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The Master Puppeteer

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3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  2,331 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
Who is the man called Sabura, the mysterious bandit who robs the rich and helps the poor? And what is his connection with Yosida, the harsh and ill- tempered master of feudal Japan's most famous puppet theater? Young Jiro, an apprentice to Yosida, is determined to find out, even at risk to his own life.

Meamwhile, Jiro devotes himself to learning puppetry. Kinshi, the puppe
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Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 24th 1989 by HarperTeen (first published January 1st 1975)
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Cheryl
Jan 30, 2017 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad to see this got some awards, but how did it not even get a Newbery Honor, when it has all the favorite ingredients that many of the Winners have? It's exciting, it teaches about a period of history in Japan; it's got funny bits; it teaches about the theater, especially Japanese puppets; it models values of loyalty, honor, courage....

It should be in every fifth-grade classroom, and everybody who reads juvenile HF should read it, and I don't see how kids haven't marked it as a favorite ti
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cindy
Apr 18, 2013 cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novel yang berkisah tentang seorang bocah di Osaka di sekitar tahun 1700-an, saat masyarakat Jepang umumnya kekurangan pangan sementara para pedagang, samurai, dan Daimyo menyibukkan diri dengan perang yang berkelanjutan.

Si Bocah, Jiro, meninggalkan rumah orang tuanya dan memilih untuk mengabdi pada sebuah teater boneka yang dipimpin oleh Yoshida. Di tempat itu ia berteman baik dengan Yoshida Kinshi, putra si ketua, yang tidak terlalu berbakat untuk menjadi dalang boneka. Di saat yang sama, seor
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Libby
Feb 14, 2012 Libby rated it it was amazing
The Master Puppeteer is of course another favorite. It is the story of Sabura, a Japanese Robin Hood who steals from the rich to help the very poor in the Japanese feudal system. Jiro,an apprentice, learn’s from the puppet master’s son (Kinshi) the trade of both making and using beautiful puppets for entertainment. As the hungry crowd mobs and the authorities furiously search for the true identity of Sabura, Jiro is caught in the middle between Yoshida his master and his family. Fantastic suspen ...more
Timothyl
Oct 13, 2013 Timothyl rated it it was amazing
A word to homeschooling parents: Give your kids good books to read. That being said, I've never read a thriller/mystery in a Japanese setting that I didn't absolutely love. Being half-Asian myself, and fascinated by the Japanese culture, I might be a tad biased, but still.

There are a lot of underdog stories about kids trying to make in the big leagues of whatever their passion is; in this case Kabuki theater.

The story (riddled with enigmatic and super well developed characters) starts as a hung
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Zack
Aug 01, 2010 Zack rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I have no idea how accurate this account of the life of a young apprentice in a Bunraku puppet theater may be, but it certainly seems well researched and well written. Also, some of the character interactions seemed sort of odd to me, but odd in a way similar to situations I've encountered in Japanese literature and film before, so without any cultural expertise myself I'll go out on limb to say that Ms. Paterson has done a pretty good job introducing the younger reader to the world of Feudal Ja ...more
Dominic
Jan 21, 2009 Dominic rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Readers
Recommended to Dominic by: Mrs.Walters
This a wonderful junior high-school level novel that serves as a perfect introduction to Japanese culture for children. It is also a great segway into more difficult Japanese ceremony novels such as "The Great Teahouse Fire," and "Memoirs of a Geisha." Overall, A-.
Poupee
Oct 02, 2016 Poupee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me parece un libro de aventuras muy bueno para pubertos mayores de 12, adolescentes, jóvenes y adultos con ganas de leer una historia ligera y bien desarrollada. Seguro lo encontrarán entretenido e interesante.
La escritora y este libro están premiados.
Ashley
Dec 12, 2011 Ashley rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Grayson Hartfield
Jan 25, 2017 Grayson Hartfield rated it liked it
I started reading this as an assignment for school, and couldn't stop reading it! I really liked it. Captaining, and very exciting.
Rishabh Ramakrishnan
May 27, 2015 Rishabh Ramakrishnan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 7th graders
Recommended to Rishabh by: Our Language Arts Teacher
“The puppeteers act like the shadow of the doll and become its victim in manipulating it”-Miyake Shutaro. This quote was mentioned at the beginning of the book “The Master Puppeteer” written by Katherine Paterson. The quote was quite meaning full but I felt that Katherine didn’t really fulfill the idea throughout the book. The way the book was structured fell upon the lines of, Jiro, the main character in the story and how his choices came with unintended consequences. The book was based on the ...more
David
May 14, 2015 David rated it really liked it

The Master Puppeteer is obviously another top choice in the books that middle schoolers read. The tale of Sabura, a Japanese Robin Hood, takes from the rich to help the exceptionally poor in the Japanese medieval time. Jiro,an understudy, gain's from the manikin expert's child (Kinshi) the exchange of both making and utilizing delightful manikins for amusement. As the hungry group hordes and the powers irately look for the genuine character of Sabura, Jiro is gotten in the center between Yoshida
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Michelle Llewellyn
Sep 29, 2010 Michelle Llewellyn rated it it was ok
At least ten years have passed since I last read this book and couldn't remember a thing about it although I do remember reading Of Nightingales That Weep in which the protagonist was a girl. In this second of Paterson's historical fiction novels, set in 18th century Japan, a young boy is driven by hunger and his family's desperate poverty to apprentice himself to a puppet theater. He makes friends with the other boys, particularly the theater owner's son, and is a quick enough learner to earn a ...more
Kellyn
AR: 5.4
Grades: 5-8
This is Susan's Review:

Despised by his mother, and he thinks, a burden to his puppet-maker father, young Jiro becomes an apprentice at the Hanaza puppet theater. The master puppeteer, Yoshida, is cruel to his son, Kinshi, but everyone else he treats fairly, if strictly. Most important, there is always enough food at Hanaza, though many others are starving in Osaka. Kinshi and the blind old chanter, Okada, are kind to Jiro, but the boy worries about his ill father and his hungry
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Justin
Jun 11, 2010 Justin rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-420
This novel is a fictions mystery about a puppeteer apprentice named Jiro who tries to discover the secret of a master thief named Saburo. Jiro lives during a time of great famine, set in Osaka, Japan in the 1700's. There are many people who are struggling to survive. Jiro takes up a puppeteering apprentice with a strict and evil man named Yoshida, and discovers that there is a connection between Saburo, the thief, and Yoshida, his evil master. Saburo is a Robin Hood like figure who has been stea ...more
Giulia Kobia
May 13, 2015 Giulia Kobia marked it as to-read

In Japan, behind the curtains of the theater hid a mysterious thief named Saburo. This mysterious boy named Saburo stole from the rich to be able to help the pour. Yoshida, the harsh and ill-tempted master of the most famous Japanese puppet theatre, and Saburo have a connection that Jiro is going to find out even at risk of his own life. Kinshi, the master’s son, tutors Jiro throughout his learning experience of puppeteering. This was not a one time thing but Jiro dedicated his life and time to
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Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely fascinating story. It deals with a time in Japanese history when samurai still carried swords, and masterless samurai, called ronin, still roamed the area. It's a story about a boy named Jiro who comes from poor parents.

Like everyone at that time, poverty was a major problem, with the rice merchants and various officials taking much of what the farmers produced, making them very rich, but leaving the farmers with little to eat. Starvation was widespread.

Jiro joins a puppet
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Karen
Apr 01, 2016 Karen rated it it was ok
Shelves: j-ya
While this was an interesting look at life in feudal Japan, it was too ambitious an undertaking for such a small book. There weren't enough pages to focus on all of the whys and wherefores so it was sometimes confusing - why did Jiro's father leave his mother? - and it often read more like a research project than a story. Paterson did a lot of research to write this book and she really wanted the reader to know that but it came off like an outsider writing about something that wasn't really hers ...more
Thinzar Kyaw
May 13, 2015 Thinzar Kyaw rated it really liked it
The curtains of the Hazana Theater hid Saburo the mysterious thief, who steals from the rich and helps the poor. While being an apprentice to Yoshida, the master of Japan’s most famous puppet theater in Hazana, Jiro is determined to find out the true self of the thief behind the mask of Saburo. Roles, morals, and the mysterious and starving society impacted Jiro as he learned puppetry in Hazana while risking his own life to discover the connection between Saburo and the theater. Along with many ...more
Ho-Jeong
The Master Puppeteer is a historical novel set in Osaka, Japan of 18th century when it is struck by starvation. Jiro, the protagonist of this story, tries to help his father making the puppets for the theatre. However, he is too clumsy that he is considered more as a hindrance than a helping hand. As Jiro gets to work in the theatre, he finds out that there is a mysterious connection between the theatre and Saburo, a thief who stoles rice from the rich and gives out what he had stolen to the poo ...more
Amani
Mar 13, 2014 Amani rated it it was amazing
When I picked up this book, it automatically knew it was something no one would read, ever. So that is exactly why I picked it up. When I started reading it, it was very slow. I soon was in the beginning- middle ish part of the book. I put it down and started reading other books. School was about a week away from ending and I never pick up a book and don't finish. I finished it in a day because in knew I had to. I was soon very intrigued by the ancient details and fascinating story lines. I was ...more
Shanell Surgeon
Oct 02, 2009 Shanell Surgeon rated it it was amazing
This book is not exactly the type of book i would choose to read but I ended up loving it anyways. This book as friendship, betrayal, hardships, sacrifice, and victory. The Master Puppeteer is a very inspiring book. Its about a young boy living in Japan during a time of famine and poverty. His family had little to no money or food and he has to choose whether or not to stay home or to go off to the theater and work to possibly support his family. He ends up taking the job offer. Even while he ha ...more
Jason O
Jan 14, 2013 Jason O rated it liked it
Master puppeteer by Katherine Paterson is an okay book to read. I didn't like the book and I thought this book was boring in my opinion because it is slow paced and doesn't have any actions. Throughout the book, there are almost no actions at all until the end. I generally like fantasy books that are full of action, so this book wasn't fit for me. However this book does teach the reader a lot about Japanese culture and their traditions. Eventhough I and some other people in my group didn't like ...more
Monica Cheng
Apr 27, 2013 Monica Cheng rated it liked it
Hm, this read was very strange. I loved it till the but I didn't understand some things.

(view spoiler)
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Katie
Oct 06, 2015 Katie rated it it was ok
Shelves: lit-for-the-kids
Normally I am a huge Katherine Paterson fan, but this was a little too weird for me. Everything seems to come to a head in the last 30 pages. I was thinking as I turned each page, "How is this going to end in so few pages?? There are so many loose ends!" Then it just...ends. Myself and the kids all said "What just happened?" when we read the last page. Just, wait...what? Prior to that, we enjoyed the story pretty well. There are some images in those last pages that might be scary for younger rea ...more
Madeline Brock
Jul 26, 2015 Madeline Brock rated it it was amazing
With suspense, mystery, and characters you will not soon forget, this book gives a colorful look at feudal Japan through the eyes of a hungry young teenager. I've read lots of books, but very few can compete with this one that still sits at the top of my list. Katherine Paterson transports her readers, body and soul, into a time and a place most of us know very little about. I was genuinely heart broken when this book ended. It could have gone on for much longer and still held my attention.

If y
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Brooke
Mar 29, 2011 Brooke rated it liked it
I had to read this book for school. I wasn't expecting much since most of the novels you read in school are really lame but this one suprised me. The book jumps right into the conflict right away which is always nice as to books who take 200 pages to get really into it. The characters created are very real and there is a lot of background information about medeaval Japan. The conflict is very interesting and the book is a nice quick read. My only complaint is the ending. After reading so much it ...more
Kelly Kim
May 13, 2015 Kelly Kim rated it really liked it
The Master Puppeteer is an Asian setting novel, written by Katherine Paterson. This book on the other hand has a setting that takes place on a place in Japan. The period of this time and the setting is what hugely conflicts the protagonist and the antagonist. Also the culture greatly affected the storyline because it was because of the culture that people were making puppeteers. There were all sorts of ironies included in the novel, with the characters playing out the irony actions and events th ...more
Elzbeth
Nov 11, 2014 Elzbeth rated it liked it
This was interesting. Obviously I have no idea what feudal Japan was really like, but this seems pretty well researched and accurate for what I do know. It's fun and fast-paced, though slightly confusing in parts.

Jiro, the hero of the story, joins a theater troupe because his father is starving and he thinks he will be one less mouth to feed. There are reports around the town of a Robin Hood-like figure stealing food from the rich people. Jiro thinks he discovers the identity of the figure and t
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Lisa
Nov 01, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
It is the late 18th century in feudal Japan during the Tokugawa shogunate, and young Jiro's family is starving. Jiro decides to join a popular puppet theater in order to free his family from the burden of feeding him. As he gradually learns the art of puppetry and tries to fit into the world of the theater, he discovers an astounding secret and the key to the identity of the mysterious bandit, Saburo. How can he use this knowledge to help his loved ones and yet avoid being killed? This is anothe ...more
Josh
Jun 25, 2013 Josh rated it really liked it
I personally think this book had a very good plot, and I loved the fact that it's set in Japan. I'm a sucker for ANYTHING (or almost anything) remotely Japanese. My favorite part wa the telling of the plot of the 'Thief of the Tokaido' play. It was so vivid to me that I could see the puppets very movements, as if I had really been within the audience. If I had to pick one thing that bugged me though: for a lot of characters (not all, but some) there seemed to be a lack of a character arch, and i ...more
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1949
From author's website:

People are always asking me questions I don't have answers for. One is, "When did you first know that you wanted to become a writer?" The fact is that I never wanted to be a writer, at least not when I was a child, or even a young woman. Today I want very much to be a writer. But when I was ten, I wanted to be either a movie star or a missionary. When I was twenty, I wanted t
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