Miyamoto Musashi


Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵)

(c. 1584 – June 13 (Japanese calendar: May 19), 1645),
also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke, or by his Buddhist name Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman and samurai famed for his duels and distinctive style.

Musashi became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age. He was the founder of the
Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship fighting with two swords and
the author of The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin No Sho), a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today.

He grew up in Miyamoto village, in the Yoshino district of Mimasaka Province, now Okayama prefecture.
In Kyoto he fought many duels against the Yoshioka school.

From 1605 to 1612, he travelled extensively all over Japan in Musha Shugyo 武者修行, a warrior pilgrimage during which he honed his skills with duels.

In 1611, Musashi began practicing zazen at the Myoshinji Temple 妙心寺.

On April 13, 1612, Musashi fought his most famous duel with Sasaki Kojiro 佐々木小次郎, on the island of Funajima, in the Kamon Straight.

In 1622, Musashi's adoptive son, Miyamoto Mikinosuke, became a vassal to the Himeji Domain. In Yamagata he adopted a second son, Miyamoto Iori.

In 1633, Musashi began staying with Hosokawa Tadatoshi, daimyo of Kumamoto Castle.

In 1643 he retired to a cave named Reigando 霊巌洞 as a hermit and died there.

Musashi created and perfected a two-sword kenjutsu technique called niten'ichi (二天一, "two heavens as one") or nitōichi (二刀一, "two swords as one") or "Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu" .

Musashi was hailed as an extraordinary sumi-e artist in the use of ink monochrome as depicted in two such famous paintings:

"Shrike Perched in a Dead Tree" (Koboku Meigekizu, 枯木鳴鵙図)
and "Wild Geese Among Reeds" (Rozanzu, 魯山図).
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


The most famous hero fighting with two swords is maybe Miyamoto Musashi, who was subject of a yearlong TV series on NHK in 2003.

Musashi also painted Daruma san, see below.
Katana 日本刀 The Japanese Sword

. The Book of Five Rings (五輪書, Go Rin No Sho)   
Samurai Life in the Edo Period

The first book, Chi no Maki 地の巻 Book of the Earth

1.Do not think dishonestly and to adhere to the Way
2.The Way is to train

3.Have knowledge of every art
4.Know the Way of all professions

5.Know the difference between profit and loss in worldly matters
6.Develop intuition and an understanding of all things

7.See that which cannot be seen
8.Attend even to the seemingly insignificant

(- - - and if you have mastered ALL of the above )

Do nothing which is useless /  “Do nothing that is of no use”


kan no me ken no me 観の目 見の目 
- the way of "seeing" things
kan-no-me is strong, ken-no-me is weak
- reference -

ukoo mukoo 有構無構 uko muko no oshie
The guard without a guard
- reference -


. Musashi and Takuan Soho 沢庵 宗彭  

. Hotei painted by Miyamoto Musashi  

. 狸谷山不動院 Tanukidaniyama Fudo Temple .
Musashi no taki 武蔵の滝 Miyamoto Musashi Waterfall

枯木鳴鵙図 (こぼくめいげきず) koboku meigeki zu

kara eda ni karasu no tomari keri aki no kure

Matsuo Basho

a crow is perched
on a barren branch -
this autumn evening
Tr. Gabi Greve  

Musashi actually painted a 鵙, mozu, a (bull-headed) shrike; a butcher-bird.
also you find this as the title:
“Kingfisher Perched on a Withered Branch”



. Miyamoto Musashi .


source : collections.lacma.org

Miyamoto Musashi Slashing a Tengu
Alternate Title: 宮本無三四
by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

. Musashi and the Tenku of Fukuoka .
- Musō Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi 夢想權之助勝吉 Muso Gonnosuke fighting two duels with Musashi
- Tengu Geijutson 天狗芸術論 The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts 


Haiku and Senryu

CLICK for more illustrations

宮本武蔵 蘆葉達磨図

wielding his sword
wielding his brush
wielding his life

Gabi Greve, August 2004

Musashi is really a good guide to Japanese Culture.
He was born in the old Sakushu province, close to my home now in Okayama prefecture !

And his lady-friend was called O-Tsu お津, like my cat.
Or should I say, my cat was called after her !

Last year NHK state television had a yearlong once a week program about Musashi and his times, and since my cat was born that year she got that name.
(we wanted a Takezoo, the boys name of Musashi, but the stray kitten turned out to be a SHE)
As you know, her son is HAIKU Kun.

Discussion about Musashi Paintings


glimmering swords ...
the calligraphy of Musashi
in the setting sun

Don Baird

Related words

***** . Musashibo Benkei 武蔵坊弁慶   

***** Personal Names used in Haiku

***** Introducing Japanese Haiku Poets 



Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Martial Arts 武道 Budo and Fudo Myo-O 不動明王
kenkaku 剣客 swordsman - bushidoo 武士道 Bushido

carvings by Musashi
Fudo like a swordsman (kenkaku 剣客) holding the sword in both hands.

Gabi Greve said...

Discovery Museum,
an exhibition on Miyamoto Musashi's Ink Paintings

(宮本武蔵--known for his swordsmanship, Suiboku-ga, 水墨画);
 剣豪として知られる宮本武蔵は、細川家に厚遇され、晩年を熊本で過ごしました。この地では、細川家当主に武芸の談義をするとともに、武蔵の剣に関する考え伝える『五輪書』や水墨画『面壁達磨』の制作などをしていました。宮本武蔵が武芸者としてだけではなく、「水墨の達人」でもあったことをたどります。 :

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Jōdō 杖道 Jodo literally means the way of the stick.
At Mount Homan in Kyushu,
above the castle town of Fukuoka Musashi spent 37 days meditating and training – and received a revelation from the Tengu (long-nosed winged demons, famous as the source of several martial traditions) to take the round pole and place it on the water of the moon (Water Moon, or Suigetsu, is the Japanese word used in budo to indicate the solar plexus on the human body).
竈門山(宝満山) Mount Homanzan and the Tengu
Koorinboo 宰府高垣高林坊 / 宰府高垣高森坊 Korin-Bo
宰府高垣高林坊 / 宰府高垣高森坊 - Korinbo, Saifu Takagaki - Fukuoka


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Miyamoto Musashi and the Batlike Monster
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1867)
Nobusuma 野衾 (のぶすま)"wild quilt", "wild blanket"
Yokai squirrel, Yokai bat
Sometimes depicted as a flying squirrel, sometimes as a huge bat.

Gabi Greve said...

Inaba Kaido 因幡街道 Inaba Highway
Connecting Himeji in 兵庫県 Hyogo with 鳥取 Tottori.

one postal station along this highway was
Ohara 大原宿 Okayama (岡山県美作市)
where Musashi was born.
Miyamoto no Sato 武蔵の里
Shrine 武蔵神社 Musashi Jinja
岡山県美作市宮本968 / Okayama, Mimasaka, Miyamoto 968