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The Translation of Love

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,460 ratings  ·  290 reviews
Set against the pulsing backdrop of post-war Tokyo, The Translation of Love tells the gripping and heartfelt story of a newly repatriated Japanese-Canadian girl who must help a classmate find her missing sister. A dazzling New Face of Fiction for 2016 that will appeal to readers of All the Light We Cannot See and Anita Shreve.

Thirteen-year-old Aya Shimamura is released fro
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Doubleday
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,460 ratings  ·  290 reviews

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Angela M
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it

The U.S. occupation of Japan after WWII is in the beginning of the story seen from the eyes of Aya , a young Japanese Canadian girl who is repatriated there with her father after their release from an interment camp in Canada. At school she meets Fumi, who has been trying to find her missing sister who works the dance halls so her family can have food and medicine . Their teacher Kondo, subsidizing his income by translating letters , and a Japanese American GI, Matt working as translator of lett
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written historical novel covering post war Tokyo from several different perspectives.
Tokyo in 1946 was a city devastated from the bombings and the war department was under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.

Corporal Matt Matsumoto is a Japanese-American soldier enlisted with the job of translating and forwarding letters from the Japanese people to General MacArthur. Whether anyone ever followed up on these letter seems to be unknown. Matt is a very caring, compassionate man
Sharon Metcalf
3.5 stars
The beauty in this book was the enlightenment it afforded me regarding the conditions in post WWII Japan.     If I'm honest (and I don't like to admit this) I wasn't even conscious of the fact that Japan had been occupied by the Americans for seven years after the war.    Hadn't realised that General MacArthur was in Japan working at introducing democracy to the country.     I'd never really stopped to consider how it might have been for the people of Japan.    For the Japanese America
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This world we live in is a messed-up place. One of the reasons I read is to keep from giving in to apathy and ignorance in the face of all that messed-up-ness.

I try to be selective, though, because not all reading is created equal. Reading the news causes, for me, a dilemma: it leaves me feeling depressed and hopeless, but sticking my head in the sand to avoid those bad feelings doesn’t sit well either. Reading fiction that deals with difficult issues is the most constructive way I’ve found to
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
There is no romantic love to speak of in The Translation of Love, but there is love galore. The love in this book translates to worthiness and sacrifice – between friends, between parents and children, between fellow human beings.

The story centers on two coming-of-age girls during the Japanese Occupation. The first, Aya, is a repatriate, driven from her home in Vancouver by irrational hatred of native-born Canadians of Japanese descent and now relocated in Tokyo. The second, Fumi, is her classma
Bam cooks the books ;-)
I won this beautiful book in a giveaway from the publisher's Keep Turning Pages reading group. Written by Lynne Kutsukake, a third-generation Japanese-Canadian, the story takes place in occupied Japan in the months following the end of World War II and is told from various perspectives:
thirteen-year-old Aya and her father who've made the wrenching choice to be repatriated to Japan after being released from an internment camp in Canada;
Fumi, Aya's schoolmate, who desperately wants to find her ol
May 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
The main feeling I was left with after finishing "The Translation of Love" was a sense of disappointment. I felt Lynne Kutsukake had the germ of a wonderful novel, but the prose and story-telling was not up to snuff with the idea itself. Thus, this was another example of a great idea felled by subpar execution.

After a strong start, I felt the novel meandered too much, with very little action propelling the plot forward. Beginning with Sumiko's encounter with the nun and subsequent move to the or
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A moving story set in post WWII Japan. Fumi writes a letter to General MacArthur, asking for help to find her sister, Sumiko. Aya, recently relocated to Japan after living in a Canadian internment camp, befriends Fumi and they begi. Their search for Sumiko. The story deepens as we see what life was like in Japan, with scarce resources and under military occupation. Engrossing story, highly recommend. This was a ga,,eye through Netgalley.
Tore through this. Liked the story told through the different viewpoints. Will probably say more later.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
I liked the settling something slightly different than the usual western world. But the plot and characters weren't really anything all that new or different, nothing really stood out and grabbed my attention.
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Translation of Love is Lynne Kutusukake's debut novel about the friendship of twelve year old Fumi Tanaka and thirteen year old Aya Shimamura in post war occupied Japan. It is one of the times when I wish Goodreads awarded half stars because I would like to rate this book around a 3.5-3.75.
This book takes on many stories or points of view woven into one novel, alternating chapters focusing on different points of view. The main protagonists are Fumi and Aya. Fumi is Japanese born and saw her old
Elyse  Walters
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The government gave Japanese Canadians a choice after spending war years in
Canadian internment camps. They were told to either move east of the Rocky Mountains or go 'back' to Japan.
Aya and her Father go to Japan.
This story captivates!!!! Draws us in immediately!!! I found it cozy-comfort reading ...even though complexities of national identities are in transition. (or like the title of this book...'translations' are not simple).

Hibiya Park is described so beautiful - (a park in Tokyo), that
❀ Susan G
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In preparation for the final Grimsby Author Series event of the 2016-17 season, I immersed myself in The Translation of Love during a long trip home from vacation in Myrtle Beach. It is a beautiful novel set in Japan during the American post-WW2 occupation. Despite the devastation and despair of the war, the characters care for each other and make a difference in each other’s lives through kindness.

Young Fumi thinks her sister, Sumiko, is missing. Despite
nikkia neil
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Coming of age story that pulls the heartstrings and gives a greater meaning to occupation of a county. Loved the way the friendships developed and matured. Great for young adults also.
Olga Gamer
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
After spending the war years in a Canadian internment camp, Aya and her father are given the choice of moving to the east of the Rocky Mountains or going 'back' to Japan. Even though they end up choosing the latter, it's not because they consider Japan home. 13-year-old Aya Shimamura is an immigrant in Tokyo, knowing more English than Japanese, not feeling welcome at school or in her neighborhood, as a result of being repatriated. She thinks that she's found a friend in her seatmate, Fumi Tanaka ...more
Kutsukake’s novel presents us with a panoramic view of Tokyo in 1947. We begin with General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan, with his son Arthur, aged 9, being driven “in the big Cadillac” to GHQ. Next we meet twelve-year-old Fumi Tanaka, “stuck with looking after the repat girl” Aya Shimamura, who has recently arrived in Japan with her widowed father, because he “had signed the papers to repatriate.”
Go east of the Rockies and disperse, or go to Japan--that w
Andrea Stoeckel
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I want to publically thank the news reporting of "The Daily Skimm" for the small suggestion one day a while back about this book, which I received as a library loan.

"The box was very light, almost weightless. It struck Aya that the soul was a compact thing indeed"

" Wada looked her straight in the eye. 'Don't you know that everything you have can be taken away in an instant?'""

"How should a man live?"

This is a story about post WW2 Japan during the American Occupation. It is a very emotional story
Visit the literary locations in the novel here: Translation of Love

This is just a beautifully written and utterly captivating book that left me spell bound. The words just flow on the page and the emotion invested in each and every character made each character fully formed and interesting. This was a story of the American occupation of Japan told on so many levels and through various viewpoints but it never gets confusing – rather I was there beside each and every one seeing the effects of both
Keith Currie
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Years ago I read James Webb’s The Emperor’s General, a wonderful novel about General Douglas MacArthur’s time in Japan, his power and his eventual downfall. Lynne’s Katsukake’s first novel is set in Japan under MacArthur in 1947and is equally brilliant but in a quite different way. Her work focuses closely on the lives and experiences of a number of ordinary Japanese, including American and Canadian Japanese, in a ruined post-war Tokyo under the American occupation.

The unifying plot device which
Diane S ☔
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 There are probably other books written on postwar Japan, but this is the first I have read. The occupation of Japan under General McArthur was very difficult for the country's citizen, food shortages, black market, inflationary currency, the lack of jobs what woman did to bring some much needed money into their families and the American GI's often dating Japanese women and then disappearing, leaving them to fend for themselves. Yet, the Japanese treated MacArthur has the great deliverer, wri ...more
Fan Liu
May 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was a meh book. The plot lines were often times contrived, and it was often just so mild. It was not particularly touching, until perhaps at the end where the narrative of the sisters comes to place. It was okay, some parts interesting (e.g. women after WWII), but generally pretty meh.
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Translation of Love, Lynne Kutsukake, author; Nancy Wu, narrator
Through the friendship of two young girls, the plight of post-war Japan comes to life. Before World War II had ended, many Japanese families in Canada, were being given the unfair choice of voluntarily being deported from the country they lived in, to their country of origin, Japan, or of relocating east of the Rockies. Their former homes and businesses had been stolen, taken over by others and were not being returned. They had
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was quite a good book. I learned some things about Japan after WW2 that I didn't know, especially about all the letters written to MacArthur. I liked very much the author's thoughts on the power of words, not just on who writes them and who reads them, but also, in this case, on who translates them.
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Most Americans know what happened to Japanese-Americans during World War II, but how many know what happened to Japanese-Canadians? They, too, were put in internment camps, although not camps exactly like the American ones. Then they were told in 1944 they all had to move east of the Rocky Mountains or be deported to Japan after the war. Of the approximate 10,000 who refused to move, almost 4,000 were put on ships to Japan when the war ended. Japan was being occupied by the allied forces at the ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Unique setting and perspective. Multiple points of view and stories told in this novel of difficulty set in Tokyo during US occupation.
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This beautiful book by @penguin randomhouse revolves around the impact of the War between Japan and America. This book is a fictional take on it. With an interesting plot and not overdue expectations I started this book, only to be pleasantly surprised. The book has many layers to it. While primarily it zeroes in on a few segments and shows how war impacted them , it captures the raise in hope , and also in Ill practises. Not to forget , it takes us through some of the letters ( or rather a fict ...more
An amazing examination of life in Occupied Japan, this book keeps readers enthralled with an intimate look at a society in flux and the people who inhabit that world. The author does a fantastic job in making her characters very real; yet, she struggles with one main issue that ultimately make is so this book doesn’t shine as well as it could.

The author chose a fascinating subject and setting to explore. I’ve not read anything before on how life was in post WWII Japan, how a people who prided th
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Received this as an Advanced Reader's Copy.

Set in Japan in 1946, during the American occupation, many of the characters are displaced. Aya is a 13 year old girl, whose parents were Japanese, but who grew up in Canada. After the war, her father returns to Japan, and she finds herself uncomfortable and lonely in a foreign culture. The teacher at her new school assigns another student, Fumi, to help her assimilate. At first Fumi dislikes her, but over time a friendship grows. Fumi is suffering from
Elizabeth Evans
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-releases
I was five years old when my family moved to Japan ... a mere 20 years after the end of World War II. Tokyo was by then rebuilt significantly; there was little or no evidence of the destruction the people endured as a result of allied bombing. I have since learned a lot about the U.S. occupation of Japan under the authority of General MacArthur, and the so-called building of democracy there .. but never have I read about how awful it was; how little food was available. There were shortages of fu ...more
Well this was an interesting followup to Lilac Girls. Just like I've never read anything that touched on post-WWII Poland, I've never read anything that touches on postwar Japan. (The closest would be A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding, about Japanese who emigrated to the U.S. after the war, or the 1959 film Hiroshima, Mon Amour.)

As a slice of life, it was very interesting, largely due to the characters--a young girl who was born in Canada but put in an internment camp and then forced to "repa
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A third-generation Japanese Canadian, Lynne Kutsukake worked for many years as a librarian at the University of Toronto, specializing in Japanese materials. Her short fiction has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, Ricepaper and Prairie Fire. The Translation of Love is her first novel.

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