The Great Swordsman Musashi Miyamoto
Musashi Miyamoto (1584 - 1645)
Musashi Miyamoto was a master of kendo (fighting with swords) and the founder of Nitoryu
(fighting with two swords also called Enmeiryu, Nitenichiryu or Miyamotoryu)
in early Edo Period
. His life and activities has been introduced dramatically as a samurai
hero in some media. His given name was Harunobu and pseudonym was Niten.
He wrote his name 'Shinmen Musashi-no-kami Harunobu Fujiwara' (the chief
governor of Musashi province Shinmen, Harunobu Fujiwara) in his book 'Gorinsho'
and 'Harunobu Musashi Miyamoto' on his letters to Naozumi Arima and Nagaoka
Sado-no-kami (the military governor of Sado Province). His date of birth
1584 is calculated by his prologue in his book, but according to the family
tree of Musashi Miyamoto written by his son Iori, he was born in 1582.
Musashi was from Miyamoto village in Mimasaka province (Okayama prefecture),
his father was Munisai Hirata and mother was Omasa or Sotuko, there are
many stories about his origin. Some said he was from Harima province (Hyogo
prefecture). Though he was the great hero through the history of Kendo
and they has tried to introduce his life made him the great hero or great
swordsman Musashi Miyamoto, nobody found his first half of his life clearly.
Musashi aspired to study Hyoho (martial art) since childhood, and his first duel of fighting against Kihei Arima belonging to Shintoryu held and won when he was thirteen. Since then, he had never lost over 60 competitions during his life. Mushashi and his father joined to Kuroda Clan at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. In 1612, Musashi fought the Duel at Ganryujima Island (Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture), this is the most famous duel of his story.
After the Ganryujima, Musashi joined to Mizuno (some said Honda) army and
fought at both winter and summer Seige Of Osaka, then he traveled over
the clans in quest of masters of martial arts. In 1624, Musashi visited
Owari (Aichi prefecture) and taught the members of Kendo sect Enmeiryu.
According to Jinuemon Shoji the founder of Yoshiwara, Musashi stayed Edo
before the Revolt at Shimabara. (Musashi might be in Fujiwara Kannondo Hall
during this period of time, if possible.)
After Musashi became 51, his life and activities were found in some materials.
Musashi joined to Tadazane Ogasawara, the lord of Kokura han as a guest
member or worrier, and he went into the Revolt Of Shimabara as a supervisor
with his son Iori. When he was 57, Tadatoshi Hosokawa, the lord of Kumamoto
han invited Musashi as a guest and he gave him a resident in the left of
Chiba Castle. Musashi edited 'Hyoho Gojusankajo' (the 53 codes of the martial
arts). And Msashi wrote his famous masterpiece 'Gorinsho' (Gorin-no-sho)
when he was 60 and he spent much time to sit in Zen meditation in Reigando
cave at Mt.Iwato in the west of Kumamoto City. Not only Musashi talks about
his kendo way Nitenichiryu, but also he stresses that he devoted to study
how to unify Kendo and Zen meditation in his thought. In addition, he edited
his philosophy 'Dokkodo Jukyujo' (the 19 codes of Dokkodo) a week before
he passed away. It was June 13th 1645. It is said that Musashizuka in Yuge,
Tattacho, Kumamoto City is Musashi Miyamoto's tomb.
Musashi Miyamato was gifted uncommon talents on arts such as calligraphy, drawing and metalwork. He was the last samurai painter, so his Suibokuga (drwaings in sumi ink) especially give dynamic expression on themselves, 'Uzu' (a picture of a cornorant), 'Asikarizu' (a picture of a wild goose in a read shore) and 'Kobokumeigetsuzu' (a crying butcherbird on a bare tree) are his famous drawings now exist and were registered as the Important Cultural Property by National Government.
Musashi Miyamoto is one of the greatest samurai hero in Japanese History.