name as 'Masana,' however, that information is not found in any materials of Niten Ichi-ryu School, nor of the Miyamoto family in Kokura. Some historians completely deny the information about 'Masana,' since that name is often found in unreliable materials including ancestries.

Musashi's fights with Yoshioka School of Heiho (art of warfare) and the duel at Ganryu-jima Island (Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture) have been very famous and adapted to many novels, costume movies, and costume TV dramas. His book "Gorin no sho" is still read by many people not only in Japan but also all over the world through many translations and it has broad influence as a philosophical essay about life or as instruction on business and sports. His painting "U-zu" (Cormorant), "Koboku Meigeki-zu" (Shrike on a Withered Branch) and "Kobai Hato-zu" (Pigeon on a Red Japanese Apricot) are designated as important cultural properties of the country, and there remain his other great works of ink-wash painting such as "Shomen Daruma-zu" (Bodhidharma Facing Us), "Royo Daruma-zu" (Bodhidharma by Reed Leaf), "Rogan-zu Byobu" (Folding Screen of 'Goose by Reed Leaf'), "Yaba-zu" (Wild Horse), and craft including a saddle and a wooden sword.

Musashi's date of birth

At the opening of "Gorin no sho," Musashi mentioned his age as "I have already lived many years and now I'm sixty years old," so if it were exact 'sixty,' he was fifty-nine years old in 1643 when the book was written (in the past, age of 0 was counted as age of 1), therefore, presumably, he was born in 1584.

Musashi's birthplace

According to "Gorin no sho," he was born in Harima Province (present Hyogo Prefecture).

Note: "Tosaku-shi" (Topography of East Mimasaka Province), written in the late Edo period, explains that Musashi's birthplace was Mimasaka Province (present Okayama Prefecture), and since Eiji YOSHIKAWA wrote the novel "Miyamoto Musashi" using information about the topography, Mimasaka became famous as Musashi's birthplace, what's more, Okayama Prefecture and Mimasaka City (previous Ohara-cho, Okayama Prefecture) are encouraging the development of tourist attractions.

Opinions on Musashi's date of birth, his birthplace, and his family

"Kokura Miyamoto Kakei-zu" is the genealogy of the Miyamoto family in Kokura, written by a descendant of Iori (Musashi's adopted son) before 1846 (in the late Edo period); "Miyamoto-shi Seito-ki" is another genealogy of the Miyamoto family, claiming that Musashi was the original patriarch of the Miyamoto; each material explains that Musashi was born in 1582 and died at the age of sixty-four in 1645, therefore some historians consider that Musashi was born in 1582, not in 1584.

According to the inscription of the stone monument "Shinmen Musashi Harunobu Niten Koji-Hi" ("Kokura Hibun") written by Iori in 1654 (nine years after Musashi had died), Musashi's father was a heihoka (tactician), Muni SHINMEN. Some historians consider that Muni was identical with Muninosuke MIYAMOTO (Kazuma FUJIWARA) who had been famous as the master of Tori-ryu School, contemporary with Muni. In the inscription of "Tomari Jinja Munefuda" (Plaque on Tomari-jinja Shrine), Iori explains Musashi's origin as the Shinmen clan had been prospering in Sakushu (Mimasaka Province), however, in the Tensho era, the head of the clan died in Akizuki-jo Castle of Chikuzen Province without leaving his heir, then by his will, Harunobu was adopted into the Shinmen clan as their heir, since then, Harunobu called himself Musashi;" some historians consider that the head of the Shinmen (神免) in the inscription is identical with Muni SHINMEN (新免) and Musashi was adapted to Muni (kanji character was often used in substitution for other kanji characters which had the same pronunciation); however, that opinion is doubtful since Muni had been alive after the Tensho era (1573-1592).

The information from Iori is often believed as historical fact, because Iori is considered to have known Musashi well while he had been alive. However, such materials are not completely reliable, since the sources on which Iori used aren't confirmed and how deeply he knew Musashi is doubtful as well, besides, some information by Iori are considered to be in error, because they are completely deferent from information available in other materials. In addition, Iori exaggerated some information to praise Musashi.

"Kokura Miyamoto Kakei-zu," written during the late Edo period, explains Musashi's origin as "he was adopted into Muninosuke SHINMEN," therefore, some historians consider that Muni was Musashi's adoptive father. According to legend, the Shinmen family had been prospering in Mimasaka Province (present Okayama Prefecture) and Muni called himself Shinmen first. "Kokura Miyamoto Kakei-zu" explains that Musashi was the second son of Iesada TABARU (Iori's grandfather), however, that information isn't found in "Tomari Jinja Munefuda," nor in "Kokura Hibun" (both written by Iori). "Harima Kagami" (History of Harima Province), written by Yoshu HIRANO during the middle of the Edo period, lists much information on Musashi and Iori, however, it doesn't mention that Musashi was from the Tabaru family.

Note: Some material, including "Tosaku-shi," say that Musashi's father was Muni HIRATA and some historians follow that information, however, Muni HIRATA died before Musashi was born. Other information from such material is also completely different from information of other materials, so such material are considered as unreliable for historical studies.

Musashi as a heihoka (tactician) and a bushi (swordsman)

According to "Gorin no sho," at the age of thirteen, Musashi fought his first duel with Kihei ARIMA of Shinto-ryu School and beat him; at the age of sixteen, he beat a strong heihoka, Akiyama from Tajima Province; until the age of twenty-nine, he fought over sixty times and beat every opponent.

In the past, it had been said that he fought in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) for the Western army (the Toyotomi forces), because the Shinmen clan, which Muni SHINMEN (Musashi's father) had served once, fought under Hideie UKITA of the Western army; however, according to "Kuroda-han Bugencho" (The Register of the Kuroda Clan), since before the battle, Muni had served the Kuroda family which had governed Buzen Province (the information is found in the article of 1602 and 1604 of the register), therefore, presumably, in the battle Muni and Musashi fought for the Eastern army (the Tokugawa forces) following Yoshitaka KURODA (Josui KURODA) in Kyushu region. A vassal of the Kuroda family, Minehira TACHIBANA (Hokin TANJI) adapted the information of "Kuroda-han Bugencho" for a Musashi's biography "Heiho Taiso Bushu Genshin-ko Denrai" (Biography of Marvelous Patriarch of Art of Warfare, Esquire Musashi Harunobu) which is also known as "Tanji Hokin Hikki" and "Bushu Denrai-ki;" according to the book, at the Battle of Sekigahara, Musashi served Josui KURODA and fought in Ishigakibaru of Bungo Province (present Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, Kyushu region) against the squad led by Yoshimune OTOMO of the Western army; the book also describes Musashi's anecdotes at the departure and at the attack of Tomiku-jo Castle.

In "Gorin no sho," Musashi mentioned his fights in his youth as "I went to Kyoto at the age of twenty-one and met the strongest heihoka (tactician) in Japan, I fought with them several times and I had never been beaten." If Musashi was born in 1584, it is considered that he went to Kyoto in 1604. The strongest heihoka in Japan' ("Tenka no Heihosha") is considered to be identical with 'the strongest heihoka in Japan, Yoshioka' ("Fuso Daiichi no Heijutsu Yoshioka") in the inscription of "Kokura Hibun," and that 'Yoshioka' is considered to be Yoshioka School of Heiho (art of warfare). The fights with the Yoshioka have been very famous and adapted to many novels and other entertainment.

However, the most famous fight is the duel at Ganryu-jima Island ('Ganryu-jima no Ketto'). In those days, Ganryu-jima Island (located in the Kanmon Strait) was called Funa-shima Island (literally, 'boat island') and belonged to the Kokura Domain of Buzen Province (at present, it belongs to Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture); at the island, Musashi fought with a heihoka, Kojiro SASAKI in the Keicho era (1596-1615).

In the past, it had been said that Musashi fought in the Siege of Osaka (1614-1615) for the Toyotomi forces, however, that opinion is invalid and unreliable. According to various reliable materials, at the Siege of Osaka, he was invited by Katsunari MIZUNO as an honored guest, and served Katsunari's oldest son Katsusige MIZUNO (later changed his name to Katsutoshi) and played a very active part in the Tokugawa forces (the enemy of the Toyotomi forces).

After the siege, he continued showing remarkable aptitude in heiho and art, under the protection of the lord of Himeji-jo Castle, Tadatoki HONDA. In Akashi (present Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture), he was involved in a project of dividing the land of the city ('machiwari') for land development, and several projects that was concerned with making gardens ('sakutei') for Himeji-jo Castle, Akashi-jo Castle, and other castles and temples. According to a book "Kaijo Monogatari" (the Kaijo Story), during his years in Akashi, Musashi fought with Gonnosuke MUSO, the patriarch of Shinto Muso-ryu School of Jo-jutsu (art of using a stick as a weapon). According to Musashi's famous biography "Niten-ki," he fought with Gonnosuke in Edo, however, the information on the fight isn't found in the other Musashi biography "Buko-den" on which the writer of "Niten-ki" is based.

In the early Genna era (Japan, 1615-1624), Musashi adopted Mikinosuke MIYAMOTO, the third son of Shimanosuke NAKAGAWA (a vassal of the Mizuno family), and let him serve the lord of Himeji-jo Castle, Tadatoki HONDA, however, Mikinosuke committed suicide as a loyal samurai following Tadatoki's death in 1626. Soon after that, the younger brother of Mikinosuke became the heir to the Miyamoto family, and in the same year Musashi adopted Sadatsugu MIYAMOTO, the second son of Hisamitsu TABARU (one of the strong governors of Harima Province); Sadatsugu called himself Iori, and by order of Musashi, he served the lord of Akashi-jo Castle, Tadazane OGASAWARA. Surprisingly, Iori became one of the Karo (chief retainers) of the Ogasawara family at the age of twenty in 1631.

In the Shimabara War in 1638, Iori went to the front following Tadazane OGASAWARA (by that time, he had become the lord of Kokura-jo Castle), and Musashi went to the front too, as the tutor of the lord of Nakatsu-jo Castle, Nagatsugu OGASAWARA (a nephew of Tadazane). After the war, Musashi wrote a letter to the lord of Nobeoka-jo Castle, Naozumi ARIMA, and said "I was also hit by rocks thrown (by the rebel militia) and almost was seriously wounded on the shin." According to legend, during his stay in Kokura (presently Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture), on orders of Tadazane, Musashi fought with Yoshitsugu TAKADA of Hozoin-ryu School of So-jutsu (art of using a spear).

In 1640, he was invited as an honored guest by the lord of Kumamoto-jo Castle, Tadatoshi HOSOKAWA, and moved to Kumamoto (present Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture). In Kumamoto, he was treated incredibly well as a guest (without becoming a vassal); he was given a rice stipend of sichi-nin fuchi eighteen koku (3.25 cubic meters, equivalent of an annual rice stipend for seven vassals), goryokumai (rice given to help the poor) 300 koku (54.12 cubic meters), and a residence in Chiba-jo Castle (east of Kumamoto-jo Castle), what's more, he was allowed to practice falconry which usually only vassals in the status over Karo (chief retainer) were allowed to do.

He was even invited by Tadatoshi to Yamaga-onsen Hot Springs; Dokan ASHIKAGA was also invited at the same time, he was a guest as well and known as a surviving child of Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA (the thirteenth shogun of the Muromachi Bakufu). In the next year Tadatoshi died suddenly, however, Musashi had kept being treated well as an honored guest by the second head of the clan, Mitsunao HOSOKAWA, and given goryokumai 300 koku every year. Musashi's biography "Buko-den" describes his popularity in Kumamoto "according to Shisui (Gengozaemon YAMAMOTO, a direct disciple of Musashi), over a thousand swordsmen, including the Lord, of course, NAGAOKA Shikibu Yoriyuki, SAWAMURA Uemon Tomoyoshi, vassals, secretaries, vassals of other clans, guest retainers and statesmen in lower position, from all over the Higo Province (present Kumamoto Prefecture), came and entered Musashi's school." His paintings and crafts remain that were made during his spare time in Kumamoto.

In 1643, Musashi began to write "Gorin no sho" in Reigan-do Cave on Iwato at Mt. Kinbo (Mt. Kinpo, near to Kumamoto City). A few days before he died, he gave "Gorin no sho" and "Dokkodo" (The Way of Walking Alone) which is also called "Jisei-sho" (the document of the oath) to one of his disciples Magonojo TERAO.

On June 13, 1645, Musashi died in his residence in Chiba-jo Castle.
His tombstone was erected at Yuge of Kumamoto City and it is called 'Musashi-Zuka.'
Later, his adopted son Iori erected a stone monument "Shinmen Musashi Harunobu Niten Koji-Hi" in Mt. Tamuke in Kitakyushu City; it is called "Kokura Hibun" and regarded as one of the oldest records on Musashi.

At first, Musashi called his swordsmanship style of heiho (art of warfare) 'Enmei-ryu' ('Enmyo-ryu'), however, in "Gorin no sho," he called it 'Nito Ichi-ryu' or 'Niten Ichi-ryu,' and 'Niten Ichi-ryu' is considered to have been fixed at last. Later some people call it 'Musashi-ryu' and other nicknames. Magonojo TERAO and his younger brother Kumanosuke (Motomenosuke) were Musashi's disciples in Kumamoto and demonstrated great ability in familiarizing Niten Ichi-ryu Heiho in the Kumamoto domain of Higo Province. One of Magonojo's disciples Sanzaemon SHIBATO instructed the Kuroda family of the Fukuoka domain in Niten Ichi-ryu Heiho.

The Yoshioka family and school

In "Gorin no sho," Musashi mentioned his fights in his youth as "I went to Kyoto at the age of twenty-one and met the strongest heihoka (tactician) in Japan, I fought with them several times and I had never been beaten." If Musashi was born in 1584, it is considered that he went to Kyoto in 1604. The strongest heihoka in Japan' is considered to be identical with 'the strongest heihoka in Japan, Yoshioka' in the inscription of "Shinmen Musashi Harunobu Niten Koji-Hi" ("Kokura Hibun"), and that 'Yoshioka' is considered to be the Yoshioka School of Heiho (art of warfare).

Following is a summary of a fight scene written in "Kokura Hibun" by Musashi's adopted son Iori in 1654.

Musashi went to Kyoto and fought with the Yoshioka known as the strongest heihoka in Japan.

He fought the first fight at Rendaino, outside of Kyoto City with Seijuro YOSHIOKA, the successor to the Yoshioka family and school. He beat Seijuro with only one strike of his wooden sword.

In advance he had promised to put the fight away with one strike, so he didn't take the opponent's life. Seijuro was carried back home on a board by his disciples, and following recovery, he quit teaching heiho and became a monk.

Musashi fought the next fight with Denshichiro YOSHIOKA outside Kyoto City. He took a long wooden sword (150 centimeters length) away from Denshichiro's hands and struck him down. Denshichiro died.

The disciples of the Yoshioka thought that they could never beat Musashi by the proper way of heiho, so planned to call Musashi to Sagarimatsu, outside of Kyoto City, in the name of the next fight with Matashichiro YOSHIOKA; Matashichiro and hundreds of disciples armed with bows and other weapons, and waited for Musashi to attack and kill him. Musashi noticed their plan, however, he ordered his disciples to just watch and not to touch any weapon, and he faced the opponents and beat them on his own.

Yoshioka had served the shogun family as instructor for generations and had been called 'Fuso Daiichi no Heijutsusha' (the strongest heihoka in Japan).

In the past, the fifteenth shogun of the Muromachi Bakufu, Yoshiaki ASHIKAGA (reigned 1568-1573) ordered Muni SHINMEN (Musashi's father) to fight with a member of the Yoshioka. Following the rules, they fought three times, and Yoshioka won one time and Muni won two times. Then, Muni was given the title of 'Hinomoto Narabinaki Heihojutsusha' (or 'Hinoshita Muso Heihojutsusha', the strongest heihoka in Japan).

By that fatality and for other reasons, Musashi had to go to Kyoto and fight with the Yoshioka.

Following the fights with Musashi, Yoshioka School of Heiho came to fall.

In the materials by Iori MIYAMOTO including "Kokura Hibun" are found many errors and exaggerations for honoring Musashi. In the materials by the Yoshioka family, there is no information on Seijuro's defeat or retirement, Denshichiro's death, nor the last fight at Sagarimatsu, therefore, the fights might be fabrications. Besides, it is considered to be quite unrealistic that Musashi beat hundreds of swordsmen armed with swords, spears, naginata (Japanese halberd), bows and other weapons, on his own. In other materials, information of the fight between Muni and the Yoshioka in front of the shogun is not found, therefore, that anecdote might be a fabrication as well which Iori or someone came up with for enhancing the story by involving the shogun family.

In "Yoshioka-den" (Biography of the Yoshioka), written by Doyu Fukuzumi in 1684, is found another version of the fights between Musashi and the Yoshioka. The writer, Doyu left other biographies including "Ukita-den" (Biography of the Ukita clan).
According to "Yoshioka-den," 'Musashi MIYAMOTO' was a vassal of Tadanao MATSUDAIRA, he was famous in the Hokuriku and Ou regions as a master of using two swords, and called his style 'Muteki-ryu;' he fought with two swordsmen of the Yoshioka, 'Genzaemon Naotsuna YOSHIOKA' and 'Mataichi Naoshige YOSHIOKA.'
That book doesn't mention anything about the fight at Sagarimatsu. The description of the fights is very different from the description in 'Kokura Hibun,' therefore, it is difficult to simply assume that 'Naotsuna' and 'Naoshige' in "Yoshioka-den" are identical with 'Seijuro' and 'Denshichiro' in "Kokura Hibun." Following is the summery of the fight scene written in "Yoshioka-den."

Musashi fought with Genzaemon Naotsuna and bled badly from cuts on the forehead, so some umpires judged Naotsuna had won and some umpires judged it should be a draw. Although Naotsuna asked to fight again, Musashi rejected it and he asked to fight with Mataichi Naoshige. However, facing Naoshige, Musashi ran away without fighting, therefore, Naoshige was judged to win.

That is the oldest record which claims that the fight between Musashi and the Yoshioka ended in a draw.

However, "Yoshioka-den" ranks Musashi with two mysterious swordsmen, 'Santoku ASAYAMA' and 'Rinsai KASHIMA' (materials on which the writer based are unconfirmed), and the explanation of Musashi's states and the name of his style are very different from the facts as well, except for using two swords, therefore, the fights in "Yoshioka-den" might be fabrication too. Since in the Showa era a famous writer, Ryotaro SHIBA used "Yoshioka-den" as a material to write "Shinsetsu Miyamoto Musashi" (The True Story of Musashi MIYAMOTO), "Yoshioka-den" became famous and it is often mentioned as an important record by the Yoshioka against records by the Musashi.

Some people are still saying that the fight between Musashi and Yoshioka ended in a draw.

"Honcho Bugei Shoden" (Short Stories of Japanese Masters of Martial Arts), written by Shigetaka HINATSU in 1716, lists many anecdotes of swordsmen including two versions of drawn games between Musashi and the Yoshioka.

"Koro Sawa" (Old Man's Tea Talk), which was written by Ei KASHIWAZAKI in the 1740's, lists folklore including a version of the drawn game between Musashi and 'Kanefusa YOSHIOKA.'

An instructor of Niten Ichi-ryu in the Kuroda domain, Minehira TACHIBANA (Hokin TANJI) wrote a Musashi's biography "Heiho Taiso Bushu Genshin-ko Denrai" (Biography of Marvelous Patriarch of Art of Warfare, Esquire Musashi Harunobu), and in that book a legend is found about Musashi's fights with the Yoshioka as well. Following is a summary of the fight scene written in "Heiho Taiso Bushu Genshin-ko Denrai."

The day of the fight, Musashi sent a message rejecting the fight because of his illness, however, Seijuro YOSHIOKA requested him to come to fight again and again.

Finally Musashi arrived at the place in a bamboo palanquin; Seijuro came near to the palanquin to ask his condition, then suddenly Musashi struck him down with a wooden sword.

Seijuro recovered from injury, however, he abandoned heiho and became a monk.

At the next fight, outside Kyoto City, Denshichiro faced Musashi with a long wooden sword (150 centimeters length); Musashi took the wooden sword and struck him down dead.

At a final fight, Matashichiro gathered hundreds of disciples of the Yoshioka, armed with spears, naginata (Japanese halberd) and bows, and went to Sagarimatsu, outside of Kyoto City.

Musashi went to the place with over ten disciples as well; seeing the enemy, one of the young disciples stepped forward to guard Musashi and was hit with arrows.

Then Musashi ordered disciples to withdraw, and he followed them fighting against the hundreds of the enemy.

Musashi ran into a temple and ran from one temple to another temple until the enemy lost sight of him.

Yoriki Doshin (police sergeant and lower police officers) rushed to the site and finally suppressed the swordsmen.

Because of this incident, the Yoshioka family and school ended.

"Heiho Taiso Bushu Genshin-ko Denrai" quotes the complete inscription of "Kokura Hibun," so presumably, the writer, Minehira TACHIBANA based on "Kokura Hibun" and added other legends to it to develop the story. Minehira is also known as the writer who took part in writing a tea book "Nanboroku" ("Nanporoku," Record of Nanbo's Remarks). Toyotaka KOMIYA, an essayist of literature in the Meiji era, doubted some matters in "Nanboroku" and regarded it as a fabrication. Therefore some historians consider the description of "Heiho Taiso Bushu Genshin-ko Denrai" is a fabrication as well.

Masanao TOYOTA, another instructor of Niten Ichi-ryu and a vassal of the Matsui clan who had served the Hosokawa family as Hitto karo (the head of chief retainers), wrote the Musashi biography "Buko-den" in 1755, and recorded tales by Musashi's direct disciples, which Masatake TOYOTA (Masanao's father) had gathered before. That book describes the fight at Sagarimatsu, which was based on the tale that Kakuzaemon DOKE heard directly from Musashi. According to that, Musashi stopped his disciples who tried to follow him, because a fight between groups was against the law.

In the previous fights, Musashi had beat Seijuro and Denshichiro taking advantage of his own lateness, so he planned to go to the place ahead of the opponent this time.

On the way to Sagarimatsu, he saw Hachiman-sha Shrine; although he had never prayed to win, for a moment he thought to try it for change; however, he didn't do it after all.

In the evening, he arrived earlier at Sagarimatsu (literally, 'spreading pine') and hid under a pine tree.

After a while, Matashichiro, the son of Seijuro, arrived with dozens of disciples.

Then Musashi jumped out from under the pine, exclaiming "I've been waiting for you--Got you!" ("Musashi machietari"), and instantly slashed Matashichiro to the death.

The Yoshioka's disciples pulled out their swords too and shot arrows with short bows; an arrow pierced Musashi's sleeve, however, Musashi went on wielding his sword, so the Yoshioka's disciples were dismayed and ran away in all directions; then Musashi ended the fight with victory.

This anecdote had been told among disciples of Niten Ichi-ryu in the Hosokawa domain as a fact which Musashi had often spoke about while he had been alive; Masanao TOYOTA recorded it in "Buko-den."

"Buko-den" lists another tale by Kakuzaemon; according to that, at a dinner party of a first lesson of Yokyoku (Noh song) of year, Hoki no Kami (Governor of Hoki Province) Shimizu asked Musashi "I heard that at the fight of some years ago with Seijuro YOSHIOKA, Yoshioka had beaten you first, was that a fact?" and Musashi denied it. "Buko-den" explains that in his later years, Musashi often told his disciples that he had beaten the Yoshioka; however, when he was alive, some people might have been already saying that the Yoshioka had beaten Musashi.

Masanao's son Kagehide TOYOTA adapted his father's work "Buko-den" for "Niten-ki;" later, in 1909, Miyamoto Musashi Iseki Kenshokai (the association in honor to the accomplishments of Musashi MIYAMOTO) of Kumamoto Prefecture regarded the descriptions in "Niten-ki" as historical facts and based on that to write "Miyamoto Musashi" (called "Kenshokai-bon"); in addition, Eiji YOSHIKAWA wrote a novel "Miyamoto Musashi" (1935-1939) based on the information of "Kenshokai-bon;"therefore, the stories written in "Niten-ki" became famous.

However, some tales have errors; for example, "Buko-den," "Kokura Hibun" and "Heiho Taiso Bushu Genshin-ko Denrai" claim that the Yoshioka ended due to the defeat at the fights with Musashi, however, according to other materials including "Suruga Koji-roku" (Old Record of Suruga Province), Yoshioka existed after the incident. In 1614, at a Sarugaku Performance in the Imperial Palace (in those days people were permitted to enter), 'Kiyojiro Shigekata YOSHIOKA (Kenpo YOSHIOKA)' had a fight with the security guards and was killed, and as a result, the Yoshioka School of Heiho ended; considering that information, the Yoshioka had still existed after the fights with Musashi (1604).

"Honcho Bugei Shoden" describes another version of the incident at the Sarugaku Performance; according to that, although 'Matasaburo Kanefusa YOSHIOKA' had a fight with the security guards, other members of the Yoshioka present at the site didn't take any steps to help Matasaburo, therefore, Shoshidai (Representative of governor of the board of retainers) Katsusige ITAKURA didn't blame Yoshioka family. If that account were true, the Yoshioka would still exist not only after the fights with Musashi, but also after the incident at the Sarugaku Performance.

"Yoshioka-den" describes another version; 'Kiyojiro Shigekata YOSHIOKA' had a fight, therefore, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA forbade the Yoshioka to teach Yoshioka Heiho, however, the Yoshioka family escaped the punishment of destruction. And in the Siege of Osaka of the next year, 'Genzaemon Naotsuna YOSHIOKA' and his brother 'Mataichi Naoshige YOSHIOKA' held the Osaka-jo Castle for the Toyotomi forces; following the falling of the castle, brothers went back to Nishinotoin of Kyoto and began a dyeing business; if that were true, again, the Yoshioka didn't end at the fights with Musashi nor at the incident of the Sarugaku Performance.

Following are parallels of the materials.

Ganryu-jima Island

Musashi's most famous fight is the duel at Ganryu-jima Island ('Ganryu-jima no Ketto'). In those days, Ganryu-jima Island (located at the Kanmon Strait) was called Funa-shima Island (literally, 'boat island') and belonged to the Kokura Domain of Buzen Province (at present, it belongs to Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture); at the island, Musashi fought with a heihoka (tactician), Ganryu, in the Keicho era (1596-1615).

Note: Because of the influence of some plays, 'Ganryu' is sometimes called 'Sasaki Kojiro,' however, the information on the plays is invalid. Ganryu' (岩流) is also written as '巌流', '岸流', '岸柳' and '岩龍' (pronunciation are the same) and the changing of kanji characters means nothing (kanji characters were often used in the substitute for other kanji characters which had the same pronunciation).

The oldest record on the fight is "Shinmen Musashi Harunobu Niten Koji-Hi" ("Kokura Hibun") written by Musashi's adopted son Iori in 1654; the following is the fight scene written in "Kokura Hibun"
There was a master of heiho (art of warfare), he called himself Ganryu. Musashi requested him to fight with him. Ganryu said: "I request that we fight with real swords." Musashi replied: "You take advantage of sword to show me the ultimate, while I would wield my wooden sword to show you this mysterious power." They plighted their promise. There was an island on the sea between Nagato Province and Buzen Province. People called it Funa-shina. Two heroes arrived at the island at the same time. Ganryu wield his marvelous long sword of san-shaku (ninety centimeters length) and displayed all his magnificent technique for his life. Musashi killed him with one strike of his wooden sword. His movement was faster than lightning. People called Funa-shima 'Ganryu-jima' ever afterward. The original is written in a style of classical Chinese.

The next oldest record on the fight is "Numatake-ki" (The Record of the Numata family) which was written in 1672 by a descendant of Nobumoto NUMATA who had been Jodai (keeper of castle) of Moji-jo Castle when the fight had been carried out; the book was recently re-discovered and is attracting historians' attention; the following is the fight scene written in "Numatake-ki."

When Sir. Nobumoto had been in Moji City, Musashi Harunobu MIYAMOTO came to Buzen Province and instructed people in the art of Nito Heiho (his Niten Ichi-ryu Art of Warfare), in those days, Kojiro also instructed people in the art of Ganryu Heiho. The disciples of the two schools requested a decision on which school was stronger, so Musashi and Kojiro discussed it and promised to fight by the rules of heiho, and they faced each other at an island between Buzen Province and Nagato Province. Without interruption from the disciples as promised in advance, the two carried the fight, and Kojiro was struck down. Kojiro hadn't brought even one disciple, although Musashi had brought disciples who hid during the fight. A while after the fight, Kojiro came back to life, however, Musashi's disciples beat him to the death.
The news of the incident spread quickly to Kokura City and Kojiro's disciples went to the island in full strength to kill Musashi
Musashi ran away to Moji City and desperately asked Sir. Nobumoto to protect him; he was fortunately permitted to stay in Moji-jo Castle without worry, and later sent to Bungo Province. Upon his departure to Bungo, a horse-rider Sannojo ISHII and swordsmen armed with guns were ordered to protect Musashi on the way, however, nothing serious happened, and Musashi was sent to his father Muni in Bungo.

Following is the summery.

Musashi Harunobu MIYAMOTO came to Buzen and became an instructor of Nito Heiho. Before Musashi came, Kojiro had been already been instructing people in Ganryu Heiho.

In order to solve quarrels between the disciples, Musashi and Kojiro promised to fight and not to bring disciples to the place.

In the fight, Kojiro was defeated.

Kojiro had kept the promise and hadn't brought any disciples, while Musashi's disciples had come to the island and hid.

In the fight, Kojiro passed out, and after he woke up, Musashi's disciples beat him to the death.

Kojiro's disciples heard that and went to the island to avenge Musashi. Musashi ran away to Moji and sought shelter at Jodai Nobumoto NUMATA.

Nobumoto NUMATA protected Musashi in Moji-jo Castle and later sent him to his father, Muni in Bungo, safely with guard armed with guns.

There are opinions on where in Bungo Province Musashi was sent.

Kitsuki of Bungo Province had belonged to the Hosokawa family, and during the Keicho era (1596-1615), Yasuyuki MATSUI and Okinaga MATSUI had served as Jodai (keeper of castle) of Kitsuki-jo Castle. A certificate remains of the Tori-ryu School that 'Miyamoto Muninosuke Fujiwara Kazuma' gave a vassal of the Hosokawa family, Kanjuro TOMOOKA (in the original, Muninosuke '無二助' is written as '无二助', '无' is the same kanji character as '無'); if 'Muninosuke MIYAMOTO' were identical with 'Muni SHINMEN' (Musashi's father, according to "Kokura Hibun"), Muni is considered to have known the Hosokawa family before the duel. As stated above, Muni SHINMEN had been a vassal of the Kuroda family at the Battle of Sekigahara of 1600. In the battle, for the Eastern army, Josui KURODA (Yoshitaka KURODA) succeeded in assisting Yasuyuki MATSUI in defending Kitsuki-jo Castle of the Hosokawa family. Presumably, at that occasion, Muni and the Matsui family knew each other. Besides, in his later years, Musashi had been enjoying a good friendship with the Matsui family, so Musashi might have known the Matsui family before the duel, and for the family's help, he might have been sent to Muni in Kitsuki.

In other material, Nobutoshi KINOSHITA's "Keicho Juhachi-nen Nikki" (Diary of 1613) is found 'Muni' who had served Nobutoshi; Nobutoshi was a brother-in-law of Tadaoki HOSHOKAWA and the lord of Hiji-jo Castle at that time. According to the appendix of "Taira-sei Sugiwara-shi Onkeizu" (Genealogy of the Sugiwara Clan Originating from the Taira Family) written in 1751 by Karo (chief retainer) of Hiji domain, Masatsune SUGANUMA, 'Nobutoshi KINOSHITA' was instructed by 'Munisai MIYAMOTO' in the art of the sword. If 'Muni' in Nobutoshi's diary and 'Munisai MIYAMOTO' in the article of the genealogy were identical with Musashi's father Muni SHINMEN, considering the description in "Numatake-ki," Muni might have been in Hiji, Bungo Province and Musashi might have been sent to Hiji.

"Honcho Bugei Shoden" (Short Stories of Japanese Masters of Martial Arts), written in 1716, lists many anecdotes of swordsmen including a tale about the duel on Ganryu-jima Island; the tale in question was told by Morikazu Juroemon NAKAMURA, a vassal of Tadahide MATSUDAIRA of the Amagasaki clan; according to that, like the description of "Numatake-ki," Musashi went to Funa-shima Island with many followers while Ganryu went by himself.

A geographer in the Edo period, Koshoken FURUKAWA wrote an account of his trip to the Kyushu region, "Saiyu Zakki" in 1783, contemporary of "Niten-ki" by Kagehide TOYOTA. In Shimonoseki, he heard folklore about the duel at Ganryu-jima Island and recorded it in a book. That is unreliable as a historical fact because it was a record of folklore told by people over a hundred years after the duel, however, the description is quite similar to the description in "Numatake-ki" which was re-discovered recently and regarded as reliable material. The following is the scene of the duel written in "Saiyu Zakki."

In the past, Ganryu-jima had been called Funa-shima; a master of the sword, Musashi MIYAMOTO and Ganryu SASAKI had an argument over the art of warfare, they carried out a fight of art of sword at the island, and Ganryu was struck to the death by Miyamoto. A related man erected a tomb for Ganryu, and local people have called the island 'Ganryu-jima Island' ever since.

In Akamagaseki (Shimonoseki), I (Koshoken) heard a tale about the fight from the local people, and it was different from most descriptions in books I had read.

According to that, Ganryu promised a fight with Musashi, and when he was about to cross to Funa-shima Island from Isaki, local men stopped him.

They said: "Just now Musashi went over to Funa-shima with many disciples, you won't be able to beat all of them by yourself, please go back, sir."

However, Ganryu didn't listen to the advice and took a boat to Funa-shima Island.

He said to the men: "Bushi does not change his word, I plighted my promise, if I don't go today, I would be ashamed as a bushi, if Musashi is trying to beat me with many followers, he should be ashamed of his behavior."

As the men had said, Musashi was waiting for him with his disciples and four disciples assisted Musashi in the fight, at last Ganryu was killed.

Later, the men, who had stopped Ganryu at the cove, respected his morality and erected his tomb, people have called the island 'Ganyu-jima Island' ever since.

Whether the tale is true or not is unknown, however, I (Koshoken) recorded it the way I heard for posterity.

Some people say that the descendants of Miyamoto still serve in Kokura and Musashi's tomb is facing the direction of Ganryu-jima Island.

A Musashi biography, "Buko-den," written by Masanaga TOYOTA in 1755, describes the duel in detail. According to that, Ganryu Kojiro was a vassal of Seigen TODA; he always acted as the opponent for Seigen at lessons of the sword, and became to use a thick and long sword of san-shaku (ninety centimeters length); at the age of eighteen, he developed his own style and called himself Ganryu.

Later, he attracted the attention of the lord of Kokura-jo Castle, Tadaoki HOSOKAWA, and stayed in Kokura.

In 1612, Musashi came from Kyoto to visit Karo (chief retainer) of the Hosokawa family, Okinaga MATSUI who had known Musashi's father Muni, and he requested Okinaga to permit a fight with Kojiro. Okinaga let Musashi stay in his residence and told Tadaoki of Musashi's request in a meeting of Karo (chief retainers), then they set the fight at Muko-jima Island (Funa-shima Island). They also decided to forbid people to go near the island on the appointed day.

The day before the fight, Okinaga told Musashi that the fight had been permitted, and at the day of the fight, Musashi would have to go to the island by a boat belonging to the Matsui family and Kojiro would have to go by a boat belonging to the Hosokawa family. Musashi was delighted at the news, however, soon after that, he left Kokura. Everyone thought that Musashi had known about the power of Ganryu while staying in Kokura and must have run. In fact, Musashi had moved and stayed in the residence of a wholesaler of Shimonoseki, Taroemon KOBAYASHI. He explained to Okinaga that he left Kokura because he could no longer bother Okinaga.

On the day of the fight, express messengers came to Simonoseki one after another in order to remind Musashi of the appointed time, however, he kept sleeping until late in the morning. Finally he got up and ate breakfast, after that, he got an oar from Taroemon and shaved it to make a wooden sword.

Then he had a servant of Taroemon, Kanpachiro MURAYA steer a boat and crossed over to the island.

Kojiro had been waiting for Musashi, he saw him very offended and said: "You are late." Musashi came up from the waterside with the wooden sword; Kojiro drew his sword of san-shaku and threw the scabbard into the water. Musashi said: "Kojiro, you already lost, if you wanted to win, you shouldn't have thrown your scabbard."

Kojiro wielded the sword with rage on Musashi's forehead, and Musashi's hachimaki (headband) was cut. At the same time, Musashi wielded his wooden sword and struck Kojiro on the head. Kojiro fell down and Musashi came over, however, Kojiro instantly cut the skirt of Musashi's short-length (over the knees) kimono. Then Musashi struck him back on the side; a bone was broken and Kojiro lost consciousness.

Musashi touched Kojiro's mouth and nose to confirm whether he was dead or not, then he made one bow to the observer and went back by boat. At that time, he was attacked by someone with short bow, however, the arrows missed him.

According to the record, that tale was told in 1712 by Kanpachiro MURAYA, a tradesman of Kokura; Kanpachiro told that he had been the steersman for Musashi to cross to the island; according to Kanpachiro, Musashi's adopted son Iori had been catching loaches to sell when he had been a child. Strangely, "Buko-den" says the duel was carried in 1612, while explaining that in 1712 (a hundred years after the duel) Masatake TOYOTA (the grandfather of the writer) heard the tale from the steersman who had been present at the site. If Kanpachiro's tale were true and Masanao wrote the tale exactly the way it had been record by his grandfather, a question arises; it is very strange that Masanao relied on the mysterious man's tale taken from another domain, because it means that the both of the Hosokawa family and the Matsui family, which Masanao and Masatake had served, hadn't reserved any document which mentioned the remarkable incident such as the duel permitted by the lords. Besides, as for the duel, the description is very different from the description in "Numatake-ki."

"Buko-den" records many anecdotes about Musashi in his later years, told by his disciples, however, as for the duel with Ganryu, there are no information from Musashi's disciples; except for the tale by Kanpachiro MURAYA, the book records only one short tale; according to that, a vassal of the Matsui family, Sandayu TANAKA said that when Sandayu had been a child, Musashi had requested Okinaga MATSUI to permit a fight with Kojiro, and it had been set in a meeting of Karo, however, before the decision had been informed to Musashi, he had gone to Shimonoseki, and after the fight, he had sent a letter to Okinaga. In his late years, Musashi often told about the fights with the Yoshioka, however, as for the duel with Ganryu, there remain very few reliable tales and Musashi himself didn't mention anything about it in "Gorin no sho," therefore, presumably, he scarcely told about the duel with Ganryu in Funa-shima.

The story of the duel was developed by added Ganryu's origin and detailed descriptions of the fight in "Honcho Bugei Shoden" (1716), "Heiho Taiso Bushu Genshin-ko Denrai" (1727), "Buko-den" (finished in 1755) and so on; and at last, Kagehide TOYOTA based on his father's book "Buko-den" to write "Niten-ki" and added many unreliable description including about Ganryu's origin, Ganryu's original name Kojiro SASAKI, Musashi's letter, the date of the duel April 13, 1612, the permission from lords, and the details of the duel. In 1909, Miyamoto Musashi Iseki Kenshokai (the association in honor to the accomplishments of Musashi MIYAMOTO) of Kumamoto Prefecture regarded the descriptions of the duel in "Niten-ki" as historical facts and based on that wrote "Miyamoto Musashi" (called "Kenshokai-bon"); and Eiji YOSHIKAWA wrote a novel "Miyamoto Musashi" (1935-1939) based on the information of "Kenshokai-bon;" therefore, the story of the duel written in "Niten-ki" became famous.

In 1737, a kabuki play "Katakiuchi Ganryu-jima" (Vengeance at Ganryu-jima Island) was performed in Osaka, which was written by Bunzaburo FUJIKAWA based on legends of the duel; Ganryu has been called 'Sasaki' in many books ever afterward. In the kabuki appear two swordsmen, 'Musashinosuke TSUKIMOTO' and 'Ganryu SASAKI,' and Musashinosuke avenges the murder of his father on Ganryu.

Following are differences from other materials.

After the duel, April 13 is called 'Ketto no hi' (the day of the duel).


Following are folklores told in tourist spots related to Musashi or dojo (training halls) or events of budo (martial arts), however, this is invalid information not based on reliable historical materials.

Musashi was a man beyond ordinary power and wielded a sword with one hand. Using this ability, he developed Nito-ryu (the swordsmanship style of using two swords).

At a festival, he saw performers beating taiko (Japanese big drum) with two bachi (drumsticks), suddenly he hit on an idea adapting the performers' style for a style of sword fighting, since then, he developed Nito-ryu.

By accumulating the experience of fighting, he began to use a wooden sword; at about age of twenty-nine, he was using replicas of the wooden sword which he had used in the duel at Ganryu-jima Island; soon after the duel, he had lost the wooden sword and since then, he made those replicas, however, at the age of twenty-nine, he stopped fighting with swordsmen.

Nihon-to (Japanese sword) is brittle and often broken in the middle of fights; in order to avoid that, Musashi began to prepare two wooden swords.

At the fights with Yoshioka, Musashi ignored the proper procedure of musha-shugyo (swordsman's training) and ill-manneredly issued a challenge, so a fight of one versus one expanded into a small battle, and at last, unfortunately Yoshioka was beaten and even the family and school ended.

Musashi as an artist

"Kaijo Monogatari" (Kaijo Story), written in 1666 (only twenty-one years after Musashi died), describes a scene where Musashi was painting a picture, so since a long time ago, he has been famous as a painter as well.

Musashi's biography, "Buko-den," written in 1755 by Masanao TOYOTA (an instructor of Niten Ichi-ryu in the Matsui family), describes his talent as "Musashi spent his spare time quietly (…omit…) making renga (Japanese poetry), studying calligraphies, painting pictures, making crafts and so on, so many of his works remain including a saddle, a bow made from a willow tree, wooden swords, renga, calligraphy and pictures."

Most of his works remaining at present are considered to have been made in his late years in Kumamoto; originally they had been kept in the Matsui family which had been Karo (chief retainer) of the Hosokawa family and the lord of Yatsushiro-jo Castle, and in the Terao family since Kumanosuke (Motomenosuke) Nobuyuki TERAO had attended to Musashi in his late years; later owners of those works changed.

As for ink-wash painting, he seems to have usually signed as Niten. Some critics point out the influence of Yusho KAIHO or Tohaku HASEGAWA and some critics say that he didn't learn painting from experts. Some people say that he succeeded in expressing the idea of 'Ken Zen Ichinyo' (swordsmanship and Zen are one and the same) in his works and some people say that unlike expert work, his poor and simple style enhances the quality. Recently specialists have been trying to judge whether they are genuine or not by studying movement of brush, style, seal, signature and so on, however, they haven't reached a conclusion yet.

The following are his main paintings; Eisei-Bunko Museum keeps "U-zu" (Cormorant), "Shomen Daruma-zu" (Bodhidharma Facing Front), "Menpeki Daruma-zu" (Bodhidharma Facing Wall), "Monpuku Hotei-zu" (Laughing Hotei) and "Rogan-zu" (Goose by Reed Leaf); Matsui-Bunko Incorporated Foundation keeps "Royo Daruma-zu" (Bodhidharma by Reed Leaf) and "Yaba-zu" (Wild Horse); Kuboso Memorial Museum of Arts, Izumi keeps "Koboku Meigeki-zu" (Shrike on a Withered Branch); the Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art keeps "Shu Moshuku-zu" (Zhou Maoshu), "Yugamo-zu" (Playing Duck) and "Hotei-zu" (Hotei); Fukuoka Art Museum keeps "Hotei Kan-Tokei-zu" (Hotei Watching a Cockfight).

Following are some calligraphy confirmed as genuine; Yatsushiro Municipal Museum keeps "Nagaoka Okinaga ate shojo" (Letter to Okinaga NAGAOKA); Yoshikawa Eiji House and Museum keeps "Arima Naozumi ate shojo" (Letter to Naozumi ARIMA); Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art keeps "Dokkodo" (means 'the way of walking alone'); Matsui-Bunko Incorporated Foundation keeps "Senki" (means 'spirit of fight').

Crafts, confirmed to be genuine, are a saddle lacquered in black and a wooden sword which are regarded as a replica Musashi himself made after the wooden sword which he had used in the duel at Ganryu-jima. And the Matsui family keeps a pair of wooden swords (long and short) made for lessons of Niten Ichi-ryu Heiho. There remain some of "Namako Sukashi Tsuba" (Namako Sukashi Shell) by Musashi in Shimada Museum of Art and so on, and one of copper "Namako Sukashi Tsuba," which had been kept in the Terao family, is regarded as the one had been attached to Musashi's sword "Hoki Yasutsuna,"and designated as cultural property of Kumamoto Prefecture (at present, it is kept by a private person).

By studying his brush movements, he is considered to have been left-handed.

Note: "Fudo Myoo-zo" ('Fudo Myoo Statue,' kept by a private person) is famous as a work by Musashi, however, from the history of handing down and the style, it is regarded as another person's work.

Influence on literature and other entertainment

Since the Edo period, Musashi's legends such as the duel at Ganryu-jima Island had been adapted for many kabuki, joruri (dramatic narrative chanted to a samisen accompaniment), kodan storytelling and so on, and through Eiji YOSHIKAWA's novel "Miyamoto Musashi" serialized in the Asashi Shinbun in the 1930s, the image of the young, strongest swordsman Musashi had been popularized and fixed.


A Musashi's biography "Niten-ki," written by Kagehide TOYOTA, an instructor of Niten Ichi-ryu Heiho in the Matsui family, describes many fights including a fight with Nichiei OKUZOIN, a master of Hozoin-ryu School of So-jutsu (art of spear) from Nara of Yamato Province, a fight with Shishido, a master of kusarigama (chained scythes) from Iga Province, fights with Hayato OSETO and Samanosuke TSUJIKAZE, masters of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu School from Edo; however, the information on those fights is not found in "Buko-den" on which Kagehide based, and there is no material to support the tales as well, therefore, presumably, those fights are not historical facts.

According to another biography "Heiho Taiso Bushu Genshin-ko Denrai" by Hokin TANJI (Minehira TACHIBANA), Musashi was about roku-shaku (180 centimeters tall). By the commission Yoriyuki MATSUI, Karo (chief retainer) of the Hosokawa family (later Yoriyuki became the lord of Yatsushiro-jo Castle), Musashi made a wooden sword after the one which he had used in the duel at Ganryu-jima Island; the wooden sword still remains. In 1984, NHK broadcasted a TV drama "Miyamoto Musashi," and commemorating that, Kumamoto Prefecture sold replicas of that wooden sword Musashi had made for Yoriyuki.

"Watanabe Koan Taiwa" is the record of dialogues of Koan WATANABE (Shigeru Kyuzaburo WATANABE) who was born in Settsu in 1582, extended his pilgrimage to China and India, and died in 1711 at the age of 130; in the dialogue of September 10, 1709 is found a mention of Musashi; the following is that dialogue. There was 'Musashi TAKEMURA,' he strived hard for Ken-jutsu (art of sword) and became a master. He was much stronger than Tajima, if it were a fight of Go, I think he should have been handicapped. However, he had one flaw. He hated washing his feet and washing himself; he had never bathed in bathtub. He always went outside in his bare feet and just wiped off the dirt. Therefore, his clothes always became dirty, so in order to hide the stains, he wore velvet kimono (lining was the same velvet), and didn't approach noble people. For that tale, it is said that Musashi had never taken a bath in his life; however, in the past, bathing was a religious act, and according to records on bathing, during the Edo period, people began to go to public baths.

Leading disciples during the life of Musashi was teaching Enmei-ryu School (Enmyo-ryu School)

Joemon AOKI



[Original Japanese]