Miyamoto Musashi (1584? – 1645), is one of the most well know samurai ever. We already known him from Heroes, but let’s see more in detail who he was.
He started his “career” as a samurai when he fought at Sekigahara’s Battle, one of the most important battles in Japanese history. Miyamoto’s people lost the battle but he managed to survive and start a life dedicated to the katana and the “bushido” (The way of the warrior). He wandered many years all around Japan, he fought many people, the legend says that he had more than 60 duels and he was never defeated. When he was old, he developed his own fighting style and he even wrote books about “the way of the warrior”, the most famous of them is called “The book of the five rings”.
There are many films about Miyamoto Musashi, the character Haohmaru from Samurai Shodown is based on Musashi, the games for PS and PS2 Brave Fencer Musashi and Musashi Samurai legend are based on Musashi’s life, the manga Vagabond also, etc.
But the best source I’ve ever found is the novel called Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa written 100 years ago. It’s a huge book (around 1.000 pages) about Musashi Miyamoto’s life, it’s fiction but there are many things based on real facts. Reading it you’ll learn not only about Musashi Miyamoto’s life but also about how Japanese people lived on those times, how philosophical an religious influences from China were affecting Japan and so on. I might seem difficult to read, but it isn’t! Here you can read the first pages. I consider this book a MUST!