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Memories of Silk and Straw: A Self-Portrait of Small-Town Japan

by

Memories of Silk and Straw: A Self-Portrait of Small-Town Japan Cover

ISBN13: 9780870119880
ISBN10: 0870119885
Condition: Student Owned
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

Over 50 reminiscences of pre-modern Japan — illustrations of a way of life that has virtually disappeared. Voted "Best Book of the Year" by Japan's foreign press.

This is a collective biography, based on interviews taped by a small-town doctor, recording the lives of a cotton dyer, blacksmith, tofu maker, undertaker, carter, tenant farmer, local gangster, casual laborer, horse-meat butcher, magistrate's wife, apprentice geisha, rice merchant, thatcher, carpenter, midwife, county hangman, pawnbroker, draper, fisherman, hairdresser, servant, charcoal burner, and so on — over fifty in all. Their memories are all related to a lakeside town and its rural suburbs northeast of Tokyo.

Born in the early years of this century, these people have both seen the old Japan and lived through the changes brought about by modernization and the onset of affluence. In a real sense, they provide the sole surviving links with a feudal way of life and its attitudes which have altered, in the space of fifty years or so, beyond recognition.

Through plain-spoken anecdote — their voices by turns amused, nostalgic, disturbing but unsensational — they describe their youth in a tougher world where poverty was commonplace, where unwanted children were sometimes thinned out at birth, where poorer families cooked out-of-doors and fishermen in summer went almost naked. By saving their memories for posterity, the author hoped to close, just a fraction, the gap in perception between a traditional past and the Japan we know today. The result — as the distinguished anthropologist, Ronald Dore, says in his preface — is a book to savor, and a book to learn from.

These reminiscences are accompanied byillustrations painted by the author's father, Dr. Susumu Saga — themselves a record of an old man's past.

Review:

"[F]ascinating...people — geisha, gangster, shop-keeper, seamstress, farmer, fisherman, carter, midwife — all speaking candidly about their lives." San Francisco Examiner

Review:

"The finest book on...traditional life to have been published in English for a very long time — if ever." Alan Booth, author of The Roads to Sata

Review:

"A sensitive portrait of a Japan known to too few in the Western world." Choice

Synopsis:

Over 50 reminiscences of pre-modern Japan-illustrations of a way of life that has virtually disappeared. Voted "Best Book of the Year" by Japan's foreign press.

This is a collective biography, based on interviews taped by a small-town doctor, recording the lives of a cotton dyer, blacksmith, tofu maker, undertaker, carter, tenant farmer, local gangster, casual laborer, horse-meat butcher, magistrate's wife, apprentice geisha, rice merchant, thatcher, carpenter, midwife, county hangman, pawnbroker, draper, fisherman, hairdresser, servant, charcoal burner, and so on-over fifty in all. Their memories are all related to a lakeside town and its rural suburbs northeast of Tokyo.

Born in the early years of this century, these people have both seen the old Japan and lived through the changes brought about by modernization and the onset of affluence. In a real sense, they provide the sole surviving links with a feudal way of life and its attitudes which have altered, in the space of fifty years or so, beyond recognition.

Through plain-spoken anecdote-their voices by turns amused, nostalgic, disturbing but unsensational-they describe their youth in a tougher world where poverty was commonplace, where unwanted children were sometimes "thinned out at birth, where poorer families cooked out-of-doors and fishermen in summer went almost naked. By saving their memories for posterity, the author hoped to close, just a fraction, the gap in perception between a traditional past and the Japan we know today. The result-as the distinguished anthropologist, Ronald Dore, says in his preface-is "a book to savor, and a book to learn from."

These reminiscences are accompanied by illustrations painted by the author's father, Dr. Susumu Saga-themselves a record of an old man's past.

About the Author

Saga is a medical doctor with a general practice in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Lake Kasumigaura.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Ken MacRae, November 23, 2009 (view all comments by Ken MacRae)
Three books by this author have been translated into English, I found a copy of 'Memories of Silk...' in a local book store and enjoyed it so much that I ordered copies of the other two from Powells. These books preserve accounts of the lives of working people in traditional pre-modern Japan. The translator has done a splendid job of each book. The hard cover first editions I have of the two 'Memories...' titles were beautifully printed in Japan with particularly attractive dustjackets and would make excellent gifts.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Toykeeper, March 9, 2007 (view all comments by Toykeeper)
Once you start reading the first page, I bet you that you will not put the book down. It's true, heart-touching stories of different types of social groups keeps a reader interested. If you've visited Japan, you'll scarcely believe that Japan at this time ever existed. One of the best books about pre-war Japan.
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(4 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780870119880
Subtitle:
A Self-Portrait of Small-Town Japan
Author:
Saga, Junichi
Translator:
Evans, Garry O.
Author:
null, Junichi
Author:
Evans, Garry O.
Publisher:
Kodansha USA
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Sociology, rural
Subject:
Security
Subject:
Anthropology | Social
Subject:
Cultural
Subject:
Anthropology | Social and Cultural
Subject:
Anthropology | Social & Cultural
Edition Description:
morocco leather black LAE97A
Publication Date:
19900615
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
30 b/w illus.
Pages:
260
Dimensions:
8.28x5.55x.79 in. .85 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Asia » Japan » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » World History » Japan

Memories of Silk and Straw: A Self-Portrait of Small-Town Japan Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.00 In Stock
Product details 260 pages Kodansha America - English 9780870119880 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[F]ascinating...people — geisha, gangster, shop-keeper, seamstress, farmer, fisherman, carter, midwife — all speaking candidly about their lives."
"Review" by , "The finest book on...traditional life to have been published in English for a very long time — if ever."
"Review" by , "A sensitive portrait of a Japan known to too few in the Western world."
"Synopsis" by , Over 50 reminiscences of pre-modern Japan-illustrations of a way of life that has virtually disappeared. Voted "Best Book of the Year" by Japan's foreign press.

This is a collective biography, based on interviews taped by a small-town doctor, recording the lives of a cotton dyer, blacksmith, tofu maker, undertaker, carter, tenant farmer, local gangster, casual laborer, horse-meat butcher, magistrate's wife, apprentice geisha, rice merchant, thatcher, carpenter, midwife, county hangman, pawnbroker, draper, fisherman, hairdresser, servant, charcoal burner, and so on-over fifty in all. Their memories are all related to a lakeside town and its rural suburbs northeast of Tokyo.

Born in the early years of this century, these people have both seen the old Japan and lived through the changes brought about by modernization and the onset of affluence. In a real sense, they provide the sole surviving links with a feudal way of life and its attitudes which have altered, in the space of fifty years or so, beyond recognition.

Through plain-spoken anecdote-their voices by turns amused, nostalgic, disturbing but unsensational-they describe their youth in a tougher world where poverty was commonplace, where unwanted children were sometimes "thinned out at birth, where poorer families cooked out-of-doors and fishermen in summer went almost naked. By saving their memories for posterity, the author hoped to close, just a fraction, the gap in perception between a traditional past and the Japan we know today. The result-as the distinguished anthropologist, Ronald Dore, says in his preface-is "a book to savor, and a book to learn from."

These reminiscences are accompanied by illustrations painted by the author's father, Dr. Susumu Saga-themselves a record of an old man's past.

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