EPISODE 102: The Lone Samurai, Miyamoto Musashi (Part 1)

History on Fire

“All warfare is based on deception.” — Sun Tzu 

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 first of two episodes, I’ll dive in to make sense of the contradictory evidence available: from his childhood marred by a terrible relationship with his father to his possible participation in the uber-famous battle of Sekigahara, from his first duel to the death at the age of 13 to his conflicts with the Yoshioka family and with Sasaki Kojiro, and much more! 

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Also, thank you to St. John’s College for sponsoring this episode. Please, check out https://www.sjc.edu/podcast 

If you’d like to go to Japan for a historical tour with yours truly as a guide, please check out https://geeknationtours.com/tours/signature-battlefield-series-classic-samurai-from-the-gempei-war-to-the-mongol-invasions-2023/

Shoutout to the podcast Echoes of History, a deep dive into history Inspired by Ubisoft’s famous video game series Assassin’s Creed. Check it out wherever you listen to podcasts. 

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