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The Samurai's Garden

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  18,374 Ratings  ·  1,624 Reviews
The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Japanese father, Tsukiyama uses the Japanese invasion of China during the late 1930s as a somber backdrop for her unusual story about a 20-year-old Chinese painter named Stephen who is sent to his family's summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout with tuberculosis. Here he is cared for by Matsu, a reticent hous ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1994)
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Vicki His father said it would be good when the children are grown and in the business world. They would have names that were easy to pronounce and not off…moreHis father said it would be good when the children are grown and in the business world. They would have names that were easy to pronounce and not off putting to prospective clients.(less)
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Stephen is a young Chinese man from Hong Kong. He suffers from tuberculosis, and it is decided that he should join his businessman father in Kobe, Japan for a while. His father in turn suggests that Stephen should spend some time in his late grandfather's house in the village of Tarumi where the caretaker Matsu could look after him.

Initially Stephen feels very lonely and isolated as the capable Matsu is a man of very few words. Stephen is separated from friends and family, and he worries about
Jim Fonseca
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel very much focuses on Japanese culture in 1930’s rural Japan. At that time Japan was invading China and savaging China’s people and cities. Yet life goes on in the rural village pretty much as usual with the exception that all the young men are missing as they are off at war.

The main character is not Japanese, but a young Chinese man from Hong Kong. His father is a wheeler-dealer businessman who does much business in Japan as his father before him did. So the father inherited a house

This book is beautiful. The primary theme is about beauty. (And then there is a love story too.) I think beauty is very important in the Japanese culture. What really is beauty? The tempo is lulling, quiet, and calming. This too creates a kind of beauty. The concept of beauty is drawn through the lives of the main characters. The novel takes place at the time of the Rape on Nanking, when the Japanese were invading and slaughtering the Chinese at the end of the 1930s. In contrast, the

The jury's still out on this one, but frankly, I know myself too well to believe that they'll ever return with a definitive answer in hand.

Relying simply on gut instinct, I enjoyed the book. I have never traveled outside the US, and the cosmopolitan feeling of having aspects of China, Japan, and vague traces of Western culture all wrapped into one story was appealing, to say the least. The appeal for me was strengthened by the majority of the story taking place in Japanese landscapes filled
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent and peaceful is about a young chinese man who is sent to his parent's summer home at the beach in Japan to recover from an illness. The caretaker of the home becomes his life-teacher and as the book unfolds he learns about relationships, how to find peace within himself, and about love and loss. It is written as excerpts from his journal and so it is from his though we, the reader, are sharing his inner-most thoughts and feelings. It gave me an in ...more
This book was so hypnotic that it put me in a very peaceful place, and I was saddened when the story ended because I wanted to be with these people, to know them all personally. Gail Tsukiyama is what I call a poetic writer. I hope to read this book again and again in my life. I now keep it behind a glass door in one of my bookshelves.
Ellery Adams
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Languish for a while in the Tsukiyama's Japanese garden and you may never want to leave. The serenity created in Matsu's little haven is contradicted by the military domination of the Japanese over the Chinese and the reclusive leper colony struggling for a peaceful existence in a realm beyond that of war. It is to this environment that a young Chinese boy enters into in search of healthier air and soothing salt of the sea . As his body begins healing, his emotions are delicately fractured by al ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful writing. The story begins with a Chinese young man going to Japan to recover from a serious illness during the war with China. The slow pace about everyday activities while he is being cared for by a Japanese caretaker is meditative. I love learning about other cultures and history. Definitely recommend.
Diane Lynn
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Diane Lynn by: Jeannette
Buddy read with Jeannette

On the face of it, The Samurai’s Garden is a beautifully told story of one young man’s journey to figure out who he is, a sort of coming of age story. But there is really so much more below the surface. There is an enchanting and poignant love story. The reader is shown how beauty can exist in a cruel world. There is betrayal, adultery, young love, and two gardens that play a large role as a place of peace. Plus other topics I don’t want to mention so as not to spoil any
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gracefully illuminating novel that is tender and as delicate as a first blooming blossom in Spring. There is so much to discuss in this story, perfect for book clubs. At first it appears so simple, a story of a young Chinese-Japanese young man named Stephen leaving his family house in Hong Kong so his younger sister may not get exposed his sickness. So he travels to stay at his family's Summer shore side home in Tarumi, Japan to recoup from a battle with tuberculosis. He stays with Matsu a mas ...more
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nice book 6 44 Apr 13, 2015 08:37AM  
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Born to a Chinese mother and a Japanese father in San Francisco, Gail Tsukiyama now lives in El Cerrito, California. Her novels include Women of the Silk (1991), The Samurai's Garden (1995), Night of Many Dreams (1998), The Language of Threads (1999), Dreaming Water (2002), and The Street of a Thousand Blossoms (2007).
More about Gail Tsukiyama...
“Sometimes you can’t let go of the past without facing it again.” 289 likes
“Beauty exists where you least expect to find it.” 39 likes
More quotes…