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Gai-Jin (Asian Saga: Chronological Order #3)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  9,640 Ratings  ·  288 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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(showing 1-30)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”So easy to be swallowed up, by the weather and gardens, kind skies and tender rain, best music, poetry, exotic foods, abundant silks and clothes makers, exquisite carp and singing birds, the alabaster-skinned beauties of the court, and of Kyoto’s Floating World,...without a care in the world except to seek the next pleasure.”

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After conquering China, the traders of Europe are now focused on opening up trade relations with Japan. They are perched precariously on the edge of the Islands in a small
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
Mar 09, 2010 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
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
Jun 09, 2011 Jeruen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 29, 2008 Danielle rated it it was ok
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
Feb 15, 2016 Zip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Another wonderful, long, rich, full and fascinating historical novel by Clavell loosely based on historical events. Again complex and interesting characters, and a combination of politics, business, intrigues and personal stories. The story line I found most interesting here was the romance, or maybe better described as the family melodrama, that gladly took a big part of the book. Since this books is set in the middle of the Asiatic saga there were descendants and ancestors of beloved
M Strawberry Reviews
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
Jan 06, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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
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
Saya Hashimoto
May 31, 2009 Saya Hashimoto rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Utter crap of 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.
Mar 05, 2016 Lia rated it liked it
Five stars when the stories centered on the Japanese characters. One star when the stories centered on the European characters. Totally not at the same level as Tai-Pan.
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
Изключително милото посвещение на господин Клавел не помогна за по-нататъшното разбирателство с книгата, опасявам се.
Не успях да намеря психическата сила и нужните нерви, за да довърша тази книга по нормален начин. Причините - японските думи и изрази, въпросителните около имената на китайците, френският и изключително разводнената история. Цялото това нещо можеше да се случи и в един том от 500 страници...

Проблемът започна още от заглавието, макар че се надявах да си остане там. Нямам никаква пр
Nov 27, 2014 Honza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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

Okay, that's a bit harsh. I was just starting to get a bit sick of it as I had been reading it for so long.

As usual with Clavell's Asian Saga, the book is meticulously researched and intricately plotted, so it almost feels like you're actually there. However, again as usual, the plot itself is more a slice of life or sample stretch of events so there is no real resolution. The number of important characters in this book is greater than Shogun, which means you have to get a lot further i
Ryan Anderson
Not as good as Shogun, but similar in many ways: lots of characters, lots of intrigue and culture clashes and translation issues. However, where Shogun had one main character this one had a bunch (10?) so it was less compelling. I found myself looking forward to being finished. Still, I am incredibly impressed with the author for keeping track of so many convoluted plots and schemes between all the characters.

Also, I listened to this as an audiobook and the reader (who I recognized from other a
Rob Bliss
Feb 10, 2014 Rob Bliss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 09, 2012 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Frank Pinelander
Oct 12, 2012 Frank Pinelander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is typical Clavell - intricately woven with very deep character development and many surprises.

It doesn't really matter how many literary plots one believes in, Clavell seems to incorporate them all into his novels.

The only thing I am critical about, is that this book in the saga does not fill in the storyline to any significant degree between Tai-pan and Noble House, something I was looking forward to.
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
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.
Dec 11, 2008 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Theophilus (Theo)
Jul 31, 2009 Theophilus (Theo) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 01, 2008 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 03, 2012 DayDreamer marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: want-more
ch2, put on hold
Marat Beiner
Apr 07, 2016 Marat Beiner rated it it was amazing
It feels like, it took me forever to finish this book, and indeed it took to much time, more than needed, and that's not because the book isn't good, in contrary, the book was very good, but a few things stood in my way and prevented from me to finish it. The main one is that I listen to this monster of a book (1200+ pages - 51+ hours) 1.70 times. Yes, that's right, I stopped at 70%, and started in again.
The reason is narration. The narrator (John Lee) wasn't bad per say, but it was hard for me
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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 about James Clavell...

Other Books in the Series

Asian Saga: Chronological Order (6 books)
  • Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1)
  • Tai-Pan (Asian Saga, #2)
  • King Rat (Asian Saga, #4)
  • Noble House (Asian Saga, #5)
  • Whirlwind (Asian Saga, #6)

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