April 13, 2008

April 13 | Kojiro Sasaki

1585? - April 13, 1612: Age 27

Sasaki Kojiro was a famous swordsman in Japan, best known for duelling the even more famous Musashi Miyamoto. At the time, however, he was considered one of the finest swordsmen in the land, renowned for having fended off three enemies with nothing but a fan.

He and Musashi of course knew of each other, and Musashi was eager for a duel. It was arranged to take place on a remote island, probably because Kojiro had so many students that they would have killed Musashi if Kojiro were defeated.

The story goes that Musashi arrived more than three hours late, an unforgivable insult. Moreover, he used as a weapon a bokken (wooden sword) that he had fashioned from the spare oar of the boat he had rowed over. Kojiro, enraged, shouted abuse at Musashi, who simply smiled. Kojiro attacked, and struck so close that Musashi's topknot was severed. But that's as close as he got. Eventually Musashi overcame him, smashing the oar/bokken down on his head, then puncturing his lungs, killing him. It was Musashi's last fatal duel.

There are several versions of the story, and I have cobbled together a couple to make this narrative. Many conflicting details can never be proven one way or another: Kojiro's age is not known (anything from 20 to 50), some say that Musashi tricked Kojiro and assassinated him, and the whole notion of setting out for a duel with the intention of making one's weapon on the way is ridiculous. But the story has been told many times over and will continue to be told as long as we exist.

Source: Wikipedia


Ulla said...

Does this not just relate to Carole's and my exchange today at wutyl-forum? There are stories and there are truths and nobody can really tell what is what...
Chinese-Tibetans, Israeli-Palestinians, so many 'lies' and so many 'truths'. It's all plain suffering.
Its all one big (serious) joke.

Anonymous said...

I don't exactly see how the previous comment relates to the story. Sure there are many versions of history, but at least make some referrence to Kojiro/ Musashi etc.

Derek Anzalone said...

Sasaki Kojiro was my hero. I'm a real big fan(: He also apears in a lot of Japanese television I espeacialy love in the anime Yaiba when his ghost is greeted by countless fangirls. I orginaly heard about him in a novel about Musashi and from then on I became his bigest fan. I simply adore him (NO I'm not gay)

Indoproperty bsd said...

Musashi Vs Kojiro Sasaki.... Interesting story. I like stories that relate to such swordsman .