An Unintentional Trilogy

I recently finished reading Eiji Yoshikawa’s book “TAIKO”.  I had read his book “MUSASHI” several years ago.  “MUSASHI” was a fictional account of the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi.  I read a comment once saying the book “MUSASHI” is considered the “GONE WITH THE WIND” of Japan. I’m not sure about that but it has been made into a series of movies and TV shows in Japan.  I liked the book and came across another book by Yoshikawa called “TAIKO” and finally got around to reading it.  It is also a historical fiction about not just Toyotomi Hideyoshi who became the Taiko but also about Oda Nobunaga and Tokogawa Ieyasu.  Again, I enjoyed the book.  It ends with Hideyoshi becoming Taiko (after the death of Nobunaga) and there is a short afterward about how after Hideyoshi’s death, Tokogawa eventually came to power.  Another book on my shelf that I am just now about to finish is “SHOGUN” by James Clavell.  This was made into a mini-series many years ago which I actually never got around to watching. Anyway, as I got into the book “SHOGUN” I realized Clavell was writing in his historical fiction what took place after Yoshikawa’s book ended.  He is basically continuing on with the story after the Taiko has died and how Tokogawa comes to power.  He also uses the term Taiko. He has changed the names of the real people: Hideyoshi is named Nakamura, Nobunaga is named Goroda, and Tokogawa is Toranaga who is the main subject of the book, the man who becomes Shogun.  (Blackthorne, the hero, is the English ship pilot and is sort of the main character).

The thing is, at the end of “SHOGUN” there is also short afterword. It mentions how the great battle of Sekigahara takes place and Toranaga (or Tokogawa) wins and thus becomes Shogun. What’s neat is that “MUSASHI” begins at the battle of Sekigahara.  Musashi fought on the losing side. So what you have basically is a trilogy written by two different authors. I don’t think James Clavell intended this but it works out that way.

Start with TAIKO, then read SHOGUN, then finish off with MUSASHI.

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