In This Living Body

BY Seiho - M.J. Sullivan


Has he been brought to Japan to be trained as an assassin; or is his mission even darker? Does the secretive Senkyo sect control powerful Yamazaki Industries which pays him well, but requires little? And does the beautiful Hanako appear suddenly to help or to undermine his training?


Deep within the Japanese martial arts is a rarely revealed mystical core. Why then would it recruit a young American, skilled in karate and Zen, but only beginning to master the language? He must practice stringently, focusing on his sensei's mountain quest into a forbidden art. There, he too, will discover and master the veiled secrets of astonishing powers.


Prize-winning author M.J. Sullivan takes us on a surreal journey into a secret world that challenges our beliefs about Time, Death and Love.



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PRAISE FOR "In This Living Body"


            “It’s wise and compassionate and well-written ― very contemporary . . . holds up well to Cormac McCarthy .  .  .  .”

Peter Meinke,

 Flannery O’Connor and O Henry Prize-winning

author of Unheard Music and The Piano Tuner


            “Beautiful.  Profound.  Compelling.  .  .  .  (the) tightly controlled voice, the Japanese tonalities, the understatement, the  discipline ― writing like the Zen practice described.”

Bill Baynes

author of Bunt


            “.  .  .  .  both an enjoyable read and an education on the subject of Zen.    (The) characters are artfully drawn (by) a writer .  .  .  conscious of the workings of the human mind.”

 Delia Quigley

author of Empowering your Life with Meditation


            “.  .  . profound and deep.  . . images so sharp and clear .  .  .  I can envisage this book being translated into a sensitively done movie, filmed in Japan with English subtitles.”

Milan Mihal,

Professor Emeritus, Asian Art History, Vanderbilt University


“In eloquent detail and a highly sensitive and delicate manner.  .  .  . a wonderful, mystical story of faith, discipline and honor, told beautifully by a master storyteller.”

Dr. Maung Gyi,

author of Bando: Philosophy, Principles and Practice;

Professor Emeritus, Communications, Ohio University


            “.  .  . an account of a life-changing encounter with Zen Buddhism in the context of traditional Japanese culture .  .  .  . I realize that this is a book that I will re-read, and re-read.”

Charles W. Swain, Professor Emeritus of Religions,

former Director of the Asian Studies Program,

 Florida State University


            “. . . suberbly written. . . . a must-read for serious students. . . . a must-read for my students, past, present and future.”

Hanshi Ron Carlson, 10th Dan

Gow-Ren-Lu Kempō & Gung Fu

Founder & Director, Kempō First Foundation


            “ . . . expresses the essence of . . . truth in budō . . . a necessary reading requirement for all my students . . . .”   

Jason May,

Kaicho of  Nanshō Kempō-Jūjutsu and Nanshō Budōkan.


            “. . . required reading for all of my students. A must read for all those interested in traditional martial arts and Zen.”

Shihan Brian T. Mascola 6th Dan
Shorinjiryu Kenbukai Karate – dō




Before a dramatic mid-life course correction while in Japan, young Michael Justin Sullivan had been a sailing captain, delivering yachts from the Northeast to Fort Lauderdale, the Bahamas and beyond into the Caribbean. These were the last days of canvas sail, teak decks and navigating by sextant, a time in the ‘50s and ‘60s when Ft. Lauderdale was still a sleepy Florida city and there were but a few paved roads on the Out Islands.


This is the era captured by Three-Strand Cordage, a novel of one man’s life in three interwoven tales. Against the tranquil background of this vanished era, he finds himself caught up in kidnapping and a murderous shootout, deceived and betrayed in a gun-smuggling plot by anti-Castro Cubans, and fleeing from drug smugglers with his daughter, only to sail into Hurricane Agnes.


In his mid-30s, M.J. Sullivan became a champion Japanese swordsman. As Seiho his calligraphy has twice won the Kampō Prize, as well as the prestigious Nippon Shuji Prize.
His novel, In This Living Body, is twinned with his Shingyō: Reflections on Translating the Heart Sutra, both now available on Amazon.


With a Masters in Asian Studies, three of his calligraphy workbooks have been published in Japan. His classic book on Japanese swordsmanship, Sword and Psyche, led to WAZA, his first novel about Japanese Buddhism and the martial arts, which received the CoVisions Recognition Award for Literature in 1994.


Now primarily a literary author, he still teaches the Zen of swordsmanship and custom brushes calligraphy for clients and collectors from his studio in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.