Customer Reviews for

So Far from the Bamboo Grove

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Excellent story

This book was really well written. it tells an often untold story about what happened in Korea as the war was endend. The characters are well developed and the storyline is heartwrenching. I would hesitate to let younger children read this, because of some of the conten...
This book was really well written. it tells an often untold story about what happened in Korea as the war was endend. The characters are well developed and the storyline is heartwrenching. I would hesitate to let younger children read this, because of some of the content

posted by lambikins on May 15, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

So Far from the Bamboo Grove

It is even more important to point out how faith and wrong information continues to divert the real history issues when the author solely relied on her own experience. The danger of this book is being felt in innumerable ways, and the danger goes on growing in terms...
It is even more important to point out how faith and wrong information continues to divert the real history issues when the author solely relied on her own experience. The danger of this book is being felt in innumerable ways, and the danger goes on growing in terms of brainwashing of children. Her writing is good enough for us to blind emotionally, despite the fact that Japanese actually invaded Korea and committed cruel crimes, such as killing and sending Korean girls into the World War II battle zone as sex slaves for Japanese troops. At first I thought it is both odd and a mistake to refer her home in Korea as 'bamboo groove', which Bamboo can not grow in the northern part in Korea, the setting of this book. However, I can not blame her because I figured out it is not her fault. Mirroring the fact that even current Japanese students do not learn at school what their ancestors had done for other Asian countries, I assumed that she had not received the right information what had happened really in Korea before 1945. What the author was able to do was just relying on her memory, which could be adulterated.

posted by Anonymous on January 22, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2007

    Distorting history should be a crime!!

    Truthfully, Korea was invaded by Japan and was taken a long time ago. If you check history maps, you will see that in the beginning of WWII Korea was still a colony. It is a proven fact that Koreans were taken to camps that were like Concentration Camps for Japanese. Koreans still live today that were harassed by brutal Japanese. Lets speak logic, if Koreans came up and raped a girl, would Japan let them get away for its colonies behaving so badly? No. That is why it is the opposite. That would mean it had to be Japan raping Korea. In other words, Korea is a colony of Japan. Japan has soldiers. If Japanese were raped by Koreans, would the Koreans exist? Could it even be possible, with the constant threat of being killed if they raped a Japanese? But if a Japanese raped a Korean, why would the government care? Korea was taken over so then they can't do anything. Also, how do we know that these facts are true? Do they have proof that Koreans did this? This book is very distorted. You must agree. After invading Korea, the official government of Japan ordered officially the raping of Korean Girls. The government sent captured Koreans over to the Japanese army. They women A.K.A. the 'comfort women' were raped and harassed by the army. Shame, and this was officially allowed by the Japanese government. There are a couple type of people in this world. One type is generous and doesn't seek revenge. Other people can't help it but feel angry and take revenge for what people did. One or two ANGRY Koreans might have raped a Japanese but that was personal. It still was wrong but it was better than what the Japanese did. Their government had ordered them to RAPE and SEXUALLY HARRASS KOREAN WOMEN. Special Army unit 731 was a drafted army made out of Chinese and Koreans. This unit was an 'experiment'. The government tested many things on them. For example 'How long would a person have to work to lose his finger?' This was one of the things they tested on the drafted soldiers. They even did not see them as 'humans'. They called them logs. Logs are the tree parts that were cut. Logs are dead and not alive. They could not see them as human or how could they test on them. They did things that we don't do to animals today. Another thing the Japanese tested on them was to see how much body parts a person had to lose before he died. How long would people have to last in steam before they suffocated and died. This is an act of shame. Animals get better treatments than this. How shameful to write a book against Koreans when all this has happened, if you are going to tell a story, TELL THE WHOLE STORY. In conclusion, I do not understand how this book got into a middle school curriculum. Even though this story MAY(very small chance though) be true, this book is very biased and did not tell the whole story. I think this book needs to be worked on and corrected. Many mistakes are in the book and distorts Korean History and that changes many things. Just let me say one more thing, how would Japanese people like it if I happened to write a book about the REAL story with the whole history in it. Maybe that will clear things up. Just food for thought huh?

    6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2007

    not true...

    I don't like it.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2007

    What a poor author

    You should read some Asian history books before you wrote this book. I cannot believe this book which is used as a reading material for students. This must give the students lies.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2007

    Context...context...context...

    First, So Far from the Bamboo Grove is a well-written story of survival, and Ms. Watkins has done an excellent job to bring her alleged experience to life. Her lack of historical contexts, if not complete absence of such, however is at the very least grossly irresponsible. Unsuspecting young minds will question the 'ungratefulness' of the Korean people, as they are portrayed as 'part of the Japanese empire.' They will come home asking, 'Why Koreans are so bad to Yoko?' Ms. Watkins have had decades to put her experience into perspective in larger context of Koreans-Japanese relationship during WWII, and yet she chose to ignore them. Yoko as an 11-year old girl has every right to see her experience 'as is'. Ms. Watkins as an adult, I'm afraid, does not have the same luxury. Second, questions have risen on the historical accuracies of the book. One may question how accurate a sixth-grader book should be, but much of the power of Ms. Watkins' book derives from it. Some are minors such as, 'Does bamboo really grow in cold climate of North Korea? to majors such as, 'Which Anti-Japanese Communist Party is she referring to?' Kim, Il-Sung didn't enter Northen part of Korea until late 1945, and the Party actually was not established until 1948. Third, Some historical contexts taken from other reviewer: 1. Japan forcibly colonialized Korea in 1910 until her independence in 1945. 2. During the brutal colonialization, Koreans are prohibited to use the Korean language, and are forced to adopt Japanese name. False imprisonments and tortures of Korean citizens are commonplace. 3. Young men (numbering in the hundreds of thousands) are forcibly drafted to support Japan's war efforts on the frontline. 4. Girls (as young as 12 years of age and numbering close to 200,000) are uprooted from their home and family to work as 'sex slaves' to Japanese soldiers. They are often forced to served as many as 30 'guests' a day. That means 6 millions 'organized' rapes against Korean women occured everyday since 1943.(The year the practice started) 5. Holocaust denials are punishable offence in most European countries, and yet popular ultra-nationalist Japanese politicians often deny any wrongdoings of Japanese military during WW2 (even those convicted in war crimes tribunal).

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    Poor

    this book is just a another japanese imperialism book, dont get me wrong, I am not predijuce against japanese, but I am predijusce against ths book. This book is just a lie. I cant believe so many people is reading this and believing it. First of all like the other people wrote review Koreans were the victim. Millions of Koreans were drifted to army, and Korean girls were used as a sex slve. All I want to do is to meet this Yoko and call her a lier and a fraud in front of everyone. Also as a novel it sucked

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2007

    Book by a historical revisionist

    Yes. The ones criticizing the book are probably mostly Koreans. Well, if Japan didn't forcibly force Korean women to become sex slaves for the Japanese military, scar them for life, and claim that this never, ever happened, then a third party would have the right to think that Koreans are just whiners. The problem is that 'comfort women' do exist much to some people's dismay. 'Comfort women' are among millions of people oppressed by Imperialist Japan. This book distorts the truth and portrays Koreans as a rapist when it's really the other way around!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2007

    Falsification of History

    This book is awful in historical context, Yoko paints life on the Korean penninsula poorly and wrongly. The life of the Korean people after Japanese annexation was horrible, atrocious. When the annexation began, the Japanese imperialist power murdered a Korean Queen MyungSeung and forcibly removed Korean Princes from their homelands. None of the horrible things that happended during the Japanese annexation is mentioned, and this book portrays the Koreans as savages, which is completely untrue, if anything, the Japanes are savages in the context that many of the cultural potteries were taken from the Korean penninsula. Perhaps the author should have researched a bit more about the history of the Korean penninsula before she decided to pen this book. Do not let anyone read this book, its books like these that distort history and defaces the values that were learned from history.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    wrong wrong wrong,,

    This book only gives you all the wrong history fact.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2007

    So Far from the Bamboo Grove

    She claims this is a true story. Well, not true in so many ways. First in Nanam, where she claimed she lived, bamboo can't grow. So she lied from her title. Full of lies, you don't want your children read this garbage. Outstanding lies.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    so far from the truth

    despite many historical errors in this book, i have no problem with the author exercising her first amendment right or consumers spending their time and money in whatever and however way it pleases them. however, i have problem with this book's target audience being children ages 9 to 12 since it places things out of perspective. remember, yoko's people/ govt/ father were the oppressor and people she claims to have resented her people (aka koreans) were the oppressed. many korean (+ other asian such as chinese and filipino) girls her age at the time were being kidnapped to be sexual slaves for the japanese soldiers. yoko may have enjoyed happy life in america after her horrible experience while her counterpart asian girls spent rest of their life in hopelessness and destitution. as a korean-american, i personally have nothing against the author or the japanese people. i just do not want my child or any children for that matter to read this book in school since there is nothing educational about this book.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2010

    Absolute garbage

    The only people who think this is a good book are kids and teachers who are 100% ignorant about East Asian History and Japanese and/or their whapanese spouses. This book is garbage. You don't teach kids books about portray a KKK family "escaping" from blacks in the deep South in 1960's. You don't teach kids books that portray a daughter of a Nazi soldier from a concentration camp in Poland "escaping" from freed Jewish Holocaust survivors. All the anti-censoringship BS was organized and led by book sellers who make mucho dinero hawking this book to schools across the US who have NO INTEREST whatsoever in history, truth or educational integrity. Don't be a tool and stop forcing innocent kids on this moral garbage of a book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2007

    So Far from the Bamboo Grove

    I would read it, but not my children.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2007

    No evidence at all

    I honestly believe this book is full of distortion of Korea-Japan history. Comparing what Japanese soldiers had done to Koreans, I don't think it is fair, even though the experience of Yoko is true, to comment on Korean guilt. This book has been used as text books in American schools but they are withdrawing one by one. I believe this is one example of America admitting that the book distorting of history.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2007

    it is not true.

    when I was reading, I said 'This is not true story. what a ....!!' I demand yoko explain its suspected involvement in the distortion of history in this book.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2010

    Don't force Japanese revisionism on American children.

    How many Americans died in WWII to defeat the Japanese Empire?? The Japanese were killing and conquering all over the Pacific and Asian continents and tried to do the same by attacking the US. Portraying the invading Japanese as the victims is ridiculous revisionist stupidity but then having this taught in US schools is downright irresponsible and a slap in the face of all the Americans who died in WWII. Get a little common sense perspective.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2007

    A reviewer

    Heard of the Diary of Anne Frank? Well imagine that book, but Anne is a Nazi girl who is hiding from the angry Jews. This book is so disturbing of its content that I am not sure why it was even allowed to be published in America. And the fact that the book claims to be a 'true account' is an insult to the victims of WW2. Here are just some historical inconsistencies. 1. The Korean Communists were not established until 1948, 3 years after the liberation of Korea. 2. American warplanes barely touched the Korean peninsula throughout the war. 3. Russian forces had begun to overrun Japanese defences in Manchuria and the northern tip of Korea until Japanese surrendered. The American soldiers didnt even arrive in the southern part of Korea until Japan's surrender. 4. Japanese forces remained in Korea until Russian/American forces relieved them. 5. The korean atrocities described in the book were rare, while japanese atrocities were rampant. The book completely glosses over this fact. 6. Here are some historical statistics. -2 million korean men conscripted into forced labor and military service -300,000+ korean girls conscripted into forced prostitution and sexual slavery I am not criticizing the writing style or character development of the book. My main contention is the historical fallacies and disturbing content in which the book potrays a supposedly'true account'

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2007

    Distorting history- war criminals' never ending dream

    Japanese killed raped, tortured, and exploited millions of Koreans (as well as other Asians) during its imperial period. They buried people alive, burned alive, drafted abroad and forced to work until they died of hunger and disease. If this is not enough, they experimented on live human bodies, and also kidnapped young girls and put them in military sex salve camps. The girls forced to be used as sex toys until they killed themselves or got mad. And this book is describing Japanese as victims and Korean as victimizers. It¡¯s like a daughter of Nazi soldier blames Jewish people as victimizers of Germens. Besides many part of the story cannot even be true historically. Japanese do not educated its past grotesque bloody thirty history its new generations. This book is just one of the results of Japanese systematic, intentional lie on their past that they always want to bury deep.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    Concerns

    This book has a dangerous potential that could mislead young children.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    This book makes me hurt in my heart!

    Before you read this book you should know the background history of this story. You may not know there were about 200,000 womens (mostly Koreans) forced to become sexual slaves for Japanese Millitary during the war. That was an indelible blot in human history. This book hides the bloody massacre of innocent people by the Japanese and beautifies them implicitly. You should know who was the oppressor and who was the weak.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    So Far from the Bamboo Grove

    How on earth could the author say this is based on a trud history? This is based on only her personal memories. Plus as a novel, this is pretty boring as well.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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