I found this on my mother's bookshelf from her college days when I was 11. I read it because I was in a musical of the same name when I was in elementI found this on my mother's bookshelf from her college days when I was 11. I read it because I was in a musical of the same name when I was in elementary school. Looking back, it wasn't very good anthropologically, but it was the first anthropology book I ever read and it taught me I wouldn't like cultural anthropology much so that's something. ...more
I read the first section of this book about Okinawa several months ago on a four hour library lone, and I sure hope no one minded me crying in the libI read the first section of this book about Okinawa several months ago on a four hour library lone, and I sure hope no one minded me crying in the library because that section is heartbreaking. I don't have much to say about it other than that it was engrossing.
Now that I've finished the other two parts, I'm surprised to find that the other two sections are the more thought provoking ones since they don't deal with such clear cut issues. The second section is about a woman, who as a Christian, doesn't want her husband enshrined as a deity by the state, and how she lost the case. The second section suffered a little from all the detours into telling us about these women's lives, which I found interesting, but also confusing since it's hard to keep track of who's who with all the jumping around in the narrative. The middle chapter is the weakest (and I say this with a lot of affectionate bias considering I lived in Yamaguchi-ken and knew a lot more about the places the author was discussing than some).
The third section was a bit strange in that it addressed the emperor's culpability in WWII in a very round about way. As a foreigner, it was very hard to understand at the beginning of this section why everyone was so shocked by the mayor's fairly mild statements, and it's only because I've read articles on how the Emperor's death was used, and experienced the strong interest of the Japanese people in the Imperial family, that I even had some sort of basis to understand. The selection of letters were interesting in this section, and I share the author's curiosity about if they were persecuted for speaking out. The interview with the mayor himself was the most fascinating part. He's a very intelligent man.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book as casual reading. I'm not really certain if it's a helpful book academically since the narrative has a strong bias, but it's a fascinating read, and there really aren't enough good books on these topics. ...more