Go

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Member Reviews

As a Korean student in a Japanese high school, Sugihara has had to defend himself against all kinds of bullies. But nothing could have prepared him for the heartache he feels when he falls hopelessly in love with a Japanese girl named Sakurai. Immersed in their shared love for classical music and foreign movies, the two gradually grow closer and closer.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. this turned out to be a short blast of a book. Fun high school melodramas (exams, schoolyard fights, friendships, other friendships w/ gay undertones, romance, familial strain) mixed with more "serious" literary topics (history of war, displacement, identity, dual identity, triple identity).
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This was good; I enjoyed the discussion about nationality, identity, what it means to be Japanese/korean/American/anything, but the story wasn’t that gripping and I didn’t particularly like any of the characters.
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This book didn't do it for me.  I had a really hard time getting into the dialogues as they seemed awkwardly written and not at all realistic.  It's too bad, really.  The topic of the Zainichi, particularly the Zianichi Chosen, is an interesting topic.  A lot of Americans aren't well educated on this group and their history in Japan.  I terribly wanted to like this book and I kept going thinking it would improve for me.
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Go is a refreshing YA novel. It's culturally immersive, sheds light on topics such as discrimination, and has lead characters that are bold and passionate, creating a very enjoyable read.
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Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro isn't what I expected. This book came across as fun and entertaining with talk of important serious issues of racism and ethnicity discrimination. The narrator's compelling voice draws you in and introduces you to a colorful cast of characters. I didn’t go into this read to overly analyze it. I need a change of pace in my reads and this book worked out perfectly. Thank you NetGalley & Amazon Crossing for gifting me this eBook in exchange for an honest review. 4 out of 5
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I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			

For two teens, falling in love is going to make a world of difference in this beautifully translated, bold, and endearing novel about love, loss, and the pain of racial discrimination.

As a Korean student in a Japanese high school, Sugihara has had to defend himself against all kinds of bullies. But nothing could have prepared him for the heartache he feels when he falls hopelessly in love with a Japanese girl named Sakurai. Immersed in their shared love for classical music and foreign movies, the two gradually grow closer and closer.

One night, after being hit by personal tragedy, Sugihara reveals to Sakurai that he is not Japanese—as his name might indicate.

Torn between a chance at self-discovery that he’s ready to seize and the prejudices of others that he can’t control, Sugihara must decide who he wants to be and where he wants to go next. Will Sakurai be able to confront her own bias and accompany him on his journey?

I first read and fell in love with this book as a result of Amazon having a few weeks back in April of 2019 where ten international books were available for free and "Go" was one of them! I had no idea that racism was so prevalent in Japan so I check in with family living there and they basically said: "you can be white and an oddity to take home to the parents who will probably make fun of you after you leave as they plot a way to get their child to the US or Canada without visa problems OR YOU CAN BE 1000% JAPANESE " (wow...really???) So, being a Korean is a major problem for our protagonist, even today.

The book was wonderfully crafted and translated (My nephew is reading it as we speak in Japanese) and the story is thoughtful and thought-provoking. We just need to turn on the news to see racism at the heart of so many current political battles (and wall-building arguments) 

This book is a love song .. there is no other way to put it. It is lyrical and lovely and why haven't you read it already?????? 	As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 	🍣🍜🍱🍚🗾
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I enjoyed learning more about the Japanese and Korean cultures and about the discrimination and about the clashing of the two cultures. I recommend this book for people interested in Japanese and Korean cultures and the plight of people discriminated on the basis of their nationality and ethnicity. My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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In general I enjoy books about other cultures and recently read Pachinko. This book might have been better without the love interest and angsty teenage trope thrown into the mix. Maybe this is necessary for certain YA books, but it is not to my liking. I think it detracts from the main story line.
Otherwise, that aside, I did appreciate learning a bit more about the Japanese and Korean cultures and how they mixed and clashed.
Parts of this book were certainly better than others, but that may just be my taste.

#Go #NetGalley
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I really love reading translated books, so I was glad to have the opportunity to read Go. This book will likely find a home with fans of YA, given the narrative viewpoint of the novel
 It's interesting to learn more about the prejudice against Korean minorities in Japan. Some may be turned off by the violence in the book.
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I couldn’t really review this book before I had reviewed Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. For better or for worse, both novels are really linked in my mind. When Pachinko told of the lives of Korean people who came to live in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century and stopped in the 1980s with the fourth generation, Go picks up a bit later (it was published in 2000) and tells of a teenaged Zainichi growing up in contemporary Japan. Needless to say, the difficulties and racism he faces has a lot in common with what the characters in Pachinko experienced.

The tone of the two novels couldn’t be more different. Where Pachinko was quiet, dignified and polite, Go has the tumult of emotions of a teenager. Go’s hero and narrator Sugihara is not afraid to fight. He faces bullies head (and fists) first and chooses for himself a non-Korean high-school where he will face more racism but get better opportunities. He’s a thug sometimes, but a nerd at other times. He looks at his parents with ironic distance and there are really funny moments at the beginning. And then he falls in love with a girl who has been raised to despise Korean people…

If I hadn’t read Pachinko, I would have had difficulty to appreciate Go so much. I guess it’s a flaw of the novel, but the social context was what interested me most in the book, instead of the doomed love story that felt a bit “meh”. The interesting point that I have learnt is that Zainichi are treated differently if they are North-Koreans or South-Koreans, and that Zainichi can go to Korean schools, which is a double bind because the education there is not top-notch, and prepares kids for menial jobs and more discrimination, while seemingly protecting their cultural identity and protecting them from bullying.

I don’t think this book will appeal to a wide audience but it was charming to me. I could see the same resilience I had admired in Pachinko, but this time played out with a lighter tone.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.
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An interesting take on the genre of teenage love. There's little that is sappy about this love story from the beginning, it is very much a love grounded in reality and nonconformity. Told from the viewpoint of the discriminated Japanese-of-Korean-origins Sugihara adds an element of tension that is never contrived feeling. However, there are certain elements that let the story down a little-the characters end up a bit vague feeling, the prose at times falters, and the pace drags in bits. However, none of these are dealbreakers-this was an enjoyable read.
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I really wanted to read “Go” by Kazuki Kaneshiro. I read that this novel won the Naoki Prize in 2000 and was adapted into film in Japan. I haven’t read many books about Japan, so I was looking forward to learning more about Japanese culture and how teenagers’ lives looked like in Japan. 

This novel turned out to be full of surprises, it wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. It concentrated on nationalism, ethnicity and discrimination in Japan. It was full of fist fighting, teenage angst and anger. 

A narrator of “Go” has a Korean citizenship and it makes him a person that Japanese call “Zainichi”. The book reveals that Japanese don’t see Korean citizens born in Japan as proper human beings and discriminate against them. At least part of the Japanese society rejects them. In general the Korean citizens won’t get as good jobs as Japanese, they won’t be able to work in professions like lawyers or doctors, they are encouraged to attend different schools and universities, Japanese women won’t date them. It was a total surprise for me, I have never read anything about it before. 

There are things that I liked about this book and things I didn’t like so much. This book offers an insight into the Japanese way of thinking and culture. It was especially interesting to read about the role of Japanese women in relationships and family life. I had no idea about discrimination in Japan before, so this book was very interesting from this point of view. I liked the author’s writing style. The book isn’t long, so it was a fast read. 

I didn’t like the constant fighting and putting so much stress on using fists and physical strength to solve one’s problems. There is a lot of fighting in this book, boys feel angry and restless and look for trouble. The narrator is not a good boy, not by a long shot. He had problems with law before, he often knocks down bullies at school, who challenge him to fight, and sometimes even fight with his own father, who was a professional fighter in his younger days. He is seen by his friends as “tough-as-nails”, he is a truly careless risk-taker. The narrator’s love interest Sakurai seemed a little artificial to me, a typical example of a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”. She didn’t feel very realistic.

Overall, I recommend this book for people interested in Japanese culture and situation of people discriminated on the basis of their nationality and ethnicity. 

I received "Go" from the publisher via NetGalley. I would like to thank the author and the publisher for providing me with the advance reader copy of the book.
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You know what, I'd say I'm a bit 'on the fence' with this review. On, one hand, I absolutely loved Sugihara's internal monologues and his quest to understand who he is and where he fits in. However, on the other hand, I was frustrated by the pace and how I kept losing the connection with him as a character. So, I'd say 3.5 stars for this.
Thank you NetGalley for the eARC.
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Personally, I’d give the first 50% five stars, the next 20% three stars, and the final 30% four stars. Overall, the book was immensely enjoyable — the protagonist was witty and had this style of narration that really captivated me. He’s kinda how I’d have liked my inner monologue to sound when I was his age — the right amount of wit, two tablespoons of sarcasm and healthy disdain, and a pinch of those pesky teenage hormones. And the thing is, despite all this “coolness”, it’s still obvious that he’s young, and that he’s not in control of everything, the way we tend to believe at that age.

This book should really have been marketed as a young adult book, because while  for the first 50% it’s really not noticeable, that’s exactly the genre this book should be classified under. The thing is, I went in prepared; multiple reviews online had warned me that while this book had dry humour that catered to an adult, it’s central theme is really more YA-NA. And boy was I glad that I went in prepared, because otherwise I might have been pissed off the way quite a few other reviewers were.

Full of movie and literature references (that I only half caught), Go tells the story of a young adult of Korean descent, living in Japan, and his trials and tribulations with first love. Sounds like a cheesy anime? Let’s throw in the fact that racism abounds in Japan towards these Korean desecendants of war prisoners from decades ago (aka the Zainichi), and it’s not your quintessential drama filled, romantic anime, is it?

I haven’t read the Japanese version, but I think this translated one was fantastic. Everything about this book was fantastic, and it was especially fantastic in the way in which it dealt with serious themes like racism and violence — so wonderful that I wish it really hadn’t had that teen romance thrown in. I’d have been ecstatic with Sugihara’s acerbic observations on life, really.

I went insane with the highlighter on this one, that’s the real thing to take back, here.

I recommend it for anyone who loves House, M.D., who doesn’t mind a bit of YA thrown at them.
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I found this book a bit confusing to follow. It tells the story of a teenage boy in high school. It was a short quick read.
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I expected to like this novel more than I did.  Go won the Naoki prize and adapted into a film, swept the awards.  The main 'educational' portion for readers outside of Japan is the eye-opening discrimination that Koreans face in Japan. Even if born in Japan, as long as one's parents are Korean or has Korean ancestry, then Zainichi Chosenjin is the label one is stuck with. This means having to get finger-printed, having to get permission to leave the country, not being able to rise to the top echelons of corporations, being treated with disdain and hostility by the Japanese. Ironically, Zainichi are treated with the same disdain in Korea, where it is believed these 'traitors' are living the lap of luxury in Japan.

Go actually explains all this with the teen voice of Lee Sugihara in the first few chapters of the book. It was info-dumping, which could have been worked more skillfully into the plot. It's a really quick read at 252 pages, translated from Japanese by Takami Nieda.  Much of what put me off was the thuggish nature of our teen protagonist. He beats up students in his high school, throws things at passing police cars and his greatest wish is to beat his father to a pulp. His insta-love interest Sakurai was first attracted to him because he brawled successfully with the opposing team basketball players.  Violence and crime should never be glamourised, although it frequently is.  Growing up amid such a challenging discriminatory environment, one can argue, how else could he and others in his shoes respond?

His angry rebel image is then softened with a side of intellectualism, which I found quite unbelievable and often annoying due to his tendency to pontificate on a subject to a roomful of adults.  Like all teens, he thinks everyone around him is a moron, including his parents. Like the annoying Harry Potter in the alternate HP and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky, Lee spews complete paragraphs of didactic information on a wide eclectic range of subjects from mitochondrial DNA in relation to ancestry to American movies.  I never bought into this 'thug with brains' persona because it was done so unnaturally. Speaking of his parents, I found them the more interesting characters although they are never quite developed fully with their son at the forefront of the story. But the choices they had to make (register as South or North Koreans, switching afterwards, whether to stay in Japan, the mother's choice to enjoy her own pursuits and not hew to a traditional wife model) must have been difficult. One thing the novel did well was to portray that Lee's father actually underwent a lot of the same struggles, the same yearning for freedom to become a 'rootless vagabond' and blend into a crowd instead of being picked out as being different. I loved the part where his father spoke Spanish (learnt as an escapist fantasy where he could be a Spaniard instead of Zainichi) and quoted Nietzche to his smart-alecky son.   

Overall the young age of the teen protagonists and their immature ways of dealing with life detracted from the the serious adult problem of Zainichi discrimination in Japanese society.  The usage of a "Romeo and Juliet" conflict to illustrate this problem cheapens it. Not to mention Lee and Sakurai's 'love' is filled with cliches (life only attained meaning after meeting her), shallowness (they met at a club, instant attraction) and flat characterization (Sakurai is a good Japanese girl who enriches Lee's life and introduces him to classical music and jazz).  For a nuanced good literary read featuring this Zainichi issue, I would recommend Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

Kazuki Kaneshiro's style has been compared to Murakami's in some reviews. Both have a lot of western influences especially classical music and renaissance art despite the protagonists and setting being Japanese. However, Murakami riffs upon the piece of art or music including it into his magical realism landscape. Kaneshiro seems to insert the references - Dali, Brahms, Winona Ryder - in a 'look how cultural and global my book is' way. 

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review via Netgalley.
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This was a disappointing read for me and I guess it might be my fault because I didn't know it was categorized as young adult until later. 

This is a story about a high school student -Sugihara- from Korea born in Japan and is living and studying there. It follows his story of being bullied, fighting back, trying to figure out who he is and what makes a person Korean or Japanese or American...etc, of trying to understand nationalism and the extent of it and of falling in love and what that could entail if you're not from the same background.

Through this character -Sugihara- the author brings up the topic of nationalism, borders, refugees and residency as one of the main issues that he's struggling with and trying to understand and come to terms with, and it's basically the thing that kept me reading. I guess I was asking too much of this book and of this high school student by wanting to know more of what it's like to be classified and treated horribly and the consequence of such with himself and his family even though all his life he has only ever known Japan. The character seemed that he had more to discover and talk about but then it felt like it was cut short by the romantic relationship that was a bit "meh". Or maybe it's just me having a big problem with this age group and how the stories about them are written. Anyways.

There's a big incident in the middle of the book that came out of nowhere and was not called for. It just came out of the blue. This incident has a big impact on Sugihara, but it didn't feel like it flowed well with the story and I didn't jam with it at all. I had to go back few pages to see whether I missed something. 

Again, maybe I'm not the target audience for this or the way it was written and handled just isn't my cup of tea. Overall after the heavy book I was reading I wanted something light to read and this served the purpose.
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4.5 stars

Wow, such a wonderful book about social inequality in Japan. Discrimination exists everywhere that I knew of. By all means, "Go" introduces me to a problem in Japan that I have had never given too much thought about. Extremely well written, funny at time, and definitely some food for thoughts.

A complex social issue is told through a life of a high school student, a North Korean by birth, a South Korean on immigration record, but was born and raised in Japan. His identity, or should I say his racial label, whether he's a North Korean, South Korean or simply a Japanese, has nothing but has caused him conflicts throughout his childhood to adolescent. 

The author uses a superb way to convey his views on the discrimination and labeling through the protagonist's peer interactions and his love interest, a "pure-blooded" Japanese girl. Even the casual DNA and genealogy talk given by the protagonist is such a clever way to illustrate, and possibly to reconcile, the root problem of the racial issue illustrated in "Go." 

The book was first published in early 2000s, and has now been 18 years since its first publication, I am curious about if the racial issue is still a pervasive problem over in Japan. 

I don't read in Japanese and therefore I can't say the quality of translation. Based on my experiences in reading Japanese literature, however, I have a feeling the translator has done a great job. Not only the translator could convey the Japanese's distinctive tones and voices effectively yet he manages to combine the Western culture that appeals to the English-speaking readers without deforming and altering the original voice of the author. 

In short, I am glad I have given "Go" a chance because I was not sure if I was going to enjoy another coming-of-age book about young love. "Go" is more than just a love story but a book about deep social issue that exists every corner in the world. Totally a thought-provoking piece of literature. Extremely satisfy with "Go."
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I liked the message but it was a confusing read – maybe things were lost in translation but there wasn’t enough background for some of the Japanese or Korean terms used. Go fulfilled a prompt in our challenge I was struggling with, so I grabbed this to fill it. I liked the mystery of the girl, but there was so much unnecessary fighting.
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