Originally published in Japanese in 1959, this classic novel by Yasushi Inoue takes place during the Japanese Warring Era (1467-1573)-a time when Japan was ruled by three young powerful warlords: Takeda Shingen, Iwagawa Yoshimoto, and Hojo Ujiyasu. The story focuses on Takeda Shingen and his one-eyed, crippled strategist, Yamamoto Kansuke. The brilliant strategies of Kansuke, inspired by his passion for war and his admiration for his enemies' war tactics, are beautifully expressed throughout this book.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: Riviting Historical Drama Comment: I have to say I truly enjoyed this book from cover to cover. If you enjoy Japanese History, or stories of Samurai, I highly recommend this book! While little is truly known about Legendary Ronin Yamamoto Kansuke, to the point many use to ask if he even existed, this book almost makes you feel as if you know him, and you feel for him. This book offers an exciting look via fictional accounts of the real life battes at Kawanakajima between Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin, through the eyes of Yamamoto Kansuke. I give this book an A+! Customer Rating: Summary: Genuine and Compelling Comment: The Samurai Banner of Furin Kazan has, more or less, the effect that The Da Vinci Code had on me. It absorbs you into the Sengoku era and creates a simulation of how life was back then, except that you feel what certain characters felt up-close and personal. This is a must-read especially for those interested in Takeda's golden era. Don't miss it! Customer Rating: Summary: disappointing, weak plot with many weak characters Comment: This was written in 1958, so it is a modern portrayal of medieval Japan. It presents a main character - a master strategist - who usually has no idea where his good ideas come from, or why he feels so strongly that something should be done, which doesn't make for a very interesting story - there is little development of ideas or reasoning, just sudden intuition. Although he is quite successful militarily, he is totally clueless when it comes to women, and winds up obsessed with putting the children of concubines into positions of power without regard to the needs of the clan as a whole - the clan which he professes to love so deeply.
While this is presented as historical fiction, it is not, as far as I can tell, historically accurate in many ways. It presents Shingen's decision to become a monk as a move to placate his concubines by becoming celibate which seems ridiculous, and it portrays Uesugi Kenshin as the only aggressor in their wars, which I doubt is true. It dramatically understates the ruthlessness of the rulers of this period - Takeda Shingen forced one of his own sons to commit suicide and had criminals boiled alive.
If you are looking for a rousing tale of strategy, intrigue and warfare I think you'll be disappointed, and the book doesn't shed as much light on sengokujidai Japan as I had hoped. A weak plot with two dimensional characters.
Customer Rating: Summary: The Samurai Banner of Fu Rin Ka Zan Comment: It is not as easy to find good samurai literaure as one would imagine.
This book- 'The Samurai Banner of Fu Rin Ka Zan' by Yasushi Inoue would be a delightfully fascinating find for anyone truly interested in the genre.
It is written in a such a way that one can visualize the story as vividly as if watching a well made, well acted movie epic, and it is just as engaging. One does not need any previous knowlewdge about who Takeda Shingen or Yamamoto Kantsuke were for one to get drawn into the plot.
It is surely informative, but it is also fun to read, and at the end it leaves the reader wanting for more.
I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Customer Rating: Summary: A Gem of A Read Comment: Although a work of historical fiction, this novel provides an insightful look into one of the most interesting characters during the Sengoku Jidai,Takeda Shingen. It is sad that very little is offered in English regarding the life of one of the most talented generals and administrators of the Warring States Era in the form of a historical text. However, this book allows us to understand the uniqueness of this famous daimyo and one of the key figures that was instrumental in his rise to power:Yamamoto Kansuke. Even less information is available in English regarding this obscure individual, save for his involvement in the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima. However, amongst Japanese history enthusiasts, Kansuke was the intelligence behind the Takeda and their rise to power during this turbulent era. Kansuke's loyalty to his young lord is similar to that of an overbearing father offering unwanted guidance to a son as he ventures out to battle, whether it is on the field, his own seat of government, or his love affairs. The character of Kansuke is truly an intriguing one, and especially Inoue's depiction of him makes this novel well worth the read.
To supplement your enjoyment of this book, I would also recommend reading Kawanakajima 1553-1564 by Stephen Turnbull.