Synopses & Reviews
The eight stories that comprise this collection were all written in the 1970s and 80s, yet vividly evoke early 17th-century Japan, when peace finally reigned after centuries of warfare. It was a period of upheaval and change as the rulers carved out their territories and clan politics were full of intrigue, rivalry and betrayals. The samurai were still valued for their swordsmanship, and were a cut above the peasants, artisans, and merchants in the social hierarchy. Without battles to fight, however, they struggled to retain their sense of pride and meaning in life as they devoted themselves to mundane jobs, marriage and family. The occasional flash of the sword and samurai discipline were tempered by the unexpected intrusion of human interaction. Sympathies, conspiracies, kindnesses, enmities-all kinds of odd relationships were formed and conflicts resolved in surprising ways. These tales are colorful, atmospheric, exciting, tender, violent and gently ironic.
The Bamboo Sword and Other Samurai Tales is published as part of the Japanese Literature Publishing Project (JLPP), which is run by the Japanese Literature Publishing and Promotion Center (J-Lit Center) on behalf of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan.
"Gavin Frew's translation is noticeably and fittingly anodyne and, as such, creates a trustworthy parallel to the author's style . . . With this collection, the interested foreign reader can indeed learn more about the appeal of popular literature in Japan." -Donald Richie for The Japan Times
"What is Fujisawa's enduring appeal? For one thing, he wrote tenderly and eloquently about ordinary people and had a special affinity for the social underdog." -Newsweek (International Edition)
A collection of eight short stories written by the late novelist evoke the essence of life in early 17th-century Japan--the day-to-day happenings of the samurai and townspeople that lived in this "peacetime" era of Japanese history.
About the Author
The late SHUHEI FUJISAWA (1927-1997) was a multi-million-copy bestselling author in Japan and a scriptwriter, whose work was adapted into several acclaimed films including the Oscar-nominated "The Twilight Samurai" (2002), based on "The Bamboo Sword" and other stories from this collection; and "The Hidden Blade" (2004). This is the first time any of these stories have been available in English.
GAVIN FREW is the translator of numerous published works, including eight novels and over thirty short stories. He lives in Japan.