Japan -- fiction

Memoirs of a Geisha

By Arthur Golden

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"Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Through her eyes, we see the decadent heart of Gion -- the geisha district of Kyoto -- with its marvelous teahouses and theaters, narrow back alleys, ornate temples, and artists' streets. And we witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it. But as World War II erupts and the geisha houses are forced to close, Sayuri, with little money and even less food, must reinvent herself all over again to find a rare kind of freedom on her own terms."

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Kagami

By Elizabeth Kata

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A Japanese family saga begins in 1853, the year trade opened to the West, and follows three generations of Japanese as they struggle to balance their tradition with the influx of Western culture.
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Cloud of Sparrows

By Takashi Matsuoka

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Set amid the violence and beauty of 19th century Japan, Matsuoka takes readers beyond the epic tradition of James Clavell's "Shogun" and into a majestic realm of samurai and geishas, ninjas and Zen masters.
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Ho-limlim: A Rabbit Tale from Japan

By Tejima

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After one last foray far from his home, an aging rabbit decides he prefers to rest in his own garden and let his children and grandchildren bring him good things to eat.

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Samurai Japan: A Journey Back in Time

By Cromwell Productions

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Explores the history and architecture of the ancient world and featuring graphics, computer animation, and location footage. Visits the great monuments, pagodas, and temples of Buddhist Japan and considers the Samurai warriors and their code of Bushido which stresses honor, self-discipline, bravery, and simple living, as it examines the traditional society of Japan and its emphasis on balance, order, and calm.

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Shinju

By Laura Joh Rowland

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When beautiful, wealthy Yukiko and low-born artist Noriyoshi are found drowned together in a shinju, or ritual double suicide, everyone believes the culprit was forbidden love. Everyone but newly appointed yoriki Sano Ichiro, who follows the samurai code.

Despite the official verdict and warnings from his superiors, the shogun's Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People suspects the deaths weren't just a tragedy -- they were murder. Risking his family's good name and his own life, Sano will search for a killer across every level of society -- determined to find answers to a mystery no one wants solved. No one but Sano...

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The Samurai

By Shusaku Endo

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This blending of fact and fiction from a gifted author tells the story of some of the first Japanese to set foot on European soil in the 1600s. Rokuemon Hasekura, a low-ranking warrior, is chosen as one of Japan's envoys to the Viceroy of Mexico and Pope Paul V.

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Shogun: A Novel of Japan

By James Clavell

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A bold English adventurer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in a mighty saga of a time and place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, desire and the struggle for power.

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Of Nightingales That Weep

By Katherine Paterson

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The vain young daughter of a samurai finds her comfortable life ripped apart when opposing warrior clans begin a struggle for imperial control of Japan.

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Death at the Crossroads: A Samurai Mystery

By Dale Furutani

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Matsuyama Kaze is a "ronin," a Japanese knight errant. Kaze must travel across Japan until he fulfills a promise made to his dying Lord and Lady -- to find their nine-year-old daughter. As this masterless samurai searches the countryside, he is caught up in a series of mysteries that test his strength and skills as well as his Confucian training.

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