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Gai-Jin (Asian Saga #6)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  6,787 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Grand in scope and scale, filled with the richness and passion of two great histories coming together, Gai-jin is the long-awaited sixth novel in James Clavell's magnificent Asian Saga. Sweeping us back to the enigmatic and elusive land of his best-selling Shogun, he weaves an extraordinary tale of Japan, now newly open to gai-jin - foreigners - and teeming with contradict...more
Hardcover, 1038 pages
Published April 1st 1993 by Delacorte Press (first published 1993)
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Now I know why I didn't like this book as well - no strong central character. There are a lot of great characters & the writing is everything I've come to expect from Clavell, but every other book of his is fairly upbeat (sort of) with a great heroic, central figure. Here there isn't one. I don't know who to pin my hopes on. In this typically complex set of circumstance & motivation, it's hard to pick out the good guy. There is a huge cast, many with strange (to me since they're Japanese...more
I loved Clavell's SHOGUN, and while GAI-JIN takes great efforts to paint on-the-verge-of-Meiji Japan in great depth, this book is hardly SHOGUN. I'm on page 450 right now and feel as if everything so far could have been told in 150 pages...and I'm starting to wonder if I'll be able to get through the remaining 350. SHOGUN always opened new doors, always presented new sides to the characters and the politics...GAI-JIN just keeps treading and re-treading and re-re-treading old ground. I'm so much...more
Repetitive and unoriginal, especially when considered as part of the "Asian Saga." Don't read this if you have any basic understanding of Japanese history, have read any of Clavell's other books, or if you care about grammatical accuracy and vaguely unique characterization and dialogue.

So what made me consume 1000+ pages of this stuff? Hmm.

Well, it was promising in the beginning, I suppose. The subject itself (the decline of the shogunate and the foreign "invasion" of Japan) is interesting, and...more
Matt Crumpton
This book is my least favorite in Clavell's Asian saga.

First this is kind of a semi-sequel to both Shogun and Tai-pan. Many characters and descendents of characters and story lines and histories from the previous 2 novels can be found in Gai-jin. The novel is set in Hong Kong and Japan. The basic story is really good. The telling of the struggle between Japan and the Gai-jin (foreigners), and the internal struggle between The Japanese shogunate ( this ruling clan that gained supreme power in th...more
Austin Briggs
I admire Clavell, and would normally rate all his books as 5 out of 5. The intrigue, the complicated characters, the loyalties built and betrayed... I love that.

However, I couldn't finish Gai-Jin despite starting to read it three times over the last 10 years. I just can't make it past a certain event mid-book (can't disclose a spoiler).

I don't know what happened here. Maybe it's me, maybe it's just that the book is heavier than the usual, brilliant James Clavell. But I just can't get into it. O...more
Saya Hashimoto
Utter crapof the worst sort, like Bear and Dragon, chosen for its length alone. Full of the most facile stereotypes and misguided ideas of chivalry. Not even a decent bodice-ripper. Completely unredeemable....more
An edited version of this article was first published as Book Review: Gai-Jin by James Clavell on

This is the third book of James Clavell's Asian Saga. Two years ago, I read the first book, Shogun , and a year ago, I read the second, Tai-Pan . Both were huge mammoth books, and the third installment is nothing different.

I suppose there are times in which I sort of disliked this book, but then later I realized that I only "disliked" it because I was expecting something else. But be...more
Jan 06, 2009 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like suspenseful books.
Recommended to Karen by: No one. I read the other Noble House series
As I was cleaning my book shelves over the holidays, I discovered this wonderful book by James Clavell about the British in Japan in 1862. It is a suspenseful book with a stress that learning the language of the culture is a must. There are geisha girls, samurai soldiers, the British, French, and Japanese warriors filled with plans, wars, and doubts. Of course, there is a fascinating French girl. I couldn't put it down.

I had read most of the Noble House series, but had overlooked this one. I gue...more
I am only giving this book 3 stars as it was just a really heavy read for me. I was almost halfway through before i began to really enjoy it and the book is over 1200 pages. Historical fictional asian saga set in the 1800s when trade was begun with Japan. There were just so many characters in the novel and different factions within Japan fighting for power that I had a hard time following it and the main character was just not strong enough. Despite that there is no question James Clavell is an...more
This follows Dirk's (hero of Tai-Pan) son Cullum & his wife. I didn't like it nearly as well as any of his other books. If you like the series (Shogun, Tai-Pan) then read this once as the background helps a lot for "Nobel House". "Shogun" references are also in here. Clavell does a good job of tying his novels together.
Excellent sequil to Noble House. Another thick book that kept my attention and interest. It picks up where Noble House left off and covers the same families and rivalries.

Excellent. I remember I bought it in hard cover as soon as it came out - I had waited over 10 yrs for the sequil.
Joe Sr.
Fast from the start and never a dull moment.
Theophilus (Theo)
Fills in a little of the big time void between Taipan and King Rat. Not as good as either, but still follows the characters. Kind of wraps up Taipan after the death of Dirk Struan by following his son to Japan for more adventure and cutthroat mercantilism.
Great book! Outstanding characters and intrigue, a glimse of life in the first British settlement in Japan. Builds on the other two books, with the same characters and history. Perhaps not as exciting, but a great read none the less.
Rob Bliss
1578 pages! And Clavell can keep the tension and suspense up for most of it. But as an epic, it's going to be a while before the things certain characters want to do get done, gotta wait til the end for that. The story is told minutely, step by step. A good amount of interesting facts about 19th century Japan, as usual with Clavell.

If you've got the time and interest, read this. If you don't care about the topic, you'll maybe be bored, especially during the administrative talk, facts and forms t...more
I learned that James clavell has a way of overwhelming you with wonderful little details and action so that you can't stop reading, but there is always more.
Just finished. Now I have read each of the Asian Series of his. This is the only one I was disappointed in. Started out long, slow and complicated. Then last 300 pages it is like the author got a new, fresh idea and tried to insert it...changing the direction of the book. Then he rushed to find an end, which didn't really end. Lots of open questions.

For anyone interested in learning and laughing about history, in this case the opening of the Orient to Europeans (were American's considered Europ...more
Matt Seeker
Welp, I'm done and somehow that seems the important part. My foray into pop lit has officially hit a wall. This book did have some redeeming qualities. There a lot of moving plot machinations and torn character motivations, but the moments of badassery were separated by too many pages of stupid shit that you really don't give a flying fart about. It is also the first Clavell book I read without an western archetypal hero. This was the third book in the Asian Saga, but the last one that Clavell p...more
Webster Fortyone
It is almost impossible to summarise a James Clavell novel in a book review. They are invariably a thosand pages of narrative that spans a short period of time, packed with an ensemble cast of larger than life characters from another time, in a faraway exotic land; all of whom are battling, loving, hating, spying on, killing, plotting against and sleeping with each other.

Gai-Jin isn't as famous as Shogun but is essential reading for a true fan. It is tragic in many ways as it traces the difficu...more
Delicious Strawberry
Aside a few mistakes (contradictions with earlier novels, such as the mention of May-May being Gordon Chen's mother when in Tai-Pan, she was not, among other things), this was a decent read.

Like Tai-Pan, this plodded in some places, particularly through the later half of the book, but Clavell was rather ill and died shortly after finishing this. In my opinion, Shogun remains the best of the lot.

Like Tai-Pan, the ending disappointed me. The reason I loved Shogon so much was because Blackthorne wa...more
Like the other books of James Clavell, I borrowed this one from the library years ago. I liked his style and decided that I wanted to have his books. (Then I could take as long as I wanted, not be limited to a maximum of 6 weeks or so...) Now that I own it, I will read this one again, don't know when, but... definitely will.

Review: despite it is a good book, I liked it less than I liked shogun. For some reason it grabbed me less.
The stories told were good, the characters enjoyable, even though...more
Al Young
Having a friend who likes Clavell, I figured I should complete my list of trying out authors from the "Writers named James who write big freakin' 1000-page books (For the record, I liked Michener, though I haven't revisited him).

I hate to give up on books, but I am not even at the half-way point, and I don't think i am willing to put more time in it. Gai-Jin was Clavell's last book, and I am told it wasn't a good starting point, but I am probably not willing to try anything else.

It's got sex, dr...more
Gai-Jin (meaning 'outside person', or 'foreigner' in Japanese) is based on an actual 1862 event, known as the Namamugi Incident, in which a British national was killed, and two others wounded, by samurai on the Tokaido highway near Kanagawa for not showing the proper respect for passing Satsuma daimyo (Satsuma is a province in the south of Japan, and daimyos were local heads of government in Japan's then feudal system) . In retribution the British navy bombarded the Satsuma capital of Kagoshima....more
Johnny D
I have a little problem. See, when I start a book I always feel like I have an obligation to finish it. This wouldn't be a problem if I didn't occasionally choose mediocre books - especially mediocre books that are incredibly long and not entirely historically accurate.

I finished this one and that was an accomplishment in itself. It's loooong. Clavell can be a clumsy writer, and I feel that this book is probably the best example of his clumsiness. The book felt unedited and none of the character...more
The third in the Noble House series, Gai-Jin continues the fast-paced, thrilling saga set in Asia. This round we're back in Japan, and we see how Shogun and Tai-Pan come together. Unfortunately, it too often felt like Clavell was paid by the word, and all too often I found myself mentally wandering away from the story. I believe had Clavell shaved a good 400-500 pages from his story, this would have rated a 4 if not 4.5 stars.

The part that most interested me about this story is that it was set i...more
Richard Beasley
Picked this up in 2nd handbook shop before Christmas. Had forgotten how absorbing Clavell is.
It actually got a bit tedious and I found the development of one of the Japanese samurai warriors who ends up spying / infiltrating the Western end. The best characters are either not in it enough (Toranaga) or only referred to and never seen directly ("hag" Struan).
Good enough yo remind me how much I loved Tai-Pan and Shogun as a teenager, so James Clavell very define toy on the re-read list
European import/export traders maximize the intrigue of mid-19th century Japan while donating body parts to flashing katana, truckloads of money to geishas and armaments for the local civil war, all the while keeping up a robust feud between themselves, the Royal Navy and the Emperor's minions. Certainly, the various houses of pleasure would rate five stars from Michelin but the natives would not be given a thumbs up by any travel agencies. This book is laced with plotting, subterfuge, betrayal,...more
I am rereading all the Clavell ASIAN SAGAS...first read a lifetime ago. GAI JIN is a disappointment. Other than extending what basically is some tittle tattle as to the Struan/Brock family rivalry, it added little of interest. The book read more like a series of overlong "short" stories with tangentially related characters. Plots repeated and reexplained rather than developed. Not his best.

"A cricket with its joy-filled song,
Dies quickly anyway.
Better to be joy filled than sad."—page 619

Another very long Clavell-style epic soap opera of his Asian Saga series, GAI-JIN—the one, of the five of this series I've now read, I anticipated I'd most enjoy—turned out to be the one I liked the least. The 'epic' seemed somehow less epic, the soap-opera less compelling (too often vapid and silly), and the characters far less interesting or engaging, than in my four previo...more
OK, so this book was on crack in (mostly) the most delightful, soap opera-y way. I pretty much had no idea what was going to happen because ANYTHING COULD HAVE HAPPENED. I want to give this 4 stars but for one thing, and those who have read this book know exactly what I'm talking about -- Angelique/Ori. First of all, let me say that I appreciate how Angelique turned out to be way smarter than anyone would have suspected, which was awesome. But her irresistible vagina DID get kind of annoying. I...more
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James Clavell, born Charles Edmund Dumaresq Clavell was a British novelist, screenwriter, director and World War II veteran and POW. Clavell is best known for his epic Asian Saga series of novels and their televised adaptations, along with such films as The Great Escape, The Fly and To Sir, with Love.


James Clavell. (2007, November 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia....more
More about James Clavell...
Shōgun (Asian Saga, #3) Tai-Pan (Asian Saga, #2) Noble House (Asian Saga, #4) King Rat (Asian Saga, #1) Whirlwind (Asian Saga, #5)

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