Sunday, January 9, 2011

Heart of a Samurai

Preus, Margi Heart of a Samurai
Amulet see Abrams, Harry 2010 301p 15.95
978-0-8109-8981-8 jr/sr Multicultural E-BN
This fictionalize story is based on a true story that happened to a Japanese child in the 1800’s. Having lost his father Manjiro, 14, was force to provide for his family as a fisherman. He was doing fairly well until the day of the storm that blew his boat of course and stranded him and two other fishermen on an island. That day his life changed forever. Manjiro Nakahama was fourteen years old and after the loss of his father, he was in charge of taking care of his family. He was doing a fairly good job until the day of the storm that blew the boat he was on off course. They were shipwrecked on an island and almost starved to death. Then a ship arrived and saved him and his companions but they were on the brink of death before they were able to recognize who had saved them. This is how he met the white man.
Manjiro’s life changed the day he was saved. A child eager to learn all he could, he was able to learn English and was taken in by Captain Whitfield. His return back to Japan was made impossible due to the restriction imposed by the Japan who prohibited anyone from entering their waters and in fact any Japanese citizen who sailed beyond the boundaries would be severely punished and may even face death. Japan in the 1800 was a country in isolation. No one was allowed in or out of the country. The only alternative for Manjiro was to continue with Captain Whitfield and learn all he could about America.
A story based on true facts, Manjiro Nakahama also known as John Mung left Japan in 1841 was not able to return until 1851. He was instrumental in helping to open the port of Japan.
An excellent story that is part of history of the relations between Japan and United States. Some of the illustrations in the books are in facts from Manjiros’ diary and other portray the views of Japan. Excellent historical Fiction. Diaz(1), Magna
Nakahama, Manjiro,1827-1898 - Historical Fiction -Japanese- United States - relations - Japan

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