Miyamoto Musashi
Cast:
Yakusho Koji: Miyamoto Musashi
Kotegawa Yuko: Otsu
Okuda Eiji: Hon'iden Matahachi
Ikegami Kimiko: Akemi
Naka Koji: Sasaki Kojiro
Takewaki Muga: Yagyu Munenori
Kusabue Mitsuko: Oko
Ishizaka Koji: Honami Kouetsu
Tsugawa Masahiko: Takuan Sousho
Nishimura Akira: Yagyu Sekishusai
Tanba Tetsuro: Hirata Munisai

Mitsue Suzuki: Osugi
Based on "Miyamoto Musashi, a novel by Yoshikawa Eiji

Produced by Shibuya Yasuo

Scinario: Sugiyama Gihou

Music: Saegusa Nariaki



" Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai --without really knowing what it meant -- he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed and wounded among thousands of dead and dying.  On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive and brings life in his own village to a standstill -- until he is captured by a weaponless Zen monk.
 
The lovely Otsu, seeing in Musashi her ideal of manliness, frees him from his tortuous punishment, but he is recaptured and imprisoned.  During three years of solitary confinement, he delves into the classics of Japan and China.  When he is set free again, he rejects the position of samurai and for the next several years pursues his goal relentlessly, looking neither to left nor to right.

Ever so slowly it dawns on him that following the Way of the Sword is not simply a matter of finding a target for his brute strength.  Continually striving to perfect his technique, which leads him to a unique style of fighting with two swords simultaneously, he travels far and wide, challenging fighters of many disciplines, taking nature to be his ultimate and severest teacher and undergoing the rigorous training of those who follow the Way.  He is supremely successful in his encounters, but in the Art of War he perceives the way of peaceful and prosperous governance and disciplines himself to be a real human being.

He becomes a reluctant hero to a host of people whose lives he has touched and been touched by.  And inevitably, he has to put his skill against the naked blade of his greatest rival. ....."



A partial synopsis based on  "Musashi", translated from the Japanese by Charles S. Terry. (Kodansha International)
       Pymmik's comment on Koji Yakusho's "Miyamoto Musashi"
                                  (January 1, 2003)

"Miyamoto Musashi", in which Koji Yakusho played the title role, was an NHK's one-year TV serial drama from April 4, 1984 to March 13, 1985.

Unfortunately I did not watch this drama in those days, but judging from the postings on the message boards of Koji Yakusho fan sites, I gather that most of the present, keen Koji Yakusho fans fell in love with Yakusho when this drama began. It is quite astonishing that they have cherished this great love for Yakusho as Musashi until now.  It seems that Musashi's lonely, sincere and stoic way of life appealed to many young sensitive hearts.

The great news for such Yakusho fans is that the selected outline version of a DVD (region 2) and a set of videos started selling from December 18, 2002. Now we can see numerous messages praising Yakusho's superb acting as Musashi on those message boards.

Of course I bought the DVD and watched it.  But for those who watched the drama every week from 1984 to 1985 and for myself, the selected version is not fully satisfying. I was able to watch almost all the episodes of the original version last year, thanks to the two Yakusho fans, who recorded the original version.

I can now understand how they felt when they watched Yakusho as Musashi. His eye expression was marvellous: his penetrating look clearly showed Musashi's feelings of anger, pain, anxiety, disappointment, affection, gentleness and sincerity.  His gradual change - from a wild and ignorant young boy to a rather philosophical, learned and disciplined man - was very impressive.

Otsu's passionate love toward Musashi was really moving, as was Musashi's quiet and stoic love toward Otsu.  Yakusho's fighting skills using two swords was breathtakingly fearsome and yet beautiful!

Certainly, Koji Yakusho' Musashi  will long be remembered by his fans, together with his role as Oda Nobunaga, which he played in the NHK's one year TV program, "Tokugawa Ieyasu", released in 1983.   

                  











(NHK TV: 1984-1985)
The following is Pymmik's translation of a part of Koji Yakusho's interview given in April, 1984, just after the "Miyamoto Musashi" drama started on NHK TV:


" I'd like to share Musashi's experiences and the development of his mind as if it were my own. It will be great if, as the story of Musashi develops, I'm able to improve both my own acting and character. Musashi's way of thinking may sound rather philosophical, but I would also like to emphasize his purity, as well as his simplicity and good-naturedness as a country man."

(Based on the report in the May 1984 issue of "the Rekishi Dokuhon", published by Shin jimbutsu Orai sha).

Koji Yakusho's singing about Miyamoto Musashi was heard twice toward the end of the two episodes.
  He is a very good singer.

This is Pymmik's translation of the song, entitled, "Dokugyoudou" (My Lonely Path)

 
Facing the mountain, I make an oath; and facing the sea, I pray.
  Passionate thoughts scorch my bosom.
  Some mock my way, but there is no other way.
  Who knows the strength and the heart of the wind, running through the earth?
  Who scared?
  I'll just go on walking along,
  Oh my lonely path!
  Chest out! Raise your eyes!
  Days for fighting!
  Even though wounded half-way through my dreams,
  I'm determined to go on, all alone.

   On You Tube, you can listen to
Koji snging this song!
To the Comment Page
The first half (24 episodes) of the complete version of "Miyamoto Musashi" DVD (Region 2) is available.
The second half  of the complete version of "Miyamoto Musashi" DVD (Region 2) is now on sale from February 25, 2005.
You Tube: Miyamoto Musashi
updated on August 28, 2011
You Tube: Musashi and Otsu