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Blossoms and Bayonets: A Story of Love, Faith and Courage Under Japanese Occupation
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Blossoms and Bayonets: A Story of Love, Faith and Courage Under Japanese Occupation

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4.36  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Hi-Dong Chai and Jana McBurney-Lin, the award-winning author of My Half of the Sky, turn their hands to a remarkable story of a family and country torn apart by outside forces. The time is 1942, the place, Japanese-occupied Seoul, Korea. Fifteen-year-old He-Seung is full of fire, ready to take on these Japanese...if only he could convince his father, a Christian minister m ...more
Paperback, 316 pages
Published May 12th 2013 by Redwood Publishing (first published October 15th 2012)
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4.36  · 
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 ·  25 ratings  ·  17 reviews


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Robin Levin
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blossoms and Bayonets is about the Japanese occupation of Korea during World War Two. Korea was the first nation to fall victim to Japan’s imperial ambitions; the Japanese seized control of the country in 1910. The Japanese attempted to assimilate the Koreans to their culture, staffing the schools with Japanese sensei , indoctrinating Korean children into Shintoism and Emperor worship, and forbidding them to speak Korean at school. Symbolically they insisted that the Koreans plant cherry trees a ...more
Clifford
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-ebooks, novels
As a former resident of Korea (I was a Peace Corps volunteer there in the 1970s) and a student of its language, history, and culture, I enjoyed this book very much. It tells a story that is often overlooked, about the brutal Japanese rule before and during WWII. We're all familiar with the concept of "comfort women"--the sex slaves that the Japanese forced into service from Korea and their other "colonies"--but this book puts a face on that atrocity, as well as the conscription of young Korean m ...more
OpenBookSociety.com
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: alina
http://openbooksociety.com/article/bl...

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Alina

Beware of spoilers

I don’t normally read books about war or violence in general, I believe life is hard enough as it is, but I am always open to new experiences and this one was definitely new: I know close to nothing about Korea, unless you count my watching the TV series M.A.S.H. (which I loved, by the way). So, I was very excited about the prospect of reading this book and I came out of the experience extremely happy f
...more
Chris Wolak
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book and I hope it finds a wide readership. I think it would spark some great discussion in high school or college history or literature courses (or for home schoolers). It is certainly an important addition to the genre of war literature.

Blossoms and Bayonets is historical fiction based on the life of coauthor Hi-Dong Chai who was a boy in Seoul, Korea during World War II.

The novel opens on February 23, 1942 and ends on November 1, 1945. The story is told through three main
...more
Lloyd Russell
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
First of all, the subject matter of this book is too serious for my normal snark. So I will dispense with it - for this one time only! The book talks about Seoul, Korea in 1942. The country is under the control of the Japanese and has been since 1910. But, now, during the war, the Japanese have done away with the Korean language, Korean names, and even Korea's national flower. On top of that, the country's teenage boys, 16 and up, are being given a strong "suggestion" to join the Japanese army. ...more
Monika
May 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall:

Based on the true story of co-author Hi-Dong Chai, Blossoms and Bayonets is the fictional coming-of-age story of 15-year-old He-Seung, the middle child in a Korean Christian family in 1942. After his father's arrest, He-Seung must leave his mother and baby brother behind as his family and country are torn apart.

Told in alternating first-person perspectives, this novel gives a personal account of Japan's occupation of Korea, which invol
...more
Darth Vix
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing

In Blossoms and Bayonets, we follow the lives and experiences of the Chai family and also get glimpses into the lives of those surrounding them. This delivery of the narrative was interesting to me because we don’t receive the story from just one member of the Chai family but from three of the main characters in the Chai family: Mother(Uhmony), Baby He-Dong and He-Sueng. This is something that I really enjoyed as opposed to just experiencing the story through just one perspective. It made the st
...more
Priscilla
May 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Japanese Occupation is a historic moment. I learnt about it when I was in primary school and my dad ocasionally talks about it during mealtimes. So when Trish from TLC Book Tours recommended Blossoms and Bayonets to me, I was thrilled. (Thanks, Trish!)

Fifteen year old He-Seung comes from a religious family. Born to a minister, the family is a target as the Japanese didn’t like religious people. Unlike He-Seung, his parents believe that praying is the ultimate solution — the group looks for G
...more
Emily
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is set in South Korea during WWII. It changes perspectives between two brothers and their mother. At first the mixture of Korean words had me checking the cheat sheet at the front of the book but then I got it. It was never hard to tell the narrator's apart and I appreciated the different viewpoints. My only complaint was that we didn't get to follow along with the oldest, He-Seung while he worked for the Japanese doing grunt work during the war. I think that story would have been interesting ...more
Sigrid Fry-Revere
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my best reads in years. Blossoms and Bayonets drew me right in. Once I read a few chapters I just couldn’t put it down. I also loved the juxtaposition of the historic quotes that graced the beginning of every chapter with the true to life real life stories of what the characters were experiencing during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The book exemplifies the true art of storytelling. The quotes range from Japanese ministers and radio announcers to Churchill and General MacArthur and ea ...more
Nona Mock
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was apprehensive about reading Blossoms & Bayonets, because my interest was not about war. But once I started the book I could not stop. The author's unique style describing the emotions of each character in their own separate chapter seeps into you & becomes a part of you!
As an author, I had questions in my 1st book, Chopstick Childhood about war. These questions were
unexpectedly answered ~ educating me decades later!
Definitely a 'Goodread' for everyone.
Ann Morgan
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book had me from Page 1. It's very hard to put down, but I'm loving it. Thank you Sigrid for recommending it to me!


This book is beautifully written. I agree with my friend, Sigrid, though - I wish it were non-fiction, though I'm sure it's very close to the truth.
Jaleh Hobson
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written novel, I highly recommend it. I didn't know the history behind it, very informative.
Mel Mayberry
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this book. I wanted more history, less day-to-day, rather ho-hum diary. I was glad when I finished and could move on to something else. Sorry!
Jana
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Michell
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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I lived in Asia for more than half my adult life, writing for media in seven countries, including National Public Radio, Writer's Digest, Hemispheres (United Airlines), Islands Magazine, Singapore Straits Times, Japan Times, and dozens of others. While working as an editor at ALC Publishing in Tokyo, Japan, I met my husband, a native of southern China. We then moved to Singapore where we often fre ...more