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So Far from the Bamboo Grove
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So Far from the Bamboo Grove (Paperback)
by Yoko Kawashawa Watkins
(148 customer reviews)    
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Number of Reviews: 148
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4 of 73 people found the following review helpful:

It's a good book to know what war is, January 17, 2007
Reviewer:bumblebeee - See all my reviews
Yoko's story is just a typical experience of Japanese refugees who were evacuated from Korea right after the war.
There was an abortion clinic near Hakata port for the women in 1946.
War makes people insane so it must not happen again, that's what we should learn from Yoko's book.
You will cry after reading.

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68 of 93 people found the following review helpful:

It is so bad book !!, January 17, 2007
Reviewer:J. Ok - See all my reviews
I do not understand why US people use this book in school ? This book said that it is her autobiography. But a lot of story is fiction. The autohor should feel a lot of shame about her lying. Who is victim in the War ? Why Japanese got A-bomb at Hiroshima and Nakasaki ? Still you do not know the reason. This book story is so cruel. It is not good for young kids ?
Dear US guys, Do not forget Pearl Harbor~~ .

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79 of 100 people found the following review helpful:

A dangerous book (Heard of Unit 731?), January 17, 2007
Reviewer:Quantum Leap "Yong" (Seoul, Korea) - See all my reviews
The author's father was a high-ranking official at "Unit 731", a covert medical experiment unit of the Imperial Japanese Army which researched biological warfare through **human experimentation** during the Second World War. Imagine Doctor Yamada, a friend of her father's and "always treated his patients with a smile", performing vivisections on prisoners including wowen and children with the author's father. So much for "a true story of courage and survival".

Considering many (hopefully inadvertent) distortions of history and truth, teachers and parents should be careful in recommending this book to their children. I urge the author, if she truly loves her father and her Japanese origin, to face the truth and dedicate her talent to write another book that tries to console the victims who died in her father's camp and under the brutality of Japanese army.

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61 of 75 people found the following review helpful:

What's the sequel? The story of a SS officer's daughter?, January 17, 2007
Reviewer:Y. SOOK "cool13482" (Korea) - See all my reviews
Oh, yeah? So what's next?
A true story of "courage and survival" of a 10 year-old daughter of a Nazis SS high officer, after the WW2 in turbulent conditions of eastern Europe?
Come on, have a little piece of common sense, guys? (and so many school teachers of US schools which have decided to use this book in the schoolroom. What a wonderful world. Oh, my, excuse me, what so many wonderful US schools!)
And why dosen't Amazon have the "0 star" rate?
So the author's father was a high official of the Manchu Empire, the dear home of the 731 unit which had the hilarious fame for human vivisections and various chemical, physical, and microbiological experiments on human prisoners (if you have difficulties in understanding this, well, dose Dr Josef Mengele & Auschwitz ring a bell? The unit 731 did the same job for another Empire, as Dr Mengele did for the Third Reich.), and his daughter could emigrate to US, AND write a book portraying his family as victims, AND get good reviews?
Sure, this book was rejected in Japan, because even the most loyal imperialists couldn't support this book there, with its so many errors in the field of historical, geological, military data.

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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful:

A document of the House of Representatives regarding the Japanese Army during WWII, January 17, 2007
Reviewer:H. Chun - See all my reviews
H.Res. 759, 109th Congress, 2d Session.
In the House of Representatives April 4, 2006

Mr. EVANS (for himself and Mr. SMITH of New Jersey) submitted the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

Status: Referred to the House Committee on International Relations.


Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan should formally acknowledge and accept responsibility for its sexual enslavement of young women, known to the world as 'comfort women', during its colonial occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II, and for other purposes.

Whereas the Government of Japan, during its colonial occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II, organized the subjugation and kidnapping, for the sole purpose of sexual servitude, of young women, who became known to the world as 'comfort women';

Whereas the 'comfort women' tragedy was one of the largest cases of human trafficking in the 20th century;

Whereas the enslavement of comfort women was officially commissioned and orchestrated by the Government of Japan to include gang rape, forced abortions, sexual violence, human trafficking, and numerous other crimes against humanity;

Whereas the comfort women included girls as young as 13 years of age and women separated from their own children;

Whereas the comfort women were either abducted from their homes or lured into sexual servitude under false pretenses;

Whereas many comfort women were eventually killed or driven to commit suicide when the hostilities ceased;

Whereas the use of 'comfort women' is considered a current as well as past human rights issue;

Whereas the shame connected to their ordeal caused many comfort women to conceal it and caused many others to come forward about their experiences only in recent years;

Whereas historians conclude that as many as 200,000 women were enslaved, but very few of them survive today;

Whereas the Government of Japan did not fully disclose these war crimes during negotiations for reparations with its former enemies and occupied countries;

Whereas some textbooks used in Japanese schools minimize the 'comfort women' tragedy and other atrocities, and distort the Japanese role in war crimes during World War II; and

Whereas Japanese Government officials, both elected and career, as recently as June 2005, praised the removal of the term 'comfort women' from Japanese textbooks: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan--

(1) should formally acknowledge and accept responsibility for its sexual enslavement of young women, known to the world as 'comfort women', during its colonial occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands from the 1930s through the duration of World War II;

(2) should educate current and future generations about this horrible crime against humanity;

(3) should publicly, strongly, and repeatedly refute any claims that the subjugation and enslavement of comfort women never occurred; and

(4) should follow the recommendations of the United Nations and Amnesty International with respect to the 'comfort women'.

Supplementary Information on previous resolutions:

June 25, 2000 -- A resolution ordering Japan to apologize and compensate victims of war crimes committed during World War II has been proposed to the U.S. House of Representatives. The resolution includes measures for comfort women, Korean women forced into providing sex to the Japanese Army. Congressman Lane Evans-13th District Illinois (Democrat) submitted the resolution to the International Relations Committee on June 19 for consideration during the 106th Congress in September. This resolution is the second of its kind, following one submitted by Congressman William Lipinski-3rd District Illinois (Democrat) in July 1997. The resolution was passed on to the International Relations Committee's Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, but was later scrapped when congressmen delayed resolutions, fearing damage to relations with Japan.

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124 of 142 people found the following review helpful:

Jews raped and killed Nazis?, January 16, 2007
A Kid's Review
Quite frankly, this book is very disturbing. It is the equivalent of a book telling the story of a Nazi family being chased/raped by angry Jews after the liberation of Europe during the Holocaust. Ever heard of the diary of Anne Frank? Well, imagine that book but instead she is a Nazi girl hiding from the Jews.

Here are some historical inconsistencies.

1. The Korean communists were not established until 1948.
2. There are absolutely no bamboos in Korea, both South and North.
3. The Japanese army remained in Korea until the US/Russian forces arrived.
4. 2 million Korean men were conscripted into forced labor and military services.
5. 300,000+ Korean girls were conscripted into forced prostitution and sexual slavery.
6. American warplanes hardly even touched the Korean peninsula throughout the war.
7. If there ever was a bombing in northern part of Korea, it would most certainly have been the Russian warplanes, as the Americans had not even begun military operations in the south yet. Russian forces overran Japanese defences in Manchuria and the northern tip of Korea shortly before Japan's surrender.

If this book advertised itself as pure fiction, I would still find it disturbing for its content. It's really unfortunate that it claims to be a true account when it possibly couldn't be true due to the historical inconsistencies and unlikeliness of the events described.

There is a reason this book is banned throughout Asia and not publishedin Japan. As an American, I am very ashamed that this book has been read and accepted by other American readers.

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87 of 104 people found the following review helpful:

Utterly fabericated, January 16, 2007
Reviewer:E. kim (san jose, ca) - See all my reviews
Yoko is crazy. She needs to get her facts straight before writing a "non-fiction" novel. This book is terrible from a historical view. And teachers who've assigned this novel to read need to get their teaching license revoked.... or at least take a serious Asian history class.

This book is actually well-written. However the FACTS ARE FABRICATED. Japan REFUSED to print this book because there was so much fabrication. This book is fiction, NOT non-fiction.

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81 of 95 people found the following review helpful:

Reviewer:NY Ajushee "NY Ajushee" (USA) - See all my reviews

If one didn't know the history behind the Japanese occupation of Korea, one might think that the Koreans truly were ingrates. But Korea became part of the Japanese Empire AGAINST its will. Japan took over Korea illegally; Japan plundered Korea's natural resources for its own use (to feed and fuel Japan's population and military); Japan treated Koreans as a subordinate citizenry, an inferior class of people not unlike the way blacks were treated before and after the US Civil War; Japan forced Koreans to adopt Japanese names, forbade the usage of the Korean language (YES IN KOREA) and forced young Korean girls to become sex slaves for the Japanese army during World War II.

(Chinese, Filipino, and even Dutch women fell prey to this as well).

As for the history: first of all, who is the so-called "Anti-Japanese Communist Army" that she is referring to? For her to think that Koreans would have been anything but "anti-Japanese" after 35 years of harsh, brutal, and racist colonial rule is a bit naive and quite farfetched. There were Koreans who fought for Korean liberation and who were summarily tortured and executed. So, who is this army?

The first leader of what is now North Korea, Kim Il-Sung, had been a guerrilla fighter and later an officer in the Soviet Army. Kim made a name for himself by allying himself with Chinese Communist guerrillas, who were fighting Japanese imperialism and aggression in their own country (and against the Chinese Nationalist government). But he was not the first of the Korean communist guerrillas to re-enter Korea upon Japan's defeat in World War 2, and the Soviet Army (unbeknownst to this author and to just about all of you who know so little about history) disarmed Korean returnees when they crossed from Manchuria into northern Korea.

Now, I'm not saying that whatever violence the Japanese may have endured on and after Hirohito's surrender via radio on Aug 15 1945 was right, but it was understandable. It was akin to Dutch and Polish citizens turning on their Nazi captors. But considering the harshness of Japanese colonial rule, it was normal for Koreans to seek revenge.

My final points are:

1. You non-Asians who are automatically tempted to side with the author when she mentions this "communist" army: don't assume these Korean communists in 1945 were innately evil. This ignores the history of nascent Korean communism from the greater historical context that explains this movement's nationalistic and anti-Japanese angle and its attractiveness to Koreans. The historical record demonstrates communists in Korea at the time of Japan's defeat in World War II as patriots who had risked their lives to fight for KOrea's freedom against the iron-fisted regime of Japanese imperialism.
2. If you think that I or the others here who are of Korean heritage are overreacting, I suggest you pick up a few books on Japan's war crimes. Do any search about the Rape of Nanking, the Comfort Women, and if you really want a clue, get any book that talks about Japan's colonial occupation of Korea. The Japanese literally tried to erase Korean culture and language and tried to Japanize all Koreans. I wonder how Germans would have been treated in 1945 France or Holland if they had tried to destroy every known vestige of French and Dutch culture and language.

This book may be a sincere testimony, but it's too bad the author never bothered to learn about what her country did to Korea that made the Koreans of her time so thirsty for revenge. I wonder how she would have reacted if she saw a book about a Chinese or Korean women writing about an angry anti-Chinese/anti-Korean Japanese army after China or Korea had occupied Japan for 35 years and tried to erase Japanese culture, treated Japanese as sub-humans, raped Japanese women, forced Japanese girls to work in brothels...

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82 of 96 people found the following review helpful:

False-hearted story, January 16, 2007
Reviewer:Amb Park (New Jersey) - See all my reviews
Read this book and fall in love with Yoko the Japanese. That is exactly what Yoko wants.
Her lies, deceit and cover up story will certainly make you one of the Japanese lovers. After all, Japanese bought our Hollywood for a reason. Our educators must be educated with facts before they recommend our kids to read this false-hearted story. Do you believe the holocaust in Europe had never happened? Yoko is trying very hard to make you a believer in Japanese version.

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80 of 94 people found the following review helpful:

So far from reality, rejected in Japan and welcomed in U.S., January 16, 2007
Reviewer:Lee Young Cherl "aromdaom" (Seoul, Korea) - See all my reviews
Even Japanese publication companies refused to print the book. In China the book was banned. Why? The book is full of fallacies. Bamboo groves, for example, are non-existent in Hamgyeong buk-do, the Korean area where the author claims to have saw all the astrocities. And by July 1945 American warplanes had not reached the area but the author says U.S. air attack was being carried out for weeks by then.

It is very strange that the book is sold well in America.

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