Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bamboo Books

When I was doing research for my university assignment on I found that there were a few books with 'bamboo' in the title.  One "So Far from the Bamboo Grove" I found particularly interesting, as it was written by Yoko Kawshima Watkins, who relates the tale of life around the time that the Japanese lost World War II.

Her father was a Japanese government official working in Manchuria, and Ko, her brother and sister and mother lived not far away in North Korea's Nanam.  When it became clear that they had to escape, Ko, her mother and sister made their own way through North Korea to Seoul.  It is a riveting story.

There has been, since 2006, some dispute particularly about the planes that Yoko describes, but in the front of my copy, she explains that the story is as she can remember.

The book received many awards, including The Courage of conscience Award from the Peace Abbey in Sherbourn, Massachusetts.

I have thought long and hard about including the YouTube Video discrediting the author's story, as I find the whole thing offensive.  Yoko does explain that she was 11 at the time, and clearly she would have been traumatised by what occurred at the time.  One point that the
video makes is that bamboo would not grow in that part of North Korea as it is too far from the tropical zones where bamboo thrives. Bamboo actually does very well in cooler climates, and indeed does grow in places like the UK, Germany etc, and in Beijing, which is almost on the on the same parallel.

I do recommend the book, which I bought on Amazon, but I see it is available in Australia.

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