Persimmon Wind by Dave Lowry

Persimmon Wind: A Martial Artist's Journey in Japan.
By Dave Lowry
Published by Koryu Books, 2014.
US$19.95 (+shipping).
ISBN: 978-1-890536-08-4.
288 p. 6" x 9" paperback.
New Kindle edition: Persimmon Wind: A Martial Artist's Journey in Japan
Other books by Dave Lowry at
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The hardcover edition of Persimmon Wind is now out-of-print, but we now have a new paperback edition.

I've been an enormous fan of this book ever since it came out in 1998. It is simply the best description of the experience of training in the koryu that exists, so I was at first dismayed when Tuttle let it go out of print. When I realized that I now had the opportunity to create my own edition, I jumped at the chance. The book has been totally redesigned to better reflect the tone of Lowry's writing; errors have been corrected. The resulting hardcover presentation is, I hope you will agree, a version that does justice to this wonderful tale of a martial arts pilgrimage.

If you're interested in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, Japanese history, or just classical Japanese martial arts in general, you really need to read this book. It's also a great book for giving to close friends and family members who can't fathom why we spend our time doing these things; it's literate and lyrical, and quite different from your average American martial arts fare. But don't take my word for it; here are comments from some experts in the field... (along with my original 1998 review below).

"An engaging, provocative, and long-awaited sequel to Autumn Lightning... Dave Lowry is a latter-day Lafcadio Hearn with a bokuto!"

Karl Friday, author of Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan and co-author of Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryu and Samurai Martial Culture

"Like fine wine, good writing only gets better with aging. Likewise, Dave Lowry's Persimmon Wind has garnered a richer, more complex taste over the years since its first publication. And like a good vintner, Diane Skoss has nurtured and reedited this wonderful book for a new generation of serious, dedicated budoka to enjoy. May they find even more textual complexity, sweetness and bittersweet wonder as I did when I first read the book!"

Wayne Muromoto, editor, Furyu: the Budo Magazine

"In Persimmon Wind, nature and culture form an unbroken unity. Dave Lowry has managed to bypass the oppressive grey of urban Japan and the glitz of neon and technology. It is as if he found a single meandering thread of purity, and this, alone he followed. Village festivals, tea ceremony, even martial arts are part of a single organic unity, not hobbies used to either pass the time or get one in touch with something lost. It is not all of Japan, by any stretch of the imagination. But it is what makes it Japan."

Ellis Amdur, author of Dueling with O-sensei and Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions

If you can't get to Japan to do your training, buy this book and read it. It's the next best thing to being there! Honestly, this is the book I wish I could have written. Dave Lowry has managed to accurately capture in exquisite detail the Japan martial arts experience.

Persimmon Wind tells the story of Lowry's visit to his Japanese teacher in Japan some twenty years after his teacher had returned to his native country. Describing his journey to his sensei's home (by way of Tokyo and Suwa), he interweaves musings on his daily encounters--with the old ryokan-keeper who owned a precious bokken, with a typhoon, and even perhaps a ghost or two--with reflections on local history that are sure to both entertain and educate.

We're fortunate to be able to present here at an illustrated excerpt from a couple of my favorite chapters, "Yagyu Village" and "Obligations."

Diane Skoss

©1998-2005 Koryu Books. All rights reserved.

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Classical Japanese Martial Arts
Last modified on January 4, 2018
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Classical Japanese Martial Arts