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So Far From The Bamboo...
 
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Yoko Kawashima Watkins
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So Far From The Bamboo Grove (So Far from the Bamboo Grove #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  2,460 Ratings  ·  352 Reviews
Though Japanese, eleven-year-old Yoko has lived with her family in northern Korea near the border with China all her life. But when the Second World War comes to an end, Japanese on the Korean peninsula are suddenly in terrible danger; the Korean people want control of their homeland and they want to punish the Japanese, who have occupied their nation for many years. Yoko, ...more
Published (first published April 1st 1986)
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Melonbarmonster
Feb 09, 2010 Melonbarmonster rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yoko Watkins gives us a fictionalized account of her family's escape from North Korea at the end of World War II. However, she narrowly limits the historical setting and plot and avoids the moral issues surrounding her family's presence in Korea in the first place. Her family was in Korea as part of the Japanese imperial drive to conquer of Korea, China, the Pacific and even the western US. They were driven by a race based state religion that saw the Japanese Emperor as being a god and the Japan ...more
Kajal Patel
So Far from the Bamboo Grove was spectacular! This memoir reminds me much of the story of Anne Frank because of both of their inner-self. If I were to be in Anne Frank's or Yoko Kawashima(the main character in So Far From The Bamboo Grove) and I was in the middle of World War II going on and I have to travel from one place to another, I would be with my family, but I wouldn't be in the same home I have lived, grew up, and created memories in; I would be in a place that was half-comfortable to me ...more
Michelle Kim
May 23, 2012 Michelle Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to give zero stars if possible. This book is full of lies but Yoko Kawashima writes it like it's her autobiography. I can't believe that this was once recommended to American students. Japanese soldiers were the ones who abused Korean women, not the reverse. During the time period she stayed in North Korea, there were no communist soldiers yet. America had ordered Japanese soldiers to stay and keep the country in order (although they had already surrendered to them) until American s ...more
Tanja
This is the first time ever that I don't want to rate a book I have read - and this has nothing to do with the author's writing which I thought was very compelling. When I picked it up, I had no idea how controversial the novel had become over the years. For me it was just another book that caught my interest as I browsed our shelves. While reading, it didn't take long before I was in tears the first time - and decided then and there that the brutalities referred to in the book made it unsuitabl ...more
angrykitty
i was looking at possible books for teachers to teach, and i came across this title, so i did what i always do when i'm unfamiliar with a title, i went to amazon.com and looked at it's summary. much to my surprise, there were great reviews along with some really negative ones with real specific beefs. i'm finding that the beefs are pretty well founded....

this book wasn't bad, but if it's taught without a little history, the koreans look like total barbarians. it's unfortunate that at the end of
...more
Sadye Chester
Feb 03, 2012 Sadye Chester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My teacher in middle school, made this a required reading. Ever since reading the first page, it is one of my all time favorite books. It changed my life. Right before reading it my mother died of cancer when I was 12. I didn't know what cremation meant until I read this book. Although that isn't what this story is about, it meant a great deal to me. I love this book, one I will read over again in a heartbeat.
Mrs. Mengedoth
Sep 14, 2010 Mrs. Mengedoth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love reading books that are based on true stories, and this one had me from the beginning. Yoko is a Japanese girl living in Korea during World War II. As the war is about to end, her family realizes they need to leave the country and get back to Japan. Her journey is remarkable! This novel allowed me to see life during the war from a young Japanese girl's persepective. Yoko is a character I will never forget.
Jamie Forster
I originally read this book in middle school. The author lived in the next town over, so she came to my school and read the book to us. Later there was Q&A and it was a very memorable experience. Yoko even autographed copies of her book for us kids. This was a great book and it tought me about life in a different time and place.
Shirin Dc
Dec 30, 2015 Shirin Dc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read it during my childhood and it was one of the most inspiring, meaningful books i read. The book is a true page-turner. Back then, I recommended reading it to everyone i knew!
Matthew
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Ochoa
Sep 26, 2011 Stephanie Ochoa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a family who has to leave their home in Nanam, Korea to go to Seoul, Korea, because of the World War ll that Japan had just entered in 1942. The family are the main characters: Yoko, Ko, Hideyo, and their mother. People who aren't family but main characters in this book are: the Corporal Matsumura, the school's janitor, Mr.Naido, and the Korean Communist soldiers. There are some characters in the book that aren't main characters like: hideyo's friend's, and the spoiled school ...more
Daniela Osorio
So Far from the Bamboo Groove is a good book about a family on a journey Their father is fighting in a war right now,and their brother.He is actually running from soldiers to get to Japan and find his family. his family are in Korea looking like boys to protect from being hurt or killed.While in Japan the 2 girls(yoko and sister) live in a train station and go to school,and while at school the kids at school make fun of them because they go to school looking all ugly.while there at school their ...more
Brooke
Nov 03, 2010 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-reads
Based on the experiences of the author during
World War II, it is the story of two Japanese sisters and their mother escaping Korea and then trying to survive as paupers and eventually orphans in Japan.

What touched me most was when I gave it to my WW II veteran father to read. I thought he might find it interesting since he served in Japan as a Marine and later as a LDS missionary. I did not know/remember he had actually been in Kyoto. He remembers being told as a marine not to give any of the
...more
Cathi95
Nov 08, 2015 Cathi95 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
(Historical, nonfiction 1986) This was recommended by the elementary school librarian where I repair books. There is so much I did NOT know about World War II! This story begins in Korea, just as Japan is bombed by the USA. At that time, Japan had control over Korea, and the Korean people revolt against that control. The story is written through the eyes of 11-year-old Yoko Kawashi. She, her older sister and her mother are forced to flee their home in Korea by the uprising, and make their way to ...more
Lizbeth Robles
Sep 27, 2011 Lizbeth Robles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed So far from the bamboo grove. I thought it was really interesting and gave alot of details like if i was actually seeing what was happenig during world war II. The situation in the book was really harsh, because yoko(the main charachter of the book)only being 11 years old had to struggle with her honarble mother and honarble sister, to find food, shelter, and still had to be traveling to get to Seoul then to pusan when they were forsed to flee their contry. Then trying to find b ...more
Karen
Apr 04, 2008 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently reading this with my 6th grade students. They are enjoying it and are amazed that the central character, who is their age, is able to deal with the desperate situation in which she finds herself. Set in Korea and Japan at the very end of World War II, it gives Western students a glimpse of the war in Asia from the perspective of a young Japanese girl caught in the aftermath of the war. SHe and her family must make their way from Korea back to Japan where, once there, they find life ...more
Kathleen
Sep 12, 2014 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book and very inspirational, it teaches you that no matter how hard life gets you have to keep fighting. I adored the constant imagery throughout this book, it gives you a visual, and makes you feel as if you're in that exact moment. The story is heartbreaking but their desire to turn things around and make the situation better is what made this book so great.
Michelle
Jun 08, 2015 Michelle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-in-2016
Downgrading my rating from 3.5 stars to 1 star. Upon reading, I thought this was historical fiction. But alas, it is just fiction. The military actions mentioned never took place. I feel misled by this book. If you want a researched historical fiction account of this time, When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park would be my recommendation.
Erin
This rainy fourth of july was actually the first time I read this children's classic. I found it a profoundly moving novel, and I would certainly recommend it to my students. It sheds a different light on our Japanese "enemies" during World War II, and it reminds us of the essential humanity of all people, which often gets lost and/or forgotten in the heat of battle.
Taylor
Jan 15, 2011 Taylor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really have a thing for historical books, but this one was okay, and I thought that it was pretty inspirational and depressing at times because all of the deaths really happened.
Alex Baugh
Nov 03, 2011 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
So Far From the Bamboo Grove tells the story of an 11 year old Japanese girl, Yoko Kawashima, who had lived in Nanam in North Korea all her life; in fact, she had never even seen her homeland Japan.

But now, towards the end of the war, Yoko, her mother and older sister Ko are warned by a friend, Corporal Matsumura, that things are not going well and they must try to return to Japan immediately. With Mr. Kawashima, a Japanese diplomat, away in Manchuria, China, and their 18 year old brother Hideyo
...more
Elisa
Mar 05, 2017 Elisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bookworms who love Historical Fictions.
Sad story of war but a lesson to learn. In times of desperate need we need to be brave and endure.
Jolie Sukonik
Oct 04, 2016 Jolie Sukonik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yoko Kawashima Watkins’ fictionalized experience, So Far From the Bamboo Grove, is marked as one of the most raw and revealing stories I have ever been captivated with. As an autobiographical piece, the novel details her family’s fleeing from North Korea following WWII as they were only there as a part of the Japanese imperialistic tactics. This memoir parallels other WWII memoirs as it is organized in a way that shows the progression of the family’s life as they escape from North Korea and seek ...more
Ariana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Satoshi Oota
Jan 24, 2017 Satoshi Oota rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since my mother's family was in Manchuria and afterwards China during World War 2, I've been familiar with some incidents described in this non-fiction novel. While she doesn't like to talk much about her experiences on the way back to her homeland, Japan, I occasionally learnt her segmented stories about the escape, which were definitely harsh experiences to a ten-year-old girl at that time.

But my mother was lucky. She had her father together all along their escape from China’s continent. But t
...more
Joel  Andrada Jr.
Aug 20, 2010 Joel Andrada Jr. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-collections
I've never been in Korea or experience the terror of the Second World War, but novelist Yoko Kawashima Watkins made me feel like I was been there for a long time, cold winter of 1940, when an innocent eleven-year-old Yoko (the author) battled death for the sake of herself and her families survival.

The author herself was the reason why I love this book, because her voice rings so clear and true. Not only does she make me see the things she sees, she makes me feel the things she feels. I feel bad
...more
Heidi
Having read When my name was Keoko, which was the Korean point of view on the Japanese occupation of Korea, I then picked up this book, "So far from the Bamboo Grove", the first in a two volume autobiographical novel series by Yoko Kawashima Watkins, a Japanese girl who grew up in Korea, the child of a member of the Japanese ruling class. When the war began to go badly for the Japanese, and the Korean Communist party/forces attack the Japanese colonialists, Yoko, her mother and sister leave and ...more
Craig Scanlan
I gave this a read b/c I wanted to see why Koreans hate it so much. They go nuts over it b/c it portrays Japanese folks in a kind light while also showing some of the evil potential of Koreans taking out their anger on their previous controllers upon war's end.

Surely that happened to some degree, but Koreans will likely continue thinking that they were perfect angels upon liberation and every point after that.

The book bothers me because it is supposed to be autobiographical fiction, the "fiction
...more
Taelor Threadgill
The theme for this book is taking place around the time of the vietnam war. When Japan is under attack by Korean gorillas, Japanese families spring to action. 8 year old Yoko Kawshima is on the run for her birth Place, Japan. She is running with her mother and sister on voyage to safety. Yoko had long beutiful, black hair, as well as her mother and sister, before it became to dangerous to be traveling as women and girls. So they shaved it all off. Yoko is motivated to get to Japan and finally me ...more
Tykeonna
The theme for this book is taking place around the time of the vietnam war. When Japan is under attack by korien gorillas, Japanese families spring to action. 11 year old Yoko Kawshima is on the run for her birth Place, Japan. She is running with her mother and sister on voyage to safety. Yoko had long beutiful, black hair, as well as her mother and sister, before it became to dangerous to be traveling as women and girls. So they shaved it all off. Yoko is motivated to get to Japan and finally m ...more
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Yoko Kawashima Watkins was born in Japan in 1933. Her family lived in Manchuria, a region in northern china where her father was stationed as a Japanese government official. This region of China had been under Japanese control since 1931. The family later moved to Nanam in northern Korea, where her father was overseeing Japanese political interests. Japan had taken control of Korea in 1910. Althou ...more
More about Yoko Kawashima Watkins...

Other Books in the Series

So Far from the Bamboo Grove (2 books)
  • My Brother, My Sister, and I

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