One Man's Justice

One Man's Justice

4.5 2
by Akira Yoshimura
     
 

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It is just after the second World War. Takuya, an officer in Japan's former Imperial Army, is not surprised when he receives a postcard asking him to report to the U.S. Regional Command Headquarters in Tokyo. He assumes that the Americans have learned of his involvement in the execution of prisoners-of-war. Now he is a fugitive in his own country.

He travels on

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Overview

It is just after the second World War. Takuya, an officer in Japan's former Imperial Army, is not surprised when he receives a postcard asking him to report to the U.S. Regional Command Headquarters in Tokyo. He assumes that the Americans have learned of his involvement in the execution of prisoners-of-war. Now he is a fugitive in his own country.

He travels on crowded trains through a land of defeat, humiliation, and hunger. With widespread talk of prosecution for war crimes, he fears that his past will be revealed. But why should an honest and dutiful man like him be prosecuted by the very people who dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

One Man's Justice is an unnerving story of timeless relevance from a master of the psychological novel. 5-5/16 X 8.

Author Biography: Akira Yoshimura was born in 1927. He is the prize-winning author of twenty novels and short-story collections, many of them bestsellers in Japan. He is president of Japan's writers' union and a member of PEN International. One Man's Justice is his third novel to be translated into English.

Translator Biography: Mark Ealey translated Yoshimura's Shipwrecks, among other titles. He is a professor of Japanese language and modern history at Christ Church Polytechnic in New Zealand.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
An austerely graceful book, one which should help cement Yoshimura's reputation here and bring over more of his twenty bestselling novels...
Library Journal
The third of Yoshimura's works to be translated into English (see, e.g., On Parole, LJ 2/15/00), this work of historical fiction takes place in Japan shortly after World War II. In it, readers meet Kiyohara Takuya, a man who had served as a Japanese officer in the Imperial Army and is now on the run for his involvement with the death of an American POW. With money from his family, Takuya goes into hiding, creating for himself a new identity in another town. As Higa Seiichi, Takuya finds a job with a kindly employer and slowly begins anew. However, Takuya's mind is never at rest in this predominantly narrative piece, as Yoshimura describes his constant emotional and psychological battles with his past and his ongoing fear of being captured. The novel opens up a bit slowly, though readers interested in detailed descriptions of wartime operations may find it quite riveting. The climactic ending (which sheds light on the title of the work) seems a bit rushed, with Yoshimura covering the span from 1949 to 1957 in the last ten pages of the novel. Nevertheless, this work is a well-written one that pays attention to characterization and detail. Readers enjoying historical war novels and light suspense are likely to appreciate this title. For Asian literature collections and larger public libraries. Shirley N. Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Japanese war veteran's ordeal as a fugitive from American justice-in an ambitious though curiously uninvolving early (1978) novel by the bestselling author of Shipwrecks (1996) and On Parole (2000). Takuya Kirohawa, a former officer in Japan's Imperial Army, is summoned to appear before US Occupation Army officers in Tokyo, shortly after the conclusion of WWII. Having participated in the executions of captured American bomber pilots, Takuya knows what fate awaits him-and goes into hiding, traveling throughout his destroyed country to the homes of one relative or friend after another, before finally finding a compassionate host family who (without knowing either his true identity or his circumstances) find him work as a laborer in a rebuilt match factory. Yoshimura writes feelingly of Takuya's understandable bitterness: he had (under strict orders) beheaded a single enemy soldier, while US pilots had wreaked unprecedented havoc on nonmilitary targets, climaxing with the decisive bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Unfortunately, this personal dimension is swallowed up in thinly dramatized summaries of historical fact-presented both as Takuya's detailed memories and as information he gleans, piecemeal, from newspaper stories. The result is that the novel's focus on Takuya's embattled mind and heart is continually distracted, and the reader's identification with this otherwise quite fully realized character waxes and wanes erratically. Nevertheless, Yoshimura's depiction of postwar Japan as a hollowed-out landscape marked by poverty, famine, despair, and passive "fraternization" with unrepentant conqueror Americans, has real power. And the closing pages, which focus on Takuya'scapture, nine-year-imprisonment, and unexpected release (in 1957), rise to a level of very nearly tragic irony-and also, incidentally, sow the seeds of Yoshimura's superb On Parole (2000). A qualified success, at best. But there's no doubt that Yoshimura is a very considerable talent. One looks forward to seeing more of his scrupulous, intense fiction in English translation.
From the Publisher

"An austerely graceful book, one which should help cement Yoshimura's reputation here and bring over more of his twenty bestselling novels in its wake."--THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD

"Extraordinary in detail and verisimilitude . . . a haunting read."--LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780156007252
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
07/28/2002
Edition description:
HARVEST
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.73(d)

Meet the Author


Akira Yoshimura is the prize-winning author of twenty novels and short-story collections, many of them bestsellers in Japan. One Man's Justice is his third novel to be translated into English.

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