The famed swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (1584–1645) was born Shinmen Takezo in Harima Province and may have fought at Sekigahara under the Ukita as a common soldier. He claimed to have defeated his first opponent (a certain Arima Kihei) at the age of thirteen. He wrote that he engaged in sixty duels without suffering defeat once, and was noted in this regard for his skill at handling two swords at once. He was also remembered for employing a simple bamboo sword, which he used to deadly effect. Much of Musashi's life between 1600 and 1640 is the stuff of legend, and some have postulated that he served at Osaka Castle on the defending side, taking quite a few heads in the process. In a similar vein, he is sometimes said to have helped quell the Shimabara Rebellion of 1638. In 1640 Musashi accepted service with the Hosokawa clan, and three years later, in Higo Province, began work on his great book The Book of Five Rings. He finished this influential work on swordsmanship in May 1645—the same year he died.
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