Deadliest Fiction Wiki

Some critics hold the view that Sasaki Kojiro's ability with the sword was superior to Musashi's, who was able to defeat him only by having recourse to a trick or a tactic.
— Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings, by Kenji Tokitsu

Sasaki Kojiro, also known as Ganryu, was a prominent swordsman in Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries. He is most famous for his rivalry with Miyamoto Musashi, which culminated in a duel that ended in in Sasaki's death.

Little is known of Sasaki's early life before his training in swordsmanship. He was trained by either Kanemaki Jisai or Toda Seigen, and came to master the use of the nodachi, or the long sword. After defeating his master's younger brother in a duel, Sasaki left to form his own school of swordfighting. His reputation grew, and he eventually became the chief weapons master of a minor lord.

Two years later, Sasaki's exploits caught the attention of famed duelist Miyamoto Musashi, who requested a duel with him. Sasaki agreed, and they set a remote island as the location for the duel.

According to legend, Miyamoto used many psychological tactics to annoy and frustrate Sasaki, such as arriving three hours late, insulting him, and forcing him to wait even longer while he carved an oar into a wooden sword. By the time Miyamoto finished, the sun was setting and facing in Sasaki's direction, blinding him. Regardless of whether these legends are true, Miyamoto won the duel, and killed Sasaki by puncturing his lungs with his wooden sword.