Isolated Connected Kyushu Island weaves together the history of the people of Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island, and the stories that author Hana da Yumiko learned from her elders while she was a little girl. Spanning the years from the end of World War II to the early years of the twenty-first century, Isolated Connected Kyushu Island tells a story of transitions from the closing of the age of the samurai, to the rise of militarism, and finally to the coming and flourishing of democracy. The family’s story illustrates how the land’s Hiding Christians kept their faith in secret, how women worked on their own without the support of men to encourage social change, how the ebbs and flows of many countries’ histories combined to influence the story of this land, and how a missionary and a local belief in a savior influenced religious life. If you hunger to hear a story of universally human motives, joys, and fears told about a family living in a remote and unfamiliar land, then this book will satisfy that hunger with an account that both educates and inspires.
Between the continent and Main Island of Japan, Kyushu has a unique history. Hana's parents were born during the time of militarism. Writing is to express Hana’s gratitude to the people who had raised and conveyed the legacy of freedom and democracy. Although she was born in 1964 to a poor family she took human rights and equality for granted and believed she could dream dreams and have a school education like boys. Hana's mother says, "At the age 7, girls were separated and our classes were to be a goodwife. Majority of girls had to leave school at the age 12." She graduated from Nanzan University, Nagoya.
Major:Japanese Constitution, International laws; Minor:Economics, Political Science, History
This review is for a later edition, which includes all three sections. I so wanted to like this book, instead I found it disjointed and random. The story left me with more questions than answers. There were too many people, who I did not understand their connection and words with unknown meaning. A glossary would have been a help. Also, an introduction which explained a bit of the history of the island, esp. which countries had fought there and which countries controlled the island. I have lived on an island, so have a bit of an understanding of the feeling of separateness. I can only imagine the input of so many different cultures. Much potential, but just too random for my tastes. Received this book through goodreads contest. Email from author states that American version includes glossary and intro this should make a huge difference.
This part fiction novel starts in 1944 with the story of a young boy, whose life is changed forever by the war. The passion and heartfelt sorrow one feels when a war takes away sons to fight a war no one understands or even in fact wants to fight for... Do they come back? Or is it straight to the heavens for them? We continue the journey of this family living on Kyushu Island (the third largest island of Japan and most south-westerly of its four main islands), from the 1940s to 2004. This story is interconnected with many people and their journeys through the difficult times on this island, with always other forces wanting to take over, manipulate their islands and the ones surrounding them. Such is the greed for power. Hisaharu's life takes a different turn when he goes to high school, starts meeting different people and, best of all, gets access to books.
Hana da Yumiko's Isolated Connected Kyushu Island is delightfully peppered with history, from samurai warriors to WW2 and onward to the 21st century, following her ancestors. The story reads like a fiction novel, though it is a well documented and footnoted partly true story. Anticipation catches you unawares as you follow Hisaharu and his family, thus making it a page-turner that keeps you immersed in the history, cultural differences, and historical/life events that run through the entire book. Isolated Connected Kyushu Island tells a story of the transition from the ending of the age of the samurai to the rise of the military might and finally to a thriving democracy after so many years of invasions and religious control which continually affected the lives of Hisaharu and his family. This story educates as well as inspires you. Books like these are precious, giving us an insight into family life, but also showing us the struggle to gain a foothold and hang on to our democracy without losing too much along the way. A very enjoyable read; indeed one that you should have on your shelf to read again and again.
I really wanted to like this book. I liked the premise, the ideas and the characters. Unfortunately, I could not get past the disjointed English. While reading it, I began editing it and couldn't seem to stop! With some revision and editing, this could be a wonderful book. *Won from GoodReads First Reads
Hana da Yumiko shows us the hidden face of the Japanese society. It sheds light on hidden Christians, and communism in Japan. The book shows us a healthy balance between politics and society. She manages to keep that balance, and talks about Japan as objectively as she can. A must read for Japan enthusiasts, and historians.
This book, sent to me by Goodreads for review, is written by a Japanese lady in a non-native tongue: English. It is a fictionalised account of her parents from a poor, rural background and herself growing up from 1945 to 2004, living in one of the, then, remote islands as her country, Japan, also grows up from the age of the Samurai to militarism and thence to democracy. She covers the early history, culture and legends as told from generation to generation and her own rebellion from the tensions at home and what she perceives as her parents’ outdated views plus the apparent restrictions of her subsequent marriage.
The author has a highly idiosyncratic style and this, combined with an impaired command of the English language (e.g. “his worked” instead of he worked, “exiting” instead of exciting, etc.); typographical errors (e.g. “pubic house” instead of public house); ghastly dialogue using phonetical spelling such as “ya” and “yew” instead of you; and over-used Americanisms such as “wanna” and “cuz”; frequent quotes from the Bible; plus the different cultural element; made this book very heavy going indeed. I would suggest that, if the author wishes to put pen to paper again, she would perhaps achieve a higher quality result if she wrote in her mother tongue and then paid for her efforts to be professionally translated. It certainly would be a kindness to her readers.