I recently had the pleasure of viewing and completing the NHK J-Drama series, “Musashi”. This is a 49 episode, one hour historical drama that is based around the life story of Takezo, who is more famously known by the name Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi is by no means a perfect person, his journey is one of discovery and much emotion. Musashi is very much an emotional individual, and his journey is one of understanding his own emotions and that of others. As he grew up virtually alone, he has a deep seated need to be strong so that he can live on his own, and is driven initially by anger. Throughout his journey he deals with many other emotions: fear, loneliness, learning to laugh and enjoy life, respect, and revenge. Watching the show it always seems as if Musashi’s emotions are ready to overflow. Each experience and encounter Musashi has develops him as a person and shapes him as the series goes on.
Musashi is not the only great character. What makes this series a great one is each character is flawed. Characters that provide guidance to Musashi often have tragedies in their lives to give them the perspective they have. At times the teachers becomes the students. Other times, despite their wisdom, those closest to them chose not to listen. Other characters lead tragic lives, often the only thing they have control of is when they decide to take their own life. Otsu and Matahachi, childhood friends of Musashi, also show a lot of growth as they try to find their paths in life.
Another thing that is interesting to note is there is a definite Zen Buddhism undertone throughout the series. Getting rid of desire, enjoying and treasuring what you have, and appreciating each day as the sun rises and sets. As each day in life brings the unknown and one could die any day, as we live in a state of impermanence.
All in all it was a very satisfying series with a lot of great characters and some good twists and turns.