Heart of a Samurai (eBook)

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In 1841 a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small unknown island where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japans borders remain closed to all Western nations so the crew sets off to America learning English on the way.Manjiro a fourteen-year-old boy is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years he makes it back to Japan only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai."A terrifc biographical novel by Margi Preus." -Wall Street Journal*STARRED review from Booklist*Manjiro is 14 when a freak storm washes him and his four fishing companions onto a tiny island far from their Japanese homeland. Shortly before starving they are rescued by an American whaling ship. But its 1841 and distrust is rampant: the Japanese consider the whalers barbarians while the whalers think of the Japanese as godless cannibals. Captain William Whitfield is differentchildless he forges a bond with the boy and when it comes time for Manjiro to choose between staying with his countrymen or going to America as Whitfields son he picks the path of adventure. Its a classic fish-out-of-water story (although this fish goes into the water repeatedly) and its precisely this classic structure that gives the novel the sturdy bones of a timeless tale. Backeted by gritty seafaring episodessalty and bloody enough to assure us that Preus has done her researchthe books heart is its middle section in which Manjiro allegedly the first Japanese to set foot in America deals with the prejudice and promise of a new world. By Japanese tradition Manjiro was destined to be no more than a humble fisherman but when his 10-year saga ends he has become so much more. Wonderful back matter helps flesh out this fictionalized companion to the same true story told in Rhoda Blumbergs Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy (2001). Daniel Kraus*STARRED review from Kirkus Reviews*In 1841 14-year-old Manjiro joined four others on an overnight fishing trip. Caught by a severe storm their small rowboat was shipwrecked on a rocky island. Five months later they were rescued by the crew of a whaling ship from New Bedford. Manjiro renamed John Mung was befriended by the captain and eventually lived in his home in New Bedford rapidly absorbing Western culture. But the plight of his impoverished family in Japan was never far from Manjiros mind although he knew that his countrys strict isolationist policy meant a death sentence if he returned. Illustrated with Manjiros own pencil drawings in addition to other archival material and original art from Tamaki this is a captivating fictionalized (although notably faithful) retelling of the boys adventures. Capturing his wonder remarkable willingness to learn the prejudice he encountered and the way he eventually influenced officials in Japan to open the country this highly entertaining page-turner is the perfect companion to Shipwrecked! The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy by Rhoda Blumberg (2001). (historical note extensive glossary bibliography.) (Historical fiction. 9-13)*STARRED review from School Library Journal*A Japanese teenager living in the mid-19th century bridges two worlds in this stunning debut novel based on true events. Manjiro and his fellow fishermen find refuge on a remote island after a storm destroys their ship. When they are rescued by an American whaleboat captain and given the chance to return home with him Manjiro accepts the offer. His encounters with a land that he has been taught is barbaric and his subsequent efforts to return to Japan shape him into an admirable character. Preus pla
Product Details ISBN-13: 9781613120088
Published: Amulet Books, 02/01/2011
Language: en