Now on Sale


Miyamoto Musashi: A Life in Arms

Miyamoto Musashi Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) is the most celebrated swordsman in Japanese history. Yet few of the many works on the enigmatic warrior have hewn to the original sources. Fewer still have explored the emotional turmoil that drove him on to be the very best in his field.

A Life in Arms debunks many of the convenient myths, while at the same time uncovering the more controversial aspects that have been left hidden: his deeply troubled relationship with his father, his whereabouts during the battle of Sekigahara, his role in the siege of Osaka castle, and the birth and death of an illegitimate child, an event that deeply influenced his art.

It shows how Musashi's path through life was shaped by strong personal traits: a reckless valor in the face of danger, a sensitive intelligence in the fields of art and architecture, a generosity toward peers and pupils, and a defiant stubbornness in old age. The complex yet human portrait that arises is a far cry from the accepted one-dimensional caricatures.

Drawing from a wealth of images, maps, photographs, and woodprints, this Illustrated Edition gives the reader an even more authentic and in-depth experience of the life of Japan’s greatest swordsman.

222 pp, 7.5 x 9.25, soft
145 Illustrations, maps and charts, g
lossary, index
Japanese history / Swordsmanship / Martial arts
Published by FLoating World Editions ISBN: 

Now also available in Kindle

Praise for Miyamoto Musashi: A Life in Arms

“If anyone is qualified to fill in the missing details of Musashi’s life, it is De lange, who has surely done more research on the subject than any other non-Japanese…He has painted a remarkably vibrant portrait of Musashi, one that reveals all the contradictions of a remarkable life full of triumphs and disappointments, thrilling victories as well as bitter losses…This book is unquestionably a must-read for any student of budō. — Jeff Broderick, Kendō World, July 2015.

"Miyamoto Musashi: A Life in Arms is an impressive work of scholarship, offering insanely detailed recounts of Musashi’s battles and movements, some so richly rendered that you’d swear De Lange was present at the time, taking notes." — Glen Dallas, San Francisco Book Review, May 2015.

"Miyamoto Musashi: A Life in Arms is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in the biography of this most interesting man who has inspired generations of swordsmen and manga fans alike." — Kim Taylor, Iaido Journal, January 2015.

"This is perhaps one of the most vital and important texts on the life of Miyamoto Musashi. De Lange has searched the original military records of the campaigns Musashi was involved with and other supporting documents to provide the first accurate assessment of Musashi's life in the English language.” — Paul J. O’Brian, Irish Fighter Magazine, January 2015

"If you are looking for a good read and a fantastic resource into the period in which Musashi lived then this is a great addition to your Koryu Library” — Jason Hulott, Kaigan Dojo, February 2015

De Lange has already published two volumes giving translations of two of the principal source documents on Musashi’s life, but this is something different. Drawing on these, as well as numerous other sources, he builds up a new version of the swordsman’s story, covering much ground that will be totally new for many. — Chris Hellman, author of The Samurai Mind, July 2015

Die Welt des Budo darf sich glücklich schätzen einen solch ehrgeizigen und gewissenhaften Untersucher der japanischen Geschichte zu haben, welcher in diesem Buch ein einzigartig und überraschend genaues Bild über Miyamoto Musashi zeichnet. "Für jeden, der wirklich etwas über das Leben MM wissen will, ist dieses Buch Pflichtlektüre.” — Gregor Lechner, Iaido Freiburg, February 2015.

“Een avonturenroman, klaar om te worden verfilmd, al zal dit niet de opzet zijn geweest; het leven van de legendarische meesterzwaardvechter spreekt na bijna vijf eeuwen nog altijd tot de verbeelding.” Chris de JonghSjok, December 2014.

Watch the video

No part of this website or its contents may be reproduced by any means without the explicit consent of the author. © William de Lange 2017