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November 7, 2023 132 mins

Ever since I started History on Fire, one topic has been the most consistently requested by listeners. Over the years, I received hundreds of messages asking me to cover the life of Miyamoto Musashi. That time has come. Here we go. 

Musashi has been the subject of one of the greatest bestsellers ever written, a novel by Eiji Yoshikawa that sold over 120 million copies. And yet, the story of his life is mixed with so many myths and legends that it’s rather difficult to separate fact from fiction. He lived across the late 1500s and early 1600s, during the waning phases of the Warring States period. By that point, after over 100 years of on and off civil war, Japan was a country suffering with PTSD. Soldiers and civilians alike had all been exposed to insane amounts of bloodshed and brutality during the Sengoku Jidai. Musashi was born in the midst of that, so it’s little surprised that his is a tale filled with intensity and violence. 

In this second and final chapter of this series, I’ll explore some of the key events in the latter parts of Musashi’s life: from the siege of Osaka to the Shimabara Rebellion, from his adopting sons to his grief over the death of his daughter, from his exploration of Zen Buddhism to his writing of the Book of Five Rings, and much more! 

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