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The Watanabe Name

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4.38  ·  Rating details ·  435 ratings  ·  62 reviews
"...flawlessly well-written mystery with a captivating plot that offers a dark perspective on family unity.” –IndieReader

Japanese business magnate Kenji Watanabe, 80, has protected the secrets surrounding his father’s murder for many years. When a detective calls in 2002 hoping to solve the case with new information, Kenji takes immediate action to keep the truth from beco
...more
Kindle Edition, First Printing, 278 pages
Published July 25th 2019 by Black Rose Writing
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Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Sakura Nobeyama Hi,
(SPOILER ALERT - please don't read if you haven't read the book)
First of all, thanks for reading The Watanabe Name and inquiring. Although the book…more
Hi,
(SPOILER ALERT - please don't read if you haven't read the book)
First of all, thanks for reading The Watanabe Name and inquiring. Although the book unfolds in reverse, I will answer chronologically. Kenji's father raped Ai, impregnating her during WWII. Kenji, through a sense of obligation, and also because he feared what might happen if the communists ever discovered the secrets of Ai's lineage, kept track of her and arranged for Ai and Kayo to move to Japan after the war so he could take care of them. Although it was not his original intention when he helped them move from China, he and Ai fell in love when be became disenchanted with his wife's materialism. Yes, Kayo is Kenji's half-sister, and that is why he did not want his son to date her. I hope you enjoyed the book. I should have another one out by this time next year. ATB, Sakura(less)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  435 ratings  ·  62 reviews


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Rosa
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Not my cup of tea... It's the first time a book set in Japan fails for me, and I'm shocked and disappointed.
The book was predictable and dull, the writting style tells too much and show little, half of the pages would have been enough. And on top of that we have a lot of unbelievable facts (view spoiler). All the charact
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Alan
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
‘To someone like Kenji, who valued his family name and honour above all else, the true answer to the question could never be revealed no matter what the circumstances.’

I’m not sure if this is the first book by Sakura Nobeyama, or perhaps her first to be translated into English – either way, this is an excellent crime-mystery novel that delivers so much more than what appears on the surface.

It is the winter of 2002 and Kenji Watanabe is enjoying a quiet moment of reflection; 80-years old and extr
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Glen
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

In the year 2002, a successful old Japanese businessman gets a call from a retired police detective. New leads have materialized about the murder of the old man's father years ago.

Then we get an old fashioned book, straight out of Fawcett Gold Medal, well, maybe Belmont. An affluent guy is having a midlife crisis. He hates his life, and his father, an important man, runs his life. His marriage is loveless and his wife and mother are awful snobs. His sons ar
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Gail Lemmert
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a Story!

Best I have read in ages and I read variously every day! Read it for yourself! Justice prevails!
Just WOW!
Cynthia D
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
*** I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley. ***

This is a book that starts extremely sluggishly but picks up and goes full-throttle until the end, keeping you reading for more to figure out what happens next. I was really slogging through the first bit and was super close to DNF'ing it until a major event finally occurred. The rest of the novel makes up for the slow start.

The Watanabe Name is a thriller/historical fiction about a traditional Japanese family that ha
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Sharon Cernik
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful read

This is a masterfully written book, combining WWII history and the '60s, following the Watanabe family through several generations into the 2000's, and one man's lifetime of trying to live an honorable life while saving the family name from disgrace and ruin in the Japanese society obsessed with the appearance of honor. Personal honor despite the dishonorable behavior of his father and the soldiers in his country's army, despite the Emperor's code, drives the main character's life
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Steve Riley
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely brilliant book that had me captivated from the very start to the bittersweet end. Superb story, fantastic characters, and a great insight into Japan during World War 2, and later on in the 60s. For a debut novel this is quite extraordinary and await future books from Sakura with great anticipation.
Patricia Hall
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love

At times when while reading this book, I thought certainly the author had to be western, trying to write a book about Japanese culture. Now it occurs to me that people or people no matter their culture.
Stef
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fine writing, suspense - and a dose of Japanese culture

A well-written, refined mystery that manages to combine suspense with a dose of Japanese culture and a view of the effect, on a human level, of World War II on China and Japan and Japanese
Viola
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Epic

Engrossing tale of deception, honor and riches. Wonderfully written and kept my attention with every sentence from the beginning to the end.
R
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fictional mystery, wrapped around history, set against the backdrop of Japanese culture.
Susan Matthews
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Watwnabe Name

This was such a well www written book by someone who knows the country. It brought out greed, power, and money. What and how people treat each other. All the horrors and yet the kindness of one person. I hope another book will arrive soon.
Eleanor Donovan
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Japanese family in times of war and peace

Vividly written. Can see the sneers on the faces of the Japanese soldiers.
Somehow Kenji was able to be ,as it were, two different men. A peak into modern Japanese culture (?).
J.D. Schechter
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Different

Starts off slowly and takes some time to warm up to, but definitely finishes strong. The few mistranslations can be off-putting but not to the point of disturbing the flow
Emily Enfinger
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really good read

I very much enjoyed the book. The characters were very believable and well thought out. The image of Japanese life was interesting.
Jennice
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a real treat. I thought it was a typical "rich- patriarch-is- murdered- by-bitter-child"plot but there are many layers to the Watanabe family and their story is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It definitely satisfied my love of family drama. The Watanabe Family is steeped in military and high society which means there are certain expectations of them. They wear the facade of perfect for everyone but there are secrets jn their closet that both tear them apart as a f ...more
Marissa
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: goodreads-win
Goodreads Kindle Copy Win

It is a tale of a Japanese business man who covers up how his father was murdered when a detective comes a calling with new information. The length he goes to cover up the truth about his father’s involvement in his role as a general in the Imperial army.

What one does to protect one’s name and the price of keeping secrets? An interesting read of historical setting.
Gerald
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful

I immediately got caught up in the story. The writing makes you feel like your there. I can't wait to read more by Sakura Nobeyama
Yanper
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have always had an interest in Japanese books and I can remember reading Shogun and enjoying it so much. The Watanabe Name was no Shogun, but it is a well written novel placed both in Japan and China. The author writes a book of family, honor, and commitment to tradition. All so very strong in Japan’s society life. The characters were believable and the plot was very good. It was an enjoyable reading.
Tammie
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
So glad I chose this book!

I got this one for free in Kindle, so I was skeptical. Well, it captured me immediately. I was so impressed. I blasted through it! So so good.
JJ
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
80 year old Kenji Watanabe receives a phone call from Inspector Miyabe. Miyabe says he thinks he finally knows who killed his father over 30 years back and is coming over to discuss the case. Kenji has been dreading this phone call ever since he discovered the dead body and so we are taken back both to the time just before the murder and further back to Kenji’s war years in China to learn what happened and why.
The Watanabe family are basically rich, privileged spoiled and not particul
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Kimberly Tilley
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely fascinating. I usually speed through books, but took my time reading this one, and I’m glad I did. It was a wonderful story that begins with the main character’s discovery of his father’s murder several decades earlier. This beautifully-written book had everything: deception, jealousy, love, and danger. Unlike many characters that struggle with questions of honor, the main character in The Watanabe Name was very relatable. I was swept up into the story, and followed it a ...more
Saurabh Kumar
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WOW!
“Duty is heavier than a mountain; death is lighter than a feather.”

Loved the story as much as anything.
The story moves from a twisted Japanese modern day family to China during the World War 2 and a soldier's story where it all began.
The character introductions is given just at the right time to wow the readers. Japanese and Chinese ideologies are present to form the characters.

Heavily recommend!
Larry
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a good book. It started out being pretty well written and then about 25-30% in the writing seemed to deteriorate, I almost gave up but continued and was glad I did. It did not take long and the writing improved. The book was well worth the time to read. The timeline was a bit confusing but all in all it was a good book especially considering this was Sakura Nobeyama first book.
suzanne jacobson
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully and sensitively constructed story. Not the usual “whodunnit”. This is one of those rare books that leaves you thinking about the characters long after the final page. It would be an excellent chouce for any book club. I am so looking forward to reading more from this very talented author.
Joe Stinnett
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book Review

This was a very interesting book about a WWII Japanese family and their experiences in Manchura, China. How many lives intertwined and the unexpected outcomes 60 years later.
ken kudek
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To call this book a murder mystery is to call Macbeth a murder mystery. Great read for those who like well written account of a slice of the human condition, Japanese and Chinese relations between the war and early 21st century and just recent historical fiction.
Mary
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written book, and well thought-out. Everything & everyone was connected to keep the reader guessing up to the final pages. Learning about the Japanese presence in Manchuria during WWII was an unexpected plus, as the who-done-it was great on its own. Kenji behaved just as one would expect of a high-born Japanese.
I've recommended this to my reading friends.
...more
Devarshi Trivedi
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow!! This is one of the best mystery novels that I have read till now! And that too coming from a young writer who made her debut with this masterpiece! Its a must read for anyone who likes suspense. Hope to see a movie based on this, very soon.
H. Paul Putman III
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A compelling read; the author is a great story teller. At times it feels bifurcated into two separate novels, both engaging, but both are brought together in the end. I look forward to her next novel.
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