Persimmon Wind—part memoir, part martial arts history, and part
travelogue—relates Lowry's experiences as he travels to Japan to reunite with
his sensei, visit the graves of others of his martial lineage, and explore a
country and culture that profoundly influenced his life.
Lowry's account reveals a Japan unlikely to be witnessed by the average
Westerner. Drawing on his deep knowledge of the martial arts, Lowry acts as an
interpreter of sorts, deftly describing for the reader the myriad ways in which
Japan's subtle, yet rich customs and rituals inform and enrich the seemingly
mundane practices of life. On his journey, he interweaves musings from his daily
encounters—his introduction to an old ryokan-keeper; a contemplative visit to
Kyoto's Daitokuji, "Temple of Great Virtue"; he even spots a ghost or two—with
reflections on local history and the philosophies and origins of the
Shinkage-ryu, one of Japan's oldest schools of classical swordsmanship.
At the same time, Lowry's experiences in Japan serve as an unexpected
opportunity bringing him to terms with the extraordinary relationship that
exists between teacher and student, with his own past, his place in the long
line of swordsmen from whom he has come, and with the challenge he faces in
integrating the cultural streams of East and West.
One of America's foremost writers on the Japanese martial arts, Dave Lowry
has authored more than one hundred articles on the topic for the most popular
English-language magazines, including Black Belt, Fighting Arts International,
Furyu: The Budo Journal, Karate Illustrated, and Inside Karate. He has also
contributed articles on traditional Japanese culture to Winds, the in-flight
magazine of Japan Air Lines. Lowry is the author of nine books on budo,
including Persimmon Wind's prequel, Autumn Lightning: The Education of an
American Samurai. He is the food critic for St. Louis Magazine and has recently
completed work on The Connoisseur's Guide to Sushi. Lowry lives, with his wife
and son, in front of a bamboo grove near St. Louis, Missouri.