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So Far from the Bamboo Grove (rpkg)I’ve read a number of books, written from the Korean perspective, about the Japanese occupation of Korea (Lost Names by Richard E Kim; Whem My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park; Home Was the Land of Morning Calm by K. Connie Kang; Year of Impossible Good-byes and sequels by Sook Nyul Choi). This is the first book I’ve read that tells of the hardships suffered by the Japanese citizens who lived in Korea at the end of World War II.

Yoko Kawashima and her family lived in northern Korea. When World War II ended, they were trapped between communists moving down from Russia, angry Koreans who wanted their homeland back, and the Japanese military who weren’t ready to give up. Yoko, her mother and sister make the dangerous journey south to Seoul and then on to Japan. But once they get to Japan, their struggles aren’t over. Homeless and separated from family, they must struggle to survive. This was an amazing story of strength in the face of adversity, and honor in spite of a world gone mad.