Tag: Japanese setting

Asha Lemmie’s — Fifty words for rain

Asha Lemmie’s — Fifty words for rain

A few years after the end of WW11, Noriko stands at the entrance to her grandmother’s mansion in Kyoto. Her mother has driven away, and she has no choice but to enter the property with her few belongings. Her grandmother hides her in the attic where she is ordered to stay and not venture into any other part of the house. No one should see her because she is an illegitimate child to an American father ruining the family’s prestigious name. When she is ten, her half-brother, Akiri arrives after his father’s death and her lonely life begins to improve, but will their stern grandmother allow Noriko to escape her seclusion?

Gail Tsukiyama’s — The samurai’s garden *****

Gail Tsukiyama’s — The samurai’s garden *****

In early 1938 Stephan is ill and leaves Hong Kong for Tarumi where he stays in his parents’ seaside Japanese house to recuperate. At first, he feels isolated in the village and finds Matsu who tends to his needs, too reserved, but as his health improves so does his relationship with Matsu. While he swims in the sea or paints, Stephan-san grows concerned as Japan invades China and its armies rampage south. But he forgets these worries when Matsu introduces him to his friend, Sachi who lives in Yamaguchi, a mountainside village for lepers. As the year draws to a close, is it safe for Chinese to remain in Japan? Will he be able to part from the close relationships he’s formed with Matsu and Sachi?

Ana Johns’ — The woman in the white kimono *****

Ana Johns’ — The woman in the white kimono *****

In the 1950s when U.S. servicemen were based in Japan, Naoko meets a navy officer and they soon fall in love. Naoko arranges for the sailor to meet her parents, but her family are set on her marrying Satoshi who is from a respectable Japanese family. Marrying a gaijin would bring shame on the household. Decades later, when Tori’s father is on his deathbed back in the U.S., he hands her a letter addressed to Naoko that mentions their daughter. This note, and stories her father told her in childhood from his time in Japan, send Tori on a journey to Japan in search of a sister.

Min Jin Lee’s — Pachinko *****

Min Jin Lee’s — Pachinko *****

In the early 1900s when Sunja falls pregnant, she refuses to be mistress to a wealthy man she discovers is already married. Instead she accepts an offer of marriage from a minister, and they soon leave Korea for Japan.

This is a four generational tale exploring Japan’s attitude towards Koreans as well as the family’s struggles to survive. A compelling story. And I’ve decided to reblog this exceptional book because of the current controversy on Twitter over a Nike advertisement depicting racism in Japan.