Friday, October 5, 2012

Miyamoto Musashi

There is a tale that is told in the islands in the east where the sun rises. It is a tale based on truth, but it is as shrouded in myth and mystery as any creature that haunts our dreams. It is a tale about Miyamoto Musashi, the greatest swordsman who ever lived and died under the mortal sun.

The tale tells of Miyamoto’s duel with Sasaki Kojiro on the small island now called Ganryujima, centuries ago. Kojiro issued the challenge, to Miyamoto, offering time and place and eternal glory for the man who walked away. Kojiro, known as the Demon of the West for his fearsome prowess with the blade, would arrive early and await Miyamoto with his back to the setting sun.

It is said that Miyamoto was not impressed with Kojiro, though many of his friends and family warned him that overconfidence leads to arrogance which in turn leads to failure and in this case, inevitably death. But Miyamoto went anyway, unwashed and unkempt, wrapped in a towel and just drunk enough that he forgot his blade.

And when he arrived, he was already late, and the sun was low in the western sky. Mistaking his instructions, Miyamoto approached from the west, landing his boat behind Kojiro. Miyamoto climbed out of his boat and approached his opponent with the knowledge that his reputation alone would save him…

And promptly beat Kojiro to death with an oar.


  1. He didn't accidentally show up late, he made sure to show up when he could get the sun in Kojiro's eyes. Plus, he used the boat oar because Kojiro was known for using a blade that was several inches longer than standard and Mushashi didn't want to deal with an opponent who had reach on him.

  2. I know. It was written to prove a point about perception.

  3. One of the stories I read (possibly the movie, but I dont remember that because I dont even think I was 16 yet when I saw it) was that he used a longer practice wooden blade ... and beat him to death.