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Daniel san
21st April 2003, 14:49
Hello,
I just got a copy of The Martial Artist's Book of Five Rings. "The Definitive Interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi's Classic Book of Strategy" , by Stephen F. Kaufman, Hanshi 10th Dan.

I was a little skeptical in the book store becuase it said, "interpretation" instead of "translation". Well, I bought it anyway. I am very impressed with the book as a whole. Except for one part. I've only read it once so I maybe missed more but why is there a football analogy in there? The author broke the spell with that and it got me wondering what else he was adding to the text. Are there any good "translations" out there?

chrismoses
21st April 2003, 17:19
Lord knows why anything is in that book. When the book was first published, it was listed as Translated by Stephen F Kaufman. Then it became very apparent that Kaufman can't speak or read Japanese. It was brought to the publisher's attention and they changed the name. My favorite piece of trivia about Mr. Kaufman is the name of his dojo, "Dojo no Hebi," which translates as "The Snake of the Dojo" :D

Oops! I guess he should have just used "Cobra-Kai" and played it safe.

I've read the Victor Harris translation, and it's about as good as is available in English. There's a movement by a few brave souls in the sword community to have a good martial arts based translation done. This is in the works now and I'm sure when it's done you'll hear about it on e-budo. I look forward to it.

Douglas Wylie
21st April 2003, 17:25
What ever happened to the Kim Taylor translation?

Gene Williams
21st April 2003, 17:25
Yep, Go with Harris. I've read some of the others and they just don't do it for me. Gene

ghp
21st April 2003, 17:26
Chris beat me to the punch. Daniel, check out this previous e-budo thread re Mr. Kaufman http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=3628&highlight=Stephen+F+Kaufman

Chris,
My favorite piece of trivia about Mr. Kaufman is the name of his dojo, "Dojo no Hebi," which translates as "The Snake of the Dojo" Hmmmm.... in keeping with that style, perhaps Mr. Kaufman should call this book "Sho no Gorin" -- Book's Five Rings" :D

Regards,
Guy

kabutoki
21st April 2003, 20:42
yep, victor harris for me as well. the translation from english to german was commented by one of the foremost japanologists in the german speaking area, soit must be worth it.

i personally found that the more interpretation is added to the book, the more it looses itīs value. i enjoy reading the plain text over and over again and just keep thinking about it. every time i read it i discover something new, a new thought comes to my mind or a passage i never got becomes clear...

karsten

Ric Flinn
21st April 2003, 23:29
I was under the impression that the Wilson or Cleary translation was preferred to Harris, but I don't remember where I got that idea. All I've got is Harris, and it's about time I read it again. I also remember that in no uncertain terms steer clear of Kaufman Hanshi 10th Dan's translation.

I also think I remember hearing about a version, not available in the U.S., that had the original Japanese on one side and the English translation on the other. I think that would be really interesting to have.

Daniel san
22nd April 2003, 00:24
I guess that explains why I was able to get it used. Nobody gets rid of the books they love.

stevemcgee99
23rd April 2003, 05:46
Anybody read HIdy Ochiai's version?

Meik Skoss
23rd April 2003, 12:22
I think Ochiai's version of the *Gorin no sho* is probably the most accurate in English. Harris' version has some major errors and the one by Kaufman doesn't even bear consideration. Complete tripe.

Ochiai, albeit not primarily a swordsman, is at least familiar with the art and, as a native speaker of Japanese who lives/works in the U.S., is well acquainted with the difficulties and pitfalls that lie in translating works of this type. More, as an experienced budoka (his main thing is karatedo, although I'm not sure what system it is), he is familiar with the concepts introduced in the work, albeit they aren't exactly the same in chop-socky as in whacka-sticks.

Anyway, go with Ochiai's version. If William Scott Wilson has also done a translation, get that, too. His work is uniformly good and he also has a (Chinese) martial arts background.

But Harris and Kaufman? Naaaaahhhh...

Charlie Kondek
23rd April 2003, 13:49
I'll plug the good ol' Nihon Services Corporation edition - I've usually ben able to find it in old used book stores with its 1980s "samurai on Wall Street" cover. But don't let the cover fool ya! It's a good translation, and I've seen it recommended elsewhere.

shugyosha
23rd April 2003, 15:39
the best tradution of the book of the five element (not the five rings)
is the one from kenji tokitsu, beaucause, he is a japanese doctor in sociology (japanese) and he is one of the few peaple who can understand the change of the meaning of the japanese language.
he also practiced kendo so he knows what he talk about.
actualy the book is more a bible about musashi than just the translation of the gorin no sho, he quote (in japanese) the ni-ten ki
retraces the history of musashi, his fights, including the different sources.
if you realy want to know what the gorin no sho is about, you have to take a good translation, however, i think kenji tokitsu didnt translate in english, so its only available in french.

hyaku
23rd April 2003, 23:57
If you want a book on understanding Gorin no Sho is Japanese I would consider books by Imai Masayuki to be worth considering. He has also done some "Kendo" and a fair amount of Hyoho Niten Ichiryu.

He will tell you that a depp understanding of Budhism is also required and suggests reading Tannisho by Shinran Shonin first of all.

Tannisho a Primer is included in the Institute of Buddhist Studies Publication Series. Published under the joint auspices of the Ryukoku University Translation Centre and the Institute of Buddhist Studies 2717 Haste St, Berkley, California 94704

I doubt very much if anyone will glean too much more from any new publications. The words of Musashi are simple their meanings deep.

Hyakutake Colin

Nathan Scott
24th April 2003, 00:17
I have all the translations mentioned except for Ochiai, and personally, my favorite now is a new bi-lingual edition recently released by Kodansha.

The English translation is by William Scott Wilson, and the modern Japanese translation is by Matsumoto Michishiro. The Japanese page opposes each English page, so if you can read any Japanese, this makes reference really nice! I've found that some of the terminology used in Gorin no Sho is already familiar to me, but it was hard to guess from the way some of them are translated into English.

Info on this book is:


The Book of Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi. English translation by William Scott Wilson; modern Japanese translation by Matsumoto Michishiro. Kodansha International, 2001/2003.

ISBN4-7700-2844-X

www.thejapanpage.com

I paid about $21.50 (lists for 1800 Yen) at Kinokuniya, which is not bad for a hardback.

**

If you don't care about the Japanese part, you can get just the English version of this book (by William Scott Wilson), also published by Kodansha. My father-in-law sent me a copy of this one from Japan not knowing that I had the bi-lingual edition already. Same English text as the bi-lingual version., but lists for 2200 Yen for some reason (don't know what it goes for in America). Published in 2002;
ISBN4-7700-2801-6.

Happy reading,

Ric Flinn
24th April 2003, 01:35
Originally posted by Nathan Scott
...my favorite now is a new bi-lingual edition recently released by Kodansha.


Yeah, that's the one I was trying to remember. Thanks for posting the ISBN, now if somebody can point me to a place online I can order it I'll be set. :)

It's interesting that the English translation is the Wilson translation, I've heard Wilson's version is very good. I picked up my copy (Harris) last night to read it again, and after reading the introduction, I'm not sure I want to continue with this version or just wait and get a new one.

seskoad
24th April 2003, 01:58
Originally posted by shugyosha
if you realy want to know what the gorin no sho is about, you have to take a good translation, however, i think kenji tokitsu didnt translate in english, so its only available in french.

Is this book "gorin no sho" in english? http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1570629986/qid%3D1051149397/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/103-8926495-6181429

Rennis
24th April 2003, 03:45
Originally posted by Ric Flinn


Yeah, that's the one I was trying to remember. Thanks for posting the ISBN, now if somebody can point me to a place online I can order it I'll be set. :)

It's interesting that the English translation is the Wilson translation, I've heard Wilson's version is very good. I picked up my copy (Harris) last night to read it again, and after reading the introduction, I'm not sure I want to continue with this version or just wait and get a new one.

Hi Ric,
Here is one place you can get it

http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/books/477002844X/249-0941771-2370768

In my opinion, Wilson's translation is the best of the ones I have read. Alot of people think that Wilson is probably the best person translating these sorts of works right now and I would have to agree. Its hard to say exactly what makes his translations better than the others, but his just somehow seem to "work". Very clear, very direct, no fluff, but somehow retains the original flavor as much as is possible when translating to a foreign langauge like English.

For what it's worth,

Rennis Buchner

ghp
24th April 2003, 06:22
Hi Rennis.
Its hard to say exactly what makes his translations better than the others, Because he graduated from my alma mater!!
Translator; William Scott Wilson : William Scott Wilson, the translator, took his B.A. at Dartmouth College, graduated as a Japanese specialist from the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies, and received his M.A. in Japanese literature from the University of Washington. He became acquainted with Japan at first-hand in 1966 on a coastal expedition--by kayak--from the western Japanese port of Sasebo to Tokyo. He later lived in the potter's village of Bizen, studied as a special student at Aichi Prefectural University, and was a counselor at the Japanese Consulate-General in Seattle. He now lives in his native Florida.
The school is now called the Monterey Institute of International Studies ... "Foreign" was seen as being too provencial and isolationist; not "politically correct." :D

Cheers,
Guy

Bustillo, A.
25th April 2003, 14:14
I'm familiar with the Harris version and Hidy Ochiai's writing on the topic.

In addition, a Donn F. Draeger article was interesting.

http://ejmas.com/jcs/jcsdraeger_musashi.htm

Opinions? Especially the mention about Musahi not writing the book.

Douglas Wylie
25th April 2003, 23:36
Stirring the pot a little more than I should-

I feel Draeger was biased in favor of the arts he studied (2 of which I also study) and against anything he didnt study(I also study 2 of these).

Well, who can blame him. I am in favor of what I study and not what I dont, if I wasnt I would change. Doesnt make me right, or someone else wrong. Just that you cant be objective while being so strongly biased.

This is a possible reason for his bias against Musashi and for TSKSR(one of his favorite arts)-

He did not devise the nito or two-sword manner of combat. This had already been devised and was in use about two centuries before he was born. Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu was using the two-sword method (ryo-to) in combat during the earlier Muromachi period.

I would have the source of the info ("he did not write the Gorin no sho") on the Gorinnosho.

Earl Hartman
26th April 2003, 00:58
While I agree that it is hard not to be biased in favor of the ryu of which you are a member, it would seem that Draeger is on solid ground when he contends that the nito method predated Musashi. It does, after all, exist in the TSKSR curriculum, which does predate Musashi. In any case, it seems to me rather hard to establish who first came up with the idea of taking up a weapon in either hand, which is something anyone would think of doing if the situation were right. As to who first codified it, the only thing we have to work with is the makimono that still exist. So, since it seems commonly accepted that TSKSR is older than Musashi and has nito in its curriculum, I don't think this is much of an issue.

I would, however, like to see some documentation for his other contentions, specifically Musashi's admission that the "master" of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu (Sekishusai or Munenori?) was better than he was. Is this in writing somwhere?

I hasten to add that I am not particularly intetested in proving or disproving (if such a thing were even possible) that Musashi was better than anyone else in his time. I would just like to see the documentation for this assertion.

Douglas Wylie
26th April 2003, 01:52
Originally posted by Earl Hartman
it would seem that Draeger is on solid ground when he contends that the nito method predated Musashi. It does, after all, exist in the TSKSR curriculum, which does predate Musashi. In any case, it seems to me rather hard to establish who first came up with the idea of taking up a weapon in either hand, which is something anyone would think of doing if the situation were right. As to who first codified it, the only thing we have to work with is the makimono that still exist. So, since it seems commonly accepted that TSKSR is older than Musashi and has nito in its curriculum, I don't think this is much of an issue.



I do not dispute the history that TSKSR had 2 sword techinques first. Unfortunately Musashi was famous for 2 sword tech and he gets credited with inventing it by some.

In its recent Japanese editions Gorin no sho has been misinterpreted and recast in terms that are glowing and pleasing to modern ears

He did not write it AND it is misinterpreted.
Really, has anyone verified this? It is an awful lot to swallow.

The question I have is how the Musashi "myth" pertains to Jodo(one of Draegers preferred arts). Does Draeger downplay Musashi in this case too, disputing the history of Jodo?

As I remember, Gonnosuke(founder of SMR) is defeated by Musashi and lives. Trains in the mountains until recieving the secret to defeating him, then does.

Maybe this IS a fable. I would like to know the verifiable history.

Meik Skoss
26th April 2003, 02:43
Mr. Wylie is incorrect in asserting that Draeger was not in favor of arts he didn't study. As one of Draeger's students (mentees?) in the discipline of hoplology, as well as one of his juniors in the art of Shinto Muso-ryu, I had the chance to talk with him many times about martial arts.

He had an interesting policy about that: he'd train in something to the point of receiving a shodan, then decide if it was a thing he wanted to continue. He didn't continue in naginata, for example, even though he had the highest respect for his teacher, Shimada Teruko. Likewise, his opinion of aikido of various sorts was pretty strong: he didn't think much of Ueshiba's system, but did like that of Shioda. I think he was interested in a few aspects of Tomiki's approach, but thought Tohei's emphasis on ki was just about the lamest thing he'd ever seen/experienced in his training in Japan.

In any event, he had great respect for all the legitimate Japanese budo. Admittedly, there were some he thought were sort of dumb -- or less than optimal -- but that didn't mean he didn't appreciate their value for what they were.

There are several kenjutsu ryu that contain ryoto/nito as part of their curricula. Katori Shinto-ryu, Shinkage-ryu and Tatsumi-ryu all date from the Sengoku Jidai, Niten Ichi-ryu and Shingyoto-ryu are from somewhat later. In fact, the nito portion of the Niten Ichi-ryu curriculum is rather small. The majority of the waza are for daito.

Regarding the creation of Shinto Muso-ryu as a result of a defeat in a training bout at the hands of Musashi, Muso Gonnosuke then underwent further martial and ascetic training, receiving a sort of divine revelation at the shrine on Mt. Homan, Fukuoka Prefecture, then sought a rematch. Supposedly, he used the oku technique, Suigetsu, to defeat Musashi's jujidome. The only record of this is an entry in the records of Tsukuba Jinja, located at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba in Ibaragi Prefecture. Whether or not this is a historical fact or not is, of course, open to discussion. Personally, I'm not so sure it matters at this point. Anybody who's seen Imai Masayuki perform Niten Ichi-ryu, or Nishioka Tsuneo Shinto Muso-ryu, must admit that it'd depend on who was on top of his game on the day Musashi and Muso met. (And I'd like to have charged money for the gate at *that* match.

Hope this helps.

Douglas Wylie
26th April 2003, 03:53
Originally posted by Meik Skoss
Mr. Wylie is incorrect in asserting that Draeger was not in favor of arts he didn't study.

I said he was biased. I also cut him slack because I understand it. He has the straight talking edge that I like and I would write my books in the same manner. This doesnt change the fact that his writings do not represent an objective gathering of facts.

For instance, in Japanese Swordsmanship- There is a photo showing the "right" way to grip the sword. The other way is shown as wrong (or avoid). Yet the "other" way is exactly what we are taught in MJER. How can it be wrong (or avoided) if it is just different. This is clearly biased in the direction of the style in the book.

I could show more incidences of bias if needed. Not right now though.(being at work, not getting much work done, and not having access to his books right now.)

He had an interesting policy about that: he'd train in something to the point of receiving a shodan

A reasonable policy.

In any event, he had great respect for all the legitimate Japanese budo. Admittedly, there were some he thought were sort of dumb -- or less than optimal -- but that didn't mean he didn't appreciate their value for what they were.

Dont read too much into what I said. I think Draeger was a bad ass. Great respect for him. I dont want to say anything bad about him. Cant take his word as gospel, though.

Regarding the creation of Shinto Muso-ryu as a result of a defeat in a training bout at the hands of Musashi

Not to get too far out of line but which of the 4 Musashi was it? See the problem I have with the letter. (I admit that he probably never meant that it be read by anyone else, which may be something completely unfair to him.)

I'm not trying to get under your skin, opinions were asked for.

Will Wetherell
26th April 2003, 18:57
Any opinions of the Cleary translation? And is it the same Cleary who did a translation of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War"?

Cheers,

Will

Bustillo, A.
28th April 2003, 16:53
Wylie, Meik, Hartman,

Good points.
Thanks for the feedback.

Daniel san
29th April 2003, 15:05
Thank you all for the help. I don't think I could have found this information anywhere else. Everyone tries to sell the particular translation/interpretation that they have. You guys are coming from a more rounded perspective. I appreciate it.:smilejapa Now, if someone would help me get a loan for all the books I need to read...;)