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Fish of the Seto Inland Sea (Text Only) by [Pilgrim, Ruri]
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Fish of the Seto Inland Sea (Text Only) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Length: 432 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

‘An immaculately articulated evaluation of deep-seated instincts and habits, under pressure from within as well as without… . Uncommonly accomplished.’ The Independent

‘Its warmth and humour depict a private Japan that is both attractive and immediately recognisable… . The accumulation of such intimate glimpses makes this book so worthwhile and such a pleasure to read.’ Literary Review

‘The social codes and nuances are very like those of another island nation – Britain. In its emotional honesty lies the book's great appeal.’ Daily Telegraph

From the Back Cover

'It is also a description of a 'secluded kingdom' and its comfortable, upper-class existence, as it comes into contact, and is finally destroyed by the years before and after the Second World War. Ruri Pilgrim, writing about a period of monumental change, eschews broad sweeps of history in favour of telling detail of a family bound not only by obligation but also by ties of affection and genuine pleasure in each other's company. Its warmth and humour depict a private Japan that is both attractive and immediately recognisable . The accumulation of such intimate glimpses makes this book so worthwhile and such a pleasure to read.'
LITERARY REVIEW

'An immaculately articulated evaluation of deep-seated instincts and habits, under pressure from within as well as without.'
THE INDEPENDENT

'The pleasure here is in the detail of everyday life and the close bonds of affection; the social codes and nuances very like those of another island nation – Britain. In its emotional honesty lies the book's great appeal'
DAILY TELEGRAPH


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 904 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (27 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I2GOHLC
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #118,502 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book provided an interesting, thought-provoking insight into Japanese life, one that I would know nothing about if I hadn't read it. The changes in lifestyle from late Victorian (from our European point of view) to the mid-fifties, in Japanese society are enormous. The book is written predominantly about the female family members and their lives, and this made the book all the more interesting to me. History is so often taken from the male point of view. The characters came to life for me, and although some parts of the book were deeply upsetting (one mother describing the death of her children), I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone. It was, to me at least, interesting to hear the viewpoints of some of the Japanese people about extremely difficult times in their history. This book isn't a history of Japan, but is a charming and interesting story of one family's history through the women's eyes.
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Format: Paperback
There are countless episodes related to the Pacific War and based around that time, many of which are sad but can be quite comical. Ruri Pilgrim exactly expressed to the readers as above.

The contents are divided into three; how the Landowner's family lived in the 1930s, how the Pacific War affected Japanese people and Haruko's family, and how dramatically the social climate changed after the defeats in the war.

Haruko's family were living as an upper-class family who were allowed to live elegantly, with a wide variety choices of food, wearing smart kimonos and holding regular tea ceremonies. The plot conveys sound insights of the traditional Japanese family, together with descriptions of pieces of furniture and items of clothing.

The continuous warfare and the Pacific war influenced Haruko's family, as well as the rest of the nation. In 1945, stocks of all commodity goods and food became very limited and rationed. Yet, the military government insisted on fighting against America. The reckless war killed masses of innocent people and destroyed the secluded kingdom of the upper-class family. Unbeknownst to the rich family's upbringing, Haruko's family lost several members of family, and experienced a number of struggles at the end of the period of war and afterwards, as well as the rest of the nation.

It is worth reading a series of criticisms of the social climate, which changed dramatically after 15 August 1945. The author uses the expressions; 'one hundred and eight degrees turn', 'upside down', 'about face'', quoting the incidents of the Bamboo spears, which Japanese were forced to carry and fight against the Americans, and the Kamikaze air force - young people were ordered to ride on poorly made airplanes and attack enemy's ships.
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By A Customer on 21 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. It leaves me hungry for more information about the time periods the author so vividly describes. I have read many books about women in China and Japan. I most enjoy the books that connect you with the characters and make you care about their lives and the setting in which they live. This is one of those books. The cover of this paperback is unique, both shining and captivating, a true reflection of the inside.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Not to be confused with Ursula Le Guin’s SF stories ‘A Fisherman of the Inland Sea’, Ruri Pilgrim’s family chronicle of three generations of a Japanese family is, as explained in a brief Author’s Note, based on the life and background of her mother, Haruko in the novel.

Ruri Pilgrim tells the story of her family from the late 19th-century to the middle of the 20th, a period of enormous social, political, military and economic change.
As one might imagine there is an enormous amount of relatively unknown material to impart about rural life at the turn of the century, the military build-up and expansionist period during the 1920s-early 1940s, and the country’s response to its WWII defeat and its early steps to become an economic and technological powerhouse.

The author does this with only the occasional page where indigestible facts are rather pedagogically directed at the reader. The book is divided into three chronological parts, each addressing one generation. The chapters are often divided into many short paragraphs that, like Japanese or Chinese ideograms, come together to guide the reader through the complex series of relationships and events.

Two family trees are included without which I would have become rather confused. There is frequent use of Japanese words that are sometimes explained in the text or included in a Glossary. I would have preferred a rather longer and more detailed glossary since many words relating to food, for example, were not explained. However, the energy and forward momentum of the book was not inhibited by this.
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