Today, many people know of Japanese Samurai Swords and their legendary beauty, efficiency, and craftsmanship. However, they aren't exactly aware of one of the greatest influences on Japan and Samurai culture. Miyamoto Musashi is one of the most famous Japanese swordsmen and Samurai to ever unsheathe a blade. His Samurai Swords were known for their size, strength, and artistic elegance. But to stall there in remembering the man and his weaponry would be a great injustice to just how strongly both sword and man impacted the history of Japan and the Samurai. Here are four areas where, even today, the legend of Miyamoto Musashi Samurai Swords can be seen and felt:
Beauty and craftsmanship: With a slick curvature and a modest grip, the light yet deadly blades of Miyamoto Musashi's Samurai Swords are too beautiful and finely crafted to be as fearsome as they are. Like a siren song, it is a thing of elegance, which must be respected. Just as Miyamoto Musashi took great time and care with his techniques, so, too, must one respect this advanced piece of weaponry. But that does not stop the fact that of all Japanese Samurai Swords, these remain the most famous, not only for their look, but also for the legend their creator carved with his 60-plus successful duels.
Warfare: Miyamoto Musashi is said to have fought his first duel while just 13 years old. It is said that he cut down a brash, arrogant opponent that day before continuing a life of warfare and bloodshed that was tempered only by his great respect for knowledge, technique, strategy, and culture. His long sword technique is one of his most famous, as it teaches through the use of the Daito (or long sword) and Wakizashi (known for shorter blade length), how to defend oneself through fluid motion and calm control.
Religion: What we know today about Musashi's religious beliefs comes from his "Book of Five Rings," a treatise on his travels, experience, and philosophies. He doesn't appear to disrespect any religion, but does state that man should not depend on the gods for his deliverance in times of war. In a sense, man is to forge his own path and not rely on the providence of supreme beings to find favor in the eyes of nature and the world at large. "...these things [religious teachings] are not to be found in the Way of the Warrior," he writes.
Literature: While his famous "Book of Five Rings" remains one of the greatest texts ever written on the craft of swordsmanship, Musashi's influence on literature and popular culture does not end there. Since his birth and death, he has been the subject of many different films, TV shows, books, and traditions; in an indirect sense, his mark is felt even further in the many different works pertaining to the Samurai which have come and gone over the years.
The man's life cannot be separated from the legend of his Samurai Swords. They defined him and have since defined the entire world of Japanese Samurai Swords, which continues to capture our attentions and imaginations even today, through people in every culture. And the end will not come any time soon!