Calligraphic manga featuring famous samurai Musashi

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Musashi Miyamoto is the famous 17th century samurai who wrote The Book of Five Rings, a classic text on martial arts and military strategy. Takehiko Inoue is the genius manga artist behind Slam Dunk, a 90s manga series about a goofy basketball player that sold 100 million copies and got an entire generation of Japanese boys hooked on the sport. Inoue's latest endeavor has been to chronicle the life of Musashi in a comic book series titled Vagabond. Instead of using a pencil, he used sumi ink and a calligraphy brush (no erasing mistakes!).

The first volume of the manga series was published in English by Viz Media last year, and this month they're publishing The Water and The Sumi, two giant volumes chock full of illustrations from the series. It's a fine collection worth owning if you're a fan of samurai or manga, or both. Image copyrighted by I.T. Planning, Inc, 2008.

( Lisa Katayama is a guest blogger.)