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by buruma-ian

eBook The China Lover download ISBN: 184354802X
Author: buruma-ian
Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (2009)
Language: English
ePub: 1801 kb
Fb2: 1969 kb
Rating: 4.5
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Category: Other

Ian Buruma is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College in New York state.

Ian Buruma is the Henry R. His previous books include God’s Dust, Bad Elements, The Wages of Guilt, Anglomania and Murder in Amsterdam, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Current Interest Book and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He was the recipient of the 2008 Shorenstein Journalism Award, which honoured him for his distinguished body of work, and the 2008 Erasmus Prize.

And in The China Lover Buruma the non-fiction writer shows that he can write a very good novel. The China Lover" overflows with intriguing characters, particularly Amakasu, a shadowy official who supervises Japan's propaganda efforts in China. 3 people found this helpful. I kept visualizing the oily haired fixer supreme who called the shots in the film "The Last Emperor" and put a pistol to his temple at the end. Eventually, I put this novel down to look him up and discovered that Amakasu was indeed a true historical figure.

Much of his writing has focused on the culture of Asia, particularly that of China and 20th-century Japan. He was the Paul W. Williams Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College from 2003 to 2017.

The China Lover book. A transfixing portrait of a woman and a nation eagerly burying the. The author, famous Japan expert Ian Buruma, uses three different male narrators to I have finally given up on this book, 3/4 of the way through, which is highly unusual for me. I really wanted to like it-the plot sounded interesting, about a Japanese woman who grew up in China and became a successful actor there during the war, and then reinvented herself in Japan and also in the . with different identities throughout her life. The story is based on the life of the real-life Ri Koran.

My father was so disgusted with me that he had even stopped calling me a damned sissy. Mama looked permanently worried since she found me one day pulling faces in the mirror while uttering Marlene’s famous words: It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.

The China Lover By Ian Buruma. In Japanese-occupied Manchuria in the 1930s, a teenage singer and actress named Yoshiko Yamaguchi rose to stardom in a series of propaganda films intended to celebrate Japan's noble role in China. Acting under the pseudonym Ri Koran, Yamaguchi created a sensation in erotic melodramas like "China Nights," about a love affair between a Chinese peasant girl and a heroic Japanese ship captain in wartime Shanghai

Into The China Lover, Buruma has poured his decades of thinking about Japan.

Into The China Lover, Buruma has poured his decades of thinking about Japan. It should be a sure-fire recipe for indigestion, but, miraculously, it isn't. The novel is not exactly straightforward, though. The China Lover is a clever book, and knows it. Motifs are woven through each section: a slap delivered by one character to another at a pivotal moment, the recurrent metaphor of the frog in the well. Though mannered, these touches give the story a certain ritualistic dignity, like the characteristic gestures of classic kabuki roles. This is a book so deliberately Japanese it could only have been written by a Westerner.

In this scintillating book, Ian Buruma peels away the myths that surround Japanese culture. With piercing analysis of cinema, theatre, television, art and legend, he shows the Japanese both 'as they imagine themselves to be, and as they would like themselves to b. A Japanese Mirror examines samurai and gangsters, transvestites and goddesses to paint an eloquent picture of life in Japan. This is a country long shrouded in enigma and in his compelling book, Buruma reveals a culture rich in with poetry, beauty and wonder.

The China Lover - Ian Buruma. Acknowledgments I read the book over and over until the cheap paper wore so thin that it began to fall apart. PART ONE. THERE WAS A time, hard to imagine now, when the Japanese fell in love with China. Well, not all Japanese, of course, but enough to be able to speak of a China Boom. I read the book over and over until the cheap paper wore so thin that it began to fall apart. Alone, in the yard of our house, I wielded my bamboo sword in imaginary battles against wicked rulers, striking poses I knew from the pictures, putting myself in the roles of Nine-Dragon Shishin or Welcome Rain, the dusky outlaw with his phoenix eyes.

It is quite simply unforgettable. Romance Fiction Historical. To read this book, upload an EPUB or FB2 file to Bookmate.

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Comments: (7)
Mysterious Wrench
This endeavor is excellent in providing cultural and historical context. From a fictional novel aspect, it leaves much to be desired. A poor narrative approach, a disjointed weaving of a story, and uneven character development--its just OK. It is an excellent insight into the long-held divisions and differences between the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. It is almost a must--a pleasant way to acquire an understanding of the very strong historical basis underlying China's world view.
I have an interest in Li Xianglan way before I knew about this novel. Actually I read other people's reviews on this novel as well as an interview with the author before I bought the book. The author is,of course, free to incorporate anything about Li into his fictional character. For those who intend to find out something about Li through this book, it would be a mixed blessing. True, the author did capture some aspects of her life, but reading the fiction also suggests some aspects of the author as a white Westerner who has a "certain" fascination of Asian women. Casual remarks made through the characters reveal some of this attitude. There is also a hint from his interview that the author does not react as most people do in regard to the Nanking Massacre. The reader can draw his/her opinion as to whether this has anything to do with the novel.
should be read by everyone! Great book!!! So enlightening and stimulating. Dawkins writes in such an engaging manner, making even the most difficult of topics comprehensible to the non-scientist types.
Excellent Book
With few exceptions, people who write great fiction do not write good non-fiction. And the converse is also true: people who write great non-fiction do not usually write good novels. As Ian Buruma is a great writer of non-fiction with a special talent for imposing order on extremely complex subjects, one turns to his fiction with a certain amount of hesitation. Will he be able to pull it off?

The China Lover is set in the familiar territory of China and Japan. Since Buruma knows both places well and, as always, has done his research, the doubts that arise are largely technical ones: Will the characters come off as editorial mouthpieces or human beings? Will Buruma try to recreate the past as accurately as possible or just tell a good story?

The first problem that becomes apparent is the limitation of the first-person narrator. The guy that Buruma has chosen to open the novel can't write as well as Buruma can. This sounds like a logical impossibility, but it isn't. And although the use of a limited narrator does help to flesh out the character of impresario Sato Daisuke, it hardly compensates for the loss of Buruma.

The China Lover is a fictionalized account of the life of actress and singer Yamaguchi Yoshiko. Although Yamaguchi was born to Japanese parents in Manchuria in 1920, she went by the name Li Xianglan (pronounced Ri Koran in Japanese) and many people both in China and abroad assumed that she was Chinese. Her early films were mostly propaganda vehicles to promote the virtues of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Ri Koran soon became the poster girl for Japan-Manchuria friendship and her films and songs were immensely popular in China and Japan.

Throughout the first part of the book there are frequent references to Japan's mission to liberate Asia from Western imperialism. Fortunately, the narrator is cynical enough to see that the colonization of Manchuria and the occupation of Shanghai are just another form of domination. It was thought that with other Asians as the masters, the whole mercantile business of trade and development would be more palatable to the Chinese. Unfortunately, most of the Chinese didn't see it that way. If anything, they grew to resent Japan far more than they had the British a hundred years earlier.

The narrator of Part Two is based on Donald Richie and here Buruma is on much surer ground. The voice is more confident and the style - like the style of Richie's Japan Journals: 1947-2004 - is pithy and assured.

Narrator Sidney Vanoven comes to Japan from Bowling Green, Ohio to work in the Information Bureau at the General Headquarters of SCAP in Tokyo right after the war. Once again, the mission is one of propaganda and the American version is every bit as heavy-handed as the Japanese one had been. Vanoven works as a film censor whose instructions are to see to it that the ideals of democracy are promoted in Japanese films. But Vanoven is too interested in Japanese films as they are to want to ruin them with formulaic Hollywood story lines and "brass brand materialism." He is soon fired.

Now that the war is over, Ri Koran has returned to the land of her parents and begun her second incarnation as Yamaguchi Yoshiko. Yamaguchi meets Vanoven and they develop a friendship. As with the first part of the book, the Vanoven narrative focuses on what is happening in Yamaguchi's life. Her career and personal life are chronicled. We read of her films, adoring fans, marriage to Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, and of her third incarnation as Hollywood actress Shirley Yamaguchi.

Part Three begins with yet another narrator, a young Marxist filmmaker named Sato Kenkichi who was raised by his mother in Misawa, a small town in Aomori Prefecture that hosts a U.S. military base. His mother runs a small movie theater there that caters to the U.S. military and Sato is uncomfortable with both the town's provincialism and the indignities associated with hosting a foreign power. When he leaves Misawa for Tokyo to attend university in the years following the student riots of 1960, Sato has all the makings of a young radical.

In Tokyo, Sato takes up with an interesting group of people. One friend named Okuni is involved with staging highly imaginative dramatic productions all over Tokyo. Another friend produces soft porn films that combine social and political commentary with exactly six-minute segments of sex. The idea is that the political - rather than the sexual - becomes subliminal.

Sato begins working with Yamaguchi Yoshiko to write and produce some television programs on Viet Nam and the Palestinians for Japanese housewives. While the programs are successful, Sato's time in Beirut and his radical sympathies soon lead him to join the Japanese United Red Army with rather predictable consequences. Yamaguchi goes on to yet another career - this time as a member of the Japanese Diet.

In an attempt to draw all of the threads of the novel together, Buruma closes with a rumination on the power of images - especially the images in films - to take on a life of their own. For the main character of The China Lover and the three narrators, the act of making and watching films is both creative and destructive. Like propaganda, films can be used to sell many things. But they can also be used for art. And in The China Lover Buruma the non-fiction writer shows that he can write a very good novel.
An engrossing, wonderfully-written historical novel. Here's the premise: In 1940, at the height of Japan's military aggression during World War II, a movie called "China Nights" won the hearts of countless Japanese soldiers and patriots who were riveted by the stirring singing voice of the young girl who plays a Chinese orphan rescued by a Japanese officer who both loves and beats her. The singer became enormously popular, a symbol of subservience to Japan's self-image of benevolent but iron rule over Asia.

After Japan lost the war, the singer was accused of treason for helping her wartime captors. To escape execution, she revealed a secret -- that she was actually Japanese and had followed orders to pretend to be Chinese. She escaped to Japan and reinvented herself as a successful film actress, Yoshiko Yamaguchi, though she used the first name Shirley when she made it to Hollywood and Broadway.

Ian Buruma, a film buff and an accomplished writer of nonfiction about Asia, delivers a lushly rendered piece of historical fiction. Buruma conveys the exhilaration and devastation of Japan's military folly and its resulting moral hangover through the lens of the film world at the time. With a sharp yet generous eye, Buruma explores the moods and sensibilities of the movie business in wartime Shanghai and postwar Tokyo.

His novel seems to revel in and see through the filmmaking and its role in shaping memory and history. It's a cinematic story, in topic and form, made richer by the fertile emotional terrain of its fallible protagonists.

The story begins in Manchuria, narrated by a cultural official named Sato, whose day job is to promote cultural events that win over Chinese hearts and minds and whose nighttime pursuits satisfy a prodigious appetite for bedding Chinese actresses. As a Japanese patriot, Sato sneers at the haughty European colonials and is thrilled by news of Pearl Harbor.

Yet Sato is fascinated by the mysteries and challenges of life in a foreign culture, which fuel and soothe his restless nature. He also observes the realities of war with stark clarity, seeing Japan's military police as sadistic thugs whose real goal is to profit from illicit schemes and lawlessly exercise power over the helpless.

"The China Lover" overflows with intriguing characters, particularly Amakasu, a shadowy official who supervises Japan's propaganda efforts in China. I kept visualizing the oily haired fixer supreme who called the shots in the film "The Last Emperor" and put a pistol to his temple at the end.

Eventually, I put this novel down to look him up and discovered that Amakasu was indeed a true historical figure.

The second part of the book shifts to postwar Tokyo and is narrated by a young American soldier, Sidney, who works in the film censor's office, a perfect vantage point for watching a golden era of filmmaking begin to germinate. Buruma seems to know every nook and cranny of this landscape. Akira Kurosawa, Frank Capra, Truman Capote and others make charming, understated cameo appearances that give the story power.

In Tokyo, Yamaguchi refuses to acknowledge her wartime past and personifies Japan's painful mixture of denial, humility and determination to work her way out of previous moral failings of the war, all under the eye of a MacArthur-led occupation by the Americans. Those swirling pressures seem to get funneled into the creativity of film studios, with palpable results. "It was the natural flow of images, the beautifully timed cuts, and the camera work, which was intimate without being intrusive," Buruma writes. "There were few close-ups, and no false glamour. Here was life itself being discreetly but closely observed."

After a tempestuous marriage to a headstrong architect, Yamaguchi remarries and moves abroad, effectively disappearing from the public eye. Yet she reappears in the 1960s and reinvents herself again, this time as a TV journalist for a daytime program aimed at Japanese housewives, "What a Weird World: Yoshiko Yamaguchi Reports From the Front Line."

She ventures to Vietnam and Beirut to report on war and terrorism and focuses on the moral crimes she sees. The third section of this novel is improbably yet persuasively narrated by a Japanese terrorist who is jailed in Beirut in the 1970s when a band of Japanese radicals gets caught. (Yamaguchi later became a member of parliament for the conservative ruling party. She still lives in Tokyo.)

This novel, while finely drawn and true to the spirit of the history it covers, falls short in a couple of places. The character of Yamaguchi comes across as earnest and sincere, but she is just not as compelling as the narrators, who each see the moral compromises in others and in themselves. She feels flat in comparison. And though the characterization of each narrator is distinct, their voices all sound suspiciously like . . . Buruma's. It's a trade-off: Buruma's sharp insights and historical perspective tumble off the tongues of each narrator, and I was grateful for them, but sometimes they feel too smart for the mouth from which they spring.

Like many historic events, Japan's aggression in Asia during World War II is often remembered by the way we saw it depicted on film, whether in "The Bridge on the River Kwai," "Letters From Iwo Jima" or even in the black-and-white clips of old newsreels. Buruma knows the persuasive pull -- and the misleading simplicity -- that film can have on memory and history. His novel takes us deep into events of the 20th century and shows us with vivid strokes what it felt like.