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The Breaking Jewel (Weatherhead Books on Asia)

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The Breaking Jewel (Weatherhead Books on Asia) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"The Breaking Jewel" is set on an island in the South Pacific during the final days of World War II, when the tide has turned against Japan and it is clear that the war has become one of attrition. The novel opens with the preparations of a small force of Japanese soldiers to defend a tiny and ultimately insignificant island from a full-scale assault by American forces. The narrative closely follows the character of squad leader Nakamura, the sole Japanese survivor of the battle.
Oda, previously known for his anti-establishment and anti-war sentiments, gradually and subtly develops a powerful indictment against the war. His novel highlights the bravery of the Japanese soldiers but also criticizes the hypocrisy of their leaders. He shows that despite Japanese protests against Western imperialism during the war, the Japanese sergeants themselves exercised prejudice against their Korean and Okinawan enlistees (Korea and Okinawa were then considered colonies of Japan).
The soldiers grapple with the meaning of the term "gyokusai, " literally meaning "the breaking jewel" or the "pulverization of the gem, " which refers to a patriotic act of mass suicide as a last defense of the homeland. The novel debates whether "gyokusai" is truly an act of patriotism or of defeat.
Oda offers a rare depiction of the Pacific war from the Japanese side and captures the essence of Japan's doomed imperial aims.

Synopsis:

Set on an island in the South Pacific during the final days of World War II, when the tide has turned against Japan and the war has unmistakably become one of attrition, The Breaking Jewel offers a rare depiction of the Pacific War from the Japanese side and captures the essence of Japan's doomed imperial aims. The novel opens as a small force of Japanese soldiers prepares to defend a tiny and ultimately insignificant island from a full-scale assault by American forces. Its story centers on squad leader Nakamura, who resists the Americans to the end, as he and his comrades grapple with the idea of gyokusai, (translated as the breaking jewel or the pulverization of the gem), the patriotic act of mass suicide in defense of the homeland.

Well known for his antiestablishment and antiwar sentiments, Makuto Oda gradually and subtly develops a powerful critique of the war and the racialist imperial aims that proved Japan's undoing.

Synopsis:

A rare look at the Japanese experience of World War II by a Japanese novelist and peace activist, "The Breaking Jewel" is set on an island in the South Pacific during the final days of World War II, when the tide has turned against Japan. The novel opens with the preparations of a small force of Japanese soldiers to defend a tiny and ultimately insignificant island from a full-scale assault by American forces. The narrative closely follows the character of squad leader Nakamura, the sole Japanese survivor of the battle.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780231126137
Translator:
Keene, Donald
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Translator:
Keene, Donald
Author:
Oda, Makoto
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Asian - General
Subject:
Asia - General
Subject:
Japanese fiction
Subject:
Patriotism
Subject:
World War, 19
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Series:
Weatherhead Books on Asia
Series Volume:
no 401
Publication Date:
20030131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
136
Dimensions:
8.40x5.54x.41 in. .43 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

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Product details 136 pages Columbia University Press - English 9780231126137 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Set on an island in the South Pacific during the final days of World War II, when the tide has turned against Japan and the war has unmistakably become one of attrition, The Breaking Jewel offers a rare depiction of the Pacific War from the Japanese side and captures the essence of Japan's doomed imperial aims. The novel opens as a small force of Japanese soldiers prepares to defend a tiny and ultimately insignificant island from a full-scale assault by American forces. Its story centers on squad leader Nakamura, who resists the Americans to the end, as he and his comrades grapple with the idea of gyokusai, (translated as the breaking jewel or the pulverization of the gem), the patriotic act of mass suicide in defense of the homeland.

Well known for his antiestablishment and antiwar sentiments, Makuto Oda gradually and subtly develops a powerful critique of the war and the racialist imperial aims that proved Japan's undoing.

"Synopsis" by , A rare look at the Japanese experience of World War II by a Japanese novelist and peace activist, "The Breaking Jewel" is set on an island in the South Pacific during the final days of World War II, when the tide has turned against Japan. The novel opens with the preparations of a small force of Japanese soldiers to defend a tiny and ultimately insignificant island from a full-scale assault by American forces. The narrative closely follows the character of squad leader Nakamura, the sole Japanese survivor of the battle.
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