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Japanese by Spring

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  184 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Chappie Puttbutt, a Black professor at the overwhelmingly white Jack London University, finds himself the head of his department and, drunk with power, sets out to settle old scores.
Hardcover, 225 pages
Published March 1st 1993 by Atheneum Books (first published 1993)
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MJ Nicholls
Jul 19, 2013 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, merkins
Reed wrote a campus satire. Whatever happened to the campus satire, you ask? When Kingsley Amis published Lucky Jim, suddenly it was OK to admit you worked at a university, and that teaching Advanced Polynesian Judo Rubric to squat milquetoasts from Ploverstown was in fact the apex of hip. Soon a slew of campus coms from prime inkers like Randall Jarrell and Vladimir Nabokov emerged, ending in meltdown when John Barth published the frankly silly Giles Goat-Boy—one of his valiant attempts to expl ...more
Stephen P
The rat-a-tat-tat of groups, causes, pretensions shredded. The gore left in bloody swathes by Reed is evidence of the fragmentation occurring no matter which side one occupies and within groups themselves.

The story of Jack London College in Oakland, California is told through the eyes of a black professor who is willing to circumvent all laws of gravity and flexibility to adapt himself to whatever political position that will advance him. Between large doses of information - at times bordering o
Dec 26, 2012 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ishmael Reed has never been one for subtlety, and this novel is about as subtle as a brick. At one point, the protagonist is whipping out copies of Japenese by Spring to Ishmael Reed himself, bashing the reader over the head with meta-fiction.

Sure, this book lacks prosiac beauty, contains an epilogue that is trecherous for readers who aren't experts in Yoruba culture (read: most everyone including myself), and every inconceivable twist is solved with a Deus Ex Machina, but that is exactly where
May 30, 2014 Megan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody.
Shelves: hated, fiction
I might not be so angry with this festering little number if I hadn't been so betrayed by it: because I'm working on writing a campus novel myself, I've been keeping a list of apparently-great novels already in the genre that are supposed to help me get oriented with it. I let Nancy Pearl's Book Lust talk me into this one because she swore it was a lighthearted and hilarious romp. But clearly the New York Times Book Review quoted on the cover means "explosive" and "funny" in the sense that you f ...more
Amber Binion
I must say that I'm turned off by each off the characters in this book.
It is truly difficult for me to relate to any of the characters, their motives, their histories, etc. I know it's satire, but really, most of the characters are obnoxious.

I think another part of the reason why I can't seem to enjoy this book is its dated references. Which, to be fair, is understandable since this book was published in the mid 90's. Ugh...

Actually, the history was interesting. It's the book's discussion of i
Shafiqah Berry
Feb 25, 2010 Shafiqah Berry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Post Modern, post Black power satire. The marvelous and multi-talented Ishmael Reed's look at America's higher educational system and the hypocrisies that exist there. The strange cliques and the lunacy of taking sides as either a liberal or conservative... a look at jingoism and obsessive devotion to any cause without full understanding of what is being fought for. And at times you will laugh out loud :)
May 15, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, Reed blows the top off multiculturalism in the academy while also carefully protecting it. He doesn't even spare himself in the controversy. Smart, satyrical and irreverent, he asks searing questions about the values, assumptions and craziness of faculty life and campus atmosphere. No one could take the characters too seriously with names like Puttbutt, President Stool and Jokujoku, but he does ask some deeper questions among the craziness that are worth considering.
Brent Legault
An oddball pastiche - part farce, part screed, part fait divers. Probably more fun for the author to write than the reader (this reader, at least) to read. Ishamael Reed has points to make and so can't be bothered with exercising much in the way of style. I would offer this book up as an example to any novelist (I'm talking to you, Mr. Franzen) who decides to incorporate "current events" into his fiction. A novel like this grows old fast. It puts on weight. It goes grey.
Jun 27, 2007 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Academicians
You never know when learning a language could be beneficial. This is a satirical look at the world of academia and how quickly colleagues can turn on you and how quickly the tables can turn back. Recommended for those that already have tenure (smile).
Daniel Rose
This is political satire at its most extreme - no one is spared (not even the author himself) and no subject is too taboo. Japanese businessmen cum political rebels take over a college campus and the surrounding town to show the students and faculty of overtly racist Jack London University that Westerners aren't the only ones who can play at imperialism. In a similar vein to Spike Lee's Bamboozled, Japanese by Spring left me not knowing whether to laugh or cry... or both.

I've been wanting to tes
Feb 17, 2008 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i do not know how i chose to read this, but i checked it out from the library when i was like 12 and i read at least half of it. i suppose i must have seen mr. reed's poetry somewhere, or heard something about him that suggested to me that he was a bad-ass of some kind. i think it was probably the first book i read that had sex in it, and that is also pretty much all i remember about it.
i am beginning to think i should read it again.
Jan 27, 2008 fati rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am especially interested with the postcolonial and the East-West themes. This novel is a meaningful parody of minority’s struggle in gaining its equal existence. I analyzed this novel for my thesis under Edward Said’s Orientalism.
Roberto Garcia
Sep 08, 2012 Roberto Garcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hysterical. There are some moments where read monologues his way through a chapter but overall a good read. A wonderfully satirical look into academia.
Some funny ideas about the culture wars. He does a neat thing in the last third of the novel, switching to a third person POV of Ishmael Reed. Very meta, but in a low-key way.
Oct 20, 2008 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Not sure where this book goes as far as genre is concerned. It's got a bit of everything in it. Reed writes with considerable humor.
Sandy Jones
Sandy Jones rated it it was ok
May 10, 2013
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Nathan Koerber
Nathan Koerber rated it really liked it
Jul 12, 2013
Harry kendall
Harry kendall rated it really liked it
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May 23, 2012
Andrew Clem.
Andrew Clem. rated it it was amazing
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Ishmael Scott Reed is an American poet, essayist, and novelist. A prominent African-American literary figure, Reed is known for his satirical works challenging American political culture, and highlighting political and cultural oppression.

Reed has been described as one of the most controversial writers. While his work has often sought to represent neglected African and African-American perspective
More about Ishmael Reed...

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