Miyamoto Musashi was born around 1584 into a samurai family in
Harima province. His mother died soon after his birth, so he was
raised by his step-mother and then his uncle, a monk from the
Shoreian temple. While staying with his uncle, he was taught Zen
Buddhisma and basic reading and writing. He had his first duel at
the age of thirteen and went on to have 59 more, claiming never to
have lost a single one. He completed his influential book on
swordsmanship in May 1645, the year he died.
Victor Harris (1942-2017) was an experienced kendoka, an expert on the Japanese sword (President of the Token Society of Great Britain), and head of the Japanese Department of the British Museum. He translated The Book of Five Rings into English for the first time.