Lynn's Reviews > Ichiro

Ichiro by Ryan Inzana
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's review
Apr 01, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: books-for-work, kid-s-books, picture-books, graphic-books
Recommended for: young teenage boys, Japanese, Asian boys
Read from April 01 to 06, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

Ichiro is a graphic novel about a young boy who has a Japanese mother and an American father (presumably white, but never seen) who lives in New York City. The father is dead and the mother is looking for work and a place in the world. They live in Brooklyn where the boy is teased about being Asian and seems to live a tough life. The mother hopes to look for a job in Japan and have the boy stay with his Japanese grandfather while she looks for work there. They fly to Japan where Ichiro stays with his grandpa in a town in the country. Grandpa takes Ichiro to visit many shrines and to Hiroshima Peace Park to learn about his roots. Ichiro is torn between his American and Japanese ancestry and wonders how to reconcile them. Ichiro also runs to into punky Japanese boys in town who make fun of his Japanese and his American (white?) facial features. The story dives into some fantasy when Ichiro, in attempting to catch an animal eating from the persimmon tree in the neighbors yard. His mother and grandfather have been teaching him the Shinto stories about the origins of Japan and the Japanese gods which impress him. At night Ichiro catches a shapeshifter in the form of a raccoon who drags him down into the land of the dead in which he has to face the god of war. What is war all about any way? The story then delves into fantasy and tries to reconcile how war affects people and the damage it can do if forgiveness isn't considered as a possible way to stop. I found the book interesting and wanted to like it better than I did but there were too many story lines and the tone of the book changes too many times to make it a cohesive whole. Still I would keep this book in my classroom for Japanese students I might have and I think many boys would enjoy this book.

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