Tomo: Friendship through Fiction: An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories

Tomo: Friendship through Fiction: An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories

by Holly Thompson

View All Available Formats & Editions

One year after the tsunami, this benefit fiction anthology helps teens learn about Japan and contribute to long-term relief efforts.See more details below


One year after the tsunami, this benefit fiction anthology helps teens learn about Japan and contribute to long-term relief efforts.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"These stories truly surprised me with their depth, literary quality, and heart. I loved them all!" - Debbi Michiko Florence, author of Japan: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book

"As the winds blow through the tales and understanding blossoms in the lives of teenage protagonists, a real live vision of hope, peace and renewal is formed which brings a full circle to the meaning of 'Friend'...In this ripe time for healing just before the one year anniversary of 3/11/2011, make a new friend - the book called Tomo." - Japan Visitor

"There is plenty for adults to enjoy here, too." - JQ Magazine

VOYA - Walter Hogan
Tomo (Japanese for "friend") includes three dozen works of short fiction for teens, each by a different author living in, or connected by experience, to Japan. Several verse narratives and two graphic stories accompany thirty prose stories of approximately ten pages each. Only a few of the contributions were previously published. Each concerns the Japanese experience, although some are set in Hawaii and North America. The editor provides a general introduction, glossary of Japanese terms, and brief biographies on the authors and translators. Ten of the stories were translated from Japanese, and the rest are English originals. Editor Holly Thompson, a long-time resident of Japan, conceived the collection as a way to support teen survivors of the March 2011 tsunami, and proceeds will be donated to the recovery. Many of the stories celebrate the intensity and resilience of adolescence, sometimes amid historical calamities ranging from earthquakes to World War II internment of Japanese-Americans to the recent tsunami. The collection is extremely varied, featuring urban and rural settings, contemporary situations and timeless folk tales, humor, and adventure. Among seven thematic groups of about five stories each, "Shocks and Tremors" contains the most explicit references to natural disasters. The "Ghosts and Spirits," "Powers and Feats, and "Talents and Curses" sections include a rich variety of supernatural tales, among them several urban fantasies. Numerous stories involve mixed-race parents and children, affording good insights into cultural assimilation. Tomo is an excellent story collection, presenting a rich and varied immersion in Japanese culture from a teen perspective. Reviewer: Walter Hogan
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—The title of this anthology, meaning "friend" in Japanese, is apt. The collection was conceived to benefit young people in the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and, in turn, the stories encourage an awareness and appreciation of Japanese culture among English-speaking teens. As with most anthologies, the quality of the selections varies, but the eclectic mix of genres ensures that there is something for most readers. Stories range from contemporary to historical to fantasy and horror, providing a well-rounded glimpse into Japanese culture. Two particularly engaging stories are told in graphic-novel format, and another tale gracefully unfolds in choka, a type of traditional verse. Most stories do not reference the 2011 disaster, but several address other hardships such as war or internment. Some are lighthearted. The one thing they have in common is that they are set in Japan or are about people of Japanese descent, often bicultural, and all feature elements that are uniquely Japanese. Most stories require some degree of familiarity with the country. Cultural references go largely unexplained, and Japanophiles will appreciate casual mentions of things that are common knowledge, like the Yamanote line, idol singers, and Ghibli. However, there is a sense of universality, too. The youth in these stories have the same hopes and concerns shared by teens all over the world. They play baseball, have crushes, and get bullied. A solid addition to any YA fiction collection, especially where anime and manga circulate well.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A big but consistently engaging pro bono anthology of authors with direct or indirect Japanese "heritage or experience." The 36 tales (all but six of which are new) were gathered as contributions to the relief effort for victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. They feature Japanese--or, frequently, haafu, half-Japanese--teenagers engaged in the business of growing up. Two stories are set in the past: a Pearl Harbor episode from Graham Salisbury and Mariko Nagai's probing free-verse view of the prejudice and internment faced by Japanese Americans shortly thereafter. Otherwise nearly all of the stories have contemporary settings. Only one story refers directly to the 2011 disaster; in the rest, situations and experiences blend familiar tropes with some that may be new to U.S. audiences. Some concern making or missing friends and coping with bullies or demanding parents. Others find their characters reading absorbing cellphone mini-novels on a long commute to school or finding common ground through dance and kendo as well as baseball. Fantasy also makes a strong showing in tales of dragons and eerie samurai dolls, a supernatural Lost Property Office, a magic toaster that predicts the manner of one's death and more. The closing capsule bios will be particularly helpful to young readers on this side of the Pacific. A broadly appealing mix of the tragic and droll, comforting, disturbing, exotic and universal, with nary a clinker in the bunch. (glossary) (Short stories. 11-13)

Read More

Product Details

Stone Bridge Press
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
6 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >