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Topic: Suggestions for good Samurai/Sumurai-era reading

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Subject: Suggestions for good Samurai/Sumurai-era reading
Date Posted: 2/22/2008 10:42 AM ET
Member Since: 6/9/2006
Posts: 23
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I quite enjoyed Clavell's "Shogun" when I read (and re-read) it many, may years ago. And, to a slightly lesser degree: "Shrike: The Last of the Zinga" (Shea).

Can anyone recommend some good historical fiction within this sub-genre. Ideally, the book(s) would capture the politics, traditions, customs, action (man does not live by Tokugawa saki alone), intrigue, etc. of this extradorinary period in Japanese history. I don't mind blood and guts as long as a good narrative and well fleshed-out characters are along for the ride.

Thank you!

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 10/15/2007
Posts: 269
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The Sano Ichiro novels of Laura Joh Rowland follow the Shogun's "investigator" around 1690s Japan.  It's a mystery series, but is very heavy on the realism, covering attitudes, daily life, politics, and customs of the time period.  Shinju is the 1st book, and there are about eight of them so far (should be read in order).

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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I was so gonna suggest Sano Ichiro but you beat me to it Steven. Another one thats a little less authentic but still pretty good is the Legend of the Five Rings series each book has a different author.

Date Posted: 2/24/2008 3:27 AM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2007
Posts: 445
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I was also going to suggest Laura Joh Rowland's books... I have not read them all yet, but I have greatly enjoyed the ones that I have.

Date Posted: 2/24/2008 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Translated by William Scott Wilson

Author: Yoshikawa, Eiji, 1892-1962

Toyotomi Hideyoshi wants to serve the emperor as a samurai in the 16th century, and through his perseverance and hard work he becomes the Taiko, the absolute ruler of Japan in the emperor's name.

Kodansha International, 1992, 926p.


Translated from the Japanese by Charles S. Terry. Foreword by Edwin O. Reischauer

Author: Yoshikawa, Eiji, 1892-1962

Musashi Miyamoto fights in 1600 for the losing side of the battle at Sekigahara when the Tokugawa Shogunate begins its reign.

Harper and Row, Publishers/Kodansha International, copyright 1981, 970p.