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Japan

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Nefret
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Post by Nefret » Fri October 2nd, 2009, 3:17 am

[quote=""annis""]Just remembered another couple I enjoyed- "Cloud of Sparrows" and its sequel "Autumn Bridge", by Takashi Matsuoka. They're set in 19th century Japan, and revolve around a group of American missionaries sent to Japan.[/quote]

Yes, I really liked Cloud of Sparrows. But haven't read the sequel yet.

Chris Little
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Post by Chris Little » Thu April 22nd, 2010, 7:01 am

Of the dozen or so novels set in historic Japan I've read, my second favorite to "Shogun" is "Daishi-san" by Robert Lund. It is told in the first person by Will Adams, the historic figure Clavell used to create Blackthorn. The first half of "Daishi-san" works well as a prequel for "Shogun," taking place in England, starting with Adams childhood, including vignettes about the Armada, Drake, and Elizabeth. The second half of the story, a more accurate historical interpretation of Adams' relationship with the Shogun, ends with the death of both the Shogun and Adams.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Thu April 22nd, 2010, 7:09 am

[quote=""Chris Little""]Of the dozen or so novels set in historic Japan I've read, my second favorite to "Shogun" is "Daishi-san" by Robert Lund. It is told in the first person by Will Adams, the historic figure Clavell used to create Blackthorn. The first half of "Daishi-san" works well as a prequel for "Shogun," taking place in England, starting with Adams childhood, including vignettes about the Armada, Drake, and Elizabeth. The second half of the story, a more accurate historical interpretation of Adams' relationship with the Shogun, ends with the death of both the Shogun and Adams.[/quote]

That sounds really interesting. thanks chris.

Chatterbox
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Post by Chatterbox » Fri April 23rd, 2010, 7:40 pm

David Mitchell's new book (he wrote Cloud Atlas) focuses on shogunate Japan, through the eyes of foreigners. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the title. I found Cloud Atlas a tough read stylistically, but may still give this one a try bec. of the subject matter.

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Ariadne
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Post by Ariadne » Fri April 23rd, 2010, 8:50 pm

I loved Thousand Autumns, though the style didn't capture me at first. It started out very slangy, almost jocular, and I wondered how seriously to take it. I'd never read Mitchell before, but what he's best at -- so I've heard, and it's true with regard to this book -- is adapting dialogue and style to suit his characters. "Literary ventriloquism" is how another reviewer put it. It's chock full of great information on late 17th-century Japan, too, especially with respect to its limited trade with the outside world.

Chatterbox
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Post by Chatterbox » Sat April 24th, 2010, 1:09 am

Thanks Ariadne; I may end up buying it (didn't choose it from Vine), but will take a look at it first. Don't want to invest if I end up stymied by the style.

Another thought - The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki. Much more recent -- circa 1940s/1950s, as I recall -- but brilliant about social change in that era in Japan. A wonderful novel. There's also Ibuse's "Black Rain", with a plot revolving around the "hibakusha", or victims of the Hiroshima bomb. Bleak, but again a wonderful novel.

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emr
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Post by emr » Sat May 22nd, 2010, 12:30 pm

[quote=""annis""]
More recently I've enjoyed the series "Tales of the Otori" by Lian Hearn, strictly speaking fantasy, but she really capture the Japanese spirit.[/quote]

Arent Tales of the Otori written in first person? I think that's the reason that keeps me from buying every time somebody recommende them.
I was in Japan for 10 days 3 years ago and you learn to love every aspect of it. Its an unforgettable country.
"So many books, so little time."
— Frank Zappa

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Rubrius
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Favourite HF book: The Earth is the Lord's, by Taylor Caldwell - fascinating account of the youth of Chingis Khan
Preferred HF: Like the whole breadth of history, but am partial to the ancient Mediterranean and Feudal Japan
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Re: Japan

Post by Rubrius » Fri September 1st, 2017, 8:57 pm

this is an old thread, but what the heck...

'Musashi' and 'Taiko' - two novels by Eiji Yoshikawa, one of Japan's premier historical novelists. The first is the definitive account of the life of famed swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, the second follows the rise to supreme power of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Both very epic in scope.

Although not QUITE history, as names and events are jumbled about (Clavell did the same), you might like Robert Shea's duology 'Time of the Dragons' and 'Last of the Zinja' , loosely based on the Genpei War between the Taira and Minamoto clans in the 11th century CE. The original tale, Heike Monogotari is the Japanese Iliad.

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