Cover Image: A Bridge of Words

A Bridge of Words

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Member Reviews

This was an intriguing concept. A collection of essays on a seemingly wide range of topics however united under the umbrella of the author's relationship with Japan and America. I enjoyed reading this for the most part, as one can "enjoy" a non-fiction based on real events. As with most non-fiction, there were sections I wasn't too keen on as well.

I think this book works best when you dip in and out of it, exploring the different essays over a longer period of time.

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A collection of short essays that was easy to dip in and out of. I suspect everyone will find something in here for them

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A thought provoking collection of essays.Following essays written over the years.Smart interesting thought provoking.#netgalley #stonebridgepress

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This is a collection of short essays by Hiroaki Sato, some from his 1980s column and some from his 2000s column, both for English language papers published in Japan. These essays cover a range of topics but especially the Pacific War and its aftermath as well as portraits of some of his favourite people, frequent references to Mishima, and other reflections on current events. Despite the date range, they do hang together in a coherent whole

Sato is prepared to be provocative in his pieces: e.g. confronting the narrative of “Japanese evil, Koreans innocent” in relation to the atrocity of the comfort women by pointing to research showing the some of the deceptions were perpetrated by Korean collaborators as well as some of the Japanese teachers in occupied Korea treating the children with affection.

An enjoyable read - you won’t agree with everything but nor should you expect to.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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This is an interesting and well written collection of essays that the author has written over the years with his unique viewpoint. I dare say that any reader will find some of interest and some that they may disagree with. Either way it is thought provoking and the book is set up well so that each reader can find what they are most interested in reading.

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When I saw the description of this book, I was intrigued. It did not disappoint. Hiraoki Sato is a writer, haiku-ist, translator, and worked for a trade organization in New York for over four decades. He grew up in Japan, but went to the US in his 20s. He wrote regular newspaper columns for both the Japan Times and the Mainichi Times and this book is a collection of some of these. They were originally published between the late 80s and 2019. Sato's interests and observations range widely across topics and small details can pique his interest and cause him to look both more closely and more broadly at an issue. In the foreword to the book, Geoffrey O' Brien writes, 'The restless desire to know more--to illuminate large things by attention to the smallest of details--might be the bass note of this collection; and what Sato full of surprises and odd angles.'

I really enjoyed this thought-provoking and informative book. I like the way he makes connections and how his position as always an outsider of one kind or another causes to him have a particular way of looking at the world. As someone who spent the first half century of my life in a country of origin in which I always felt misplaced, before emigrating, I am always fascinated by the views and observations of other outsiders. I also enjoyed the many topics he writes about. I can relate to the kind of curiosity that sees seemingly small things as illustrative of larger issues and that finds many things worthy of investigation and thought. Anyone who feels the same, is an outsider, has an interest in Japan, books, haiku, history, and Japanese language and culture would enjoy this book. It can be read straight through or one slice at a time. The columns are grouped by topic and if Sato has more to say on the subject now, he adds it as the end of each piece. There are also a few pictures and poems in the book. As with any such collection, there were some topics that interested me more than others and places where I disagreed with him, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the book.

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