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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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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful:

Terrible sense of history, January 20, 2007
Reviewer:Y. J. PARK "ulianof" (Raleigh, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If there is an escape story of sympathetic German girl from cruel Poland and Polish at World War II, I could agree this story.
But This book totally distorts the truth of history.
So, I can not possibly recommend it to anyone.
Reading this book is almost a crime.

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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful:

Distorting history should be a crime!, January 20, 2007
Reviewer:J.K. - See all my reviews
Truthfully, Korea was invaded by Japan and was taken a long time ago. If you check history maps, you will see that in the beginning of WWII Korea was still a colony. It is a proven fact that Koreans were taken to camps that were like Concentration Camps for Japanese. Koreans still live today that were harassed by brutal Japanese.
Lets speak logic, if Koreans came up and raped a girl, would Japan let them get away for its colonies behaving so badly? No. That is why it is the opposite. That would mean it had to be Japan raping Korea.
In other words, Korea is a colony of Japan. Japan has soldiers. If Japanese were raped by Koreans, would the Koreans exist? Could it even be possible, with the constant threat of being killed if they raped a Japanese? But if a Japanese raped a Korean, why would the government care? Korea was taken over so then they can't do anything.
Also, how do we know that these facts are true? Do they have proof that Koreans did this?
This book is very distorted. You must agree. After invading Korea, the official government of Japan ordered officially the raping of Korean Girls. The government sent captured Koreans over to the Japanese army. They women A.K.A. the "comfort women" were raped and harassed by the army. Shame, and this was officially allowed by the Japanese government.
There are a couple type of people in this world. One type is generous and doesn't seek revenge. Other people can't help it but feel angry and take revenge for what people did. One or two ANGRY Koreans might have raped a Japanese but that was personal. It still was wrong but it was better than what the Japanese did. Their government had ordered them to RAPE and SEXUALLY HARRASS KOREAN WOMEN.
Special Army unit 731 was a drafted army made out of Chinese and Koreans. This unit was an "experiment". The government tested many things on them. For example "How long would a person have to work to lose his finger?" This was one of the things they tested on the drafted soldiers. They even did not see them as "humans". They called them logs. Logs are the tree parts that were cut. Logs are dead and not alive. They could not see them as human or how could they test on them. They did things that we don't do to animals today. Another thing the Japanese tested on them was to see how much body parts a person had to lose before he died. How long would people have to last in steam before they suffocated and died. This is an act of shame. Animals get better treatments than this. How shameful to write a book against Koreans when all this has happened, if you are going to tell a story, TELL THE WHOLE STORY.
In conclusion, I do not understand how this book got into a middle school curriculum. Even though this story MAY(very small chance though) be true, this book is very biased and did not tell the whole story. I think this book needs to be worked on and corrected. Many mistakes are in the book and distorts Korean History and that changes many things.
Just let me say one more thing, how would Japanese people like it if I happened to write a book about the REAL story with the whole history in it. Maybe that will clear things up. Just food for thought huh?


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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful:

So Far from the Bamboo Grove, January 20, 2007
Reviewer:J. Hurly (CA, USA) - See all my reviews
Kids should learn about the truth of history.
This story is based on lie. I recommend that kids must have not read this book.

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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful:

What a waste of time!, January 20, 2007
Reviewer:Spark-attack (USA) - See all my reviews
Never thought that reading this book would be such a waste of time. I am shocked to see any book based on twisted historical facts. If there should be any schools having this book as a supplemental reading material, I recommend to think twice. Nothing in this book is even close to what have REALLY happened in that era. Kawashawa Watkins, shame on you!

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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful:

I copied some article aout this book that seems quiet same as I want to talk, January 20, 2007
Reviewer:linda wang "jean" (california USA) - See all my reviews
Dover-Sherborn teachers should be applauded for trying to expand the minds of their students beyond the familiar, and to include works about Asia in their curriculum. But Watkins's book may not serve that purpose well, especially if it is taught simply as a heroic personal narrative of survival, without adequate provision of historical context. This is not an argument for censorship or banning books. There is no reason why Watkins's book cannot be used in the schools. Introduced carefully and wisely, in conjunction, for example, with Richard Kim's classic "Lost Names," an autobiographical novel about a young Korean boy living at the end of Japanese colonial rule in the 1940s, it can help students understand how perspectives vary according to personal and historical circumstances. But to teach "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" without providing historicization might be compared to teaching a sympathetic novel about the escape of a German official's family from the Netherlands in 1945 without alluding to the nature of the Nazi occupation or the specter of Anne Frank.
<Carter Eckert is a professor of Korean history at Harvard University. >

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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful:

Unbelievably distorted view of history, January 20, 2007
Reviewer:B. Yang (NYC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I simply cannot believe that a book with such biased and distorted view of what actually happened during the Japanese occupation of Korea made it into the mainstream American market, and more shockingly, the school system. It is my sincere belief that the fact this book was published at all points to gross negligence on the publisher's part to do a more thorough research of the history; as the result, a book containing grossly distorted facts was produced, and it now has the possibility of poisoning tens of thousands of young minds. This is a horrible injustice for all of the millions of the victims of Japanese occupation. Such garbage story should have never been allowed to be told (not without the proper explanation of the historical background of this story, anyway). It is as if a German girl was crying foul during the holocaust. She has a voice too, I am sure, but how loud should that voice be, compared to that of the holocaust victims?

Shame on the author. Shame on the publisher.

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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful:

"Read it and weep.", January 20, 2007
Reviewer:G. Meldahl - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If, in fact, the author suffered the acts mentioned in her book that's a sad story.
Maybe she could have had sympathy with the millions that suffered
under Japanese imperialism and mentioned those events as well.
I think it is a poor choice to use this book to educate American children on the events
that occured during the Japanese occupation of Korea.
It gives a false and misleading picture of what really happened.
Any teacher with a basic college education should know that.

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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful:

Nothing but only lie, January 20, 2007
Reviewer:Ashley Kim "beebee" (Middletown, CT USA) - See all my reviews
This book has only a full of lie. If many school use this book as one of the text book, the kids will learn wrong history.

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Not worth reading , January 20, 2007
A Kid's Review
This book may be a interesting read to some people, but because it distorts the truth about the colonial time in Korea, I can not possibly recommend it to anyone.
But regardless of my recommendations if you still plan to read it, make sure you read Lost Names by Richard Kim to have a balanced view of what really happened, because this book totally distorts the historical truth.

"to teach "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" without providing historicization might be compared to teaching a sympathetic novel about the escape of a German official's family from the Netherlands in 1945 without alluding to the nature of the Nazi occupation or the specter of Anne Frank." written by Carter Eckert.

Carter Eckert is a professor of Korean history at Harvard University.



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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful:

So Far from the Bamboo Grove , January 20, 2007
Reviewer:Hwang Hea Sook "book mania" (usa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
this book is full of lie. I'm really worried that our kids would learn a wrong history..

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