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Tokyo Seven Roses: Volume I

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'Tokyo Seven Roses' is set in Japan during the waning months of WWII and the beginning of the Occupation. It is written as a diary kept from April 1945 to April 1946 by Shinsuke Yamanaka, a fifty-three-year-old fan-maker living in Nezu, part of Tokyo's shitamachi (old-town) district. After the war, Shinsuke learns by chance that the Occupation forces are plotting a nefario 'Tokyo Seven Roses' is set in Japan during the waning months of WWII and the beginning of the Occupation. It is written as a diary kept from April 1945 to April 1946 by Shinsuke Yamanaka, a fifty-three-year-old fan-maker living in Nezu, part of Tokyo's shitamachi (old-town) district. After the war, Shinsuke learns by chance that the Occupation forces are plotting a nefarious scheme: in order to cut Japan off from its dreadful past, they intend to see that the language is written henceforth using the alphabet. To fight off this unheard-of threat to the integrity of Japanese culture, seven beautiful women - the Seven Roses - take a stand. They include Tomoe, whose husband perished in a B29 raid and whose stepfather has gone mad; Fumiko and Takeko, whose elder sister died in an air raid; Sen, another war widow; Tokiko, who lost her parents and older brother; and Kyoko and Fumiko, whose entire families were wiped out. The seven, while resentful of Japan's leaders for having lured the country down the path to war and, painfully aware of their own responsibility in being so gullible, hate the United States. They set their sights on three powerful members of the education delegation who have come to finalize official policy regarding the Japanese language. The year portrayed was a bleak and painful time for Japan. Shinsuke's diary, however, is surprisingly cheerful, filled with a wealth of details of ordinary people's openhearted lives. The author draws a lively portrait of Japanese who, despite privation, find relief in laughter.


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'Tokyo Seven Roses' is set in Japan during the waning months of WWII and the beginning of the Occupation. It is written as a diary kept from April 1945 to April 1946 by Shinsuke Yamanaka, a fifty-three-year-old fan-maker living in Nezu, part of Tokyo's shitamachi (old-town) district. After the war, Shinsuke learns by chance that the Occupation forces are plotting a nefario 'Tokyo Seven Roses' is set in Japan during the waning months of WWII and the beginning of the Occupation. It is written as a diary kept from April 1945 to April 1946 by Shinsuke Yamanaka, a fifty-three-year-old fan-maker living in Nezu, part of Tokyo's shitamachi (old-town) district. After the war, Shinsuke learns by chance that the Occupation forces are plotting a nefarious scheme: in order to cut Japan off from its dreadful past, they intend to see that the language is written henceforth using the alphabet. To fight off this unheard-of threat to the integrity of Japanese culture, seven beautiful women - the Seven Roses - take a stand. They include Tomoe, whose husband perished in a B29 raid and whose stepfather has gone mad; Fumiko and Takeko, whose elder sister died in an air raid; Sen, another war widow; Tokiko, who lost her parents and older brother; and Kyoko and Fumiko, whose entire families were wiped out. The seven, while resentful of Japan's leaders for having lured the country down the path to war and, painfully aware of their own responsibility in being so gullible, hate the United States. They set their sights on three powerful members of the education delegation who have come to finalize official policy regarding the Japanese language. The year portrayed was a bleak and painful time for Japan. Shinsuke's diary, however, is surprisingly cheerful, filled with a wealth of details of ordinary people's openhearted lives. The author draws a lively portrait of Japanese who, despite privation, find relief in laughter.

30 review for Tokyo Seven Roses: Volume I

  1. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Sherriff

    This was part fascinating and part infuriating. Fascinating because Inoue really brought home what it was like to be a civilian in Tokyo in the final days of the war, yet wrote with a sense of humour that was both surprising and at times deeply moving. When our hero diarist loses his eldest daughter to an incendiary bomb, I cried. And when our hero is branded a thought criminal by the neighbourhood block chairman and carted off to jail to craft suitably patriotic mottos extolling the righteousne This was part fascinating and part infuriating. Fascinating because Inoue really brought home what it was like to be a civilian in Tokyo in the final days of the war, yet wrote with a sense of humour that was both surprising and at times deeply moving. When our hero diarist loses his eldest daughter to an incendiary bomb, I cried. And when our hero is branded a thought criminal by the neighbourhood block chairman and carted off to jail to craft suitably patriotic mottos extolling the righteousness of the Japanese Imperial cause, in reality because our hero refused to sell the chairman his three-wheeled truck (it's a long story), I seethed with the protagonist at the hypocrisy and injustice of it all. Oh, and Abiko (my home) was mentioned a couple of times too, so that was interesting too. But it was infuriating because it was only in the final pages that the plot and hook of the whole book actually appeared. So now I'm finished with Volume 1, I realise it was all just set up to buy the second volume. I would dock Volume 1 a couple of stars for this annoyance, but it was so expertly written and translated, so evocative of the postwar world, it would be an injustice to give it anything less than 5 stars. I'll just have to get my hands on Volume 2 as soon as possible. Download my starter library for free here - http://eepurl.com/bFkt0X - and receive my monthly newsletter with book recommendations galore for the Japanophile/crime fiction/English teacher in all of us.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel JLM

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sirrka

  4. 4 out of 5

    Waltraud84

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris Kiraly

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fluffy Pants

  7. 5 out of 5

    Blue

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melon109

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jasmin.M ياسمين منصور

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eadweard

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Tam

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melody

  15. 4 out of 5

    Thegreatreader

  16. 5 out of 5

    Martina Forasacco

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bill Johnston

  18. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Albertini

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sae-chan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alana Picone

  21. 4 out of 5

    Drew

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marie-Therese

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rod Van Meter

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wondarer

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  26. 4 out of 5

    Errol

  27. 4 out of 5

    Miki Saito

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nadia Kim

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jay Green

  30. 4 out of 5

    谷口梨沙

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