Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book covers & spine:
"A Daughter of the Samurai"

  • Title: A Daughter of the Samurai
  • Author: Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto (1874-1950)
  • Illustrator: Tekisui Ishii
  • Edition: 1947 Doubleday & Company hardcover. (Book was first published in 1925.)
  • Price: $3.00
  • Pages: 314
  • Subtitle (from title page): "How a daughter of feudal Japan, living hundreds of years in one generation, became a modern American"
  • Copyright-page acknowledgment: "Much of the material of this book originally appeared in ASIA but has been thoroughly revised for book publication."
  • Dedication: "With respect and love and deepest gratitude I dedicate these sacred memories to MY TWO MOTHERS whose lives and environments were far apart, yet whose hearts met in mine."
  • Author's acknowledgment: "To Nancy Virginia Austen, whose pleasant friendship and energetic spirit encouraged me to take up unfinished work which had been laid aside; and which, but for her, might have remained forever only bits of writing scattered far and wide — and a few silent memories."
  • Excerpt from author's "To My Readers": "With deep appreciation I acknowledge the many beautiful letters which have come to me from the readers of 'A Daughter of the Samurai.' I am happy that so many are interested in the design on the cover for, because of tradition, this design speaks with silent eloquence to the heart of every Japanese. Our cherry blossoms never wither. they fall while still fresh and fragrant."
  • First sentence: "Japan is often called by foreign people a land of sunshine and cherry blossoms."
  • Last sentence: "The red barbarians and the children of the gods have not yet learned each other's hearts; to them the secret is still unknown, but the ships are sailing — sailing —"
  • Random sentence from middle: "One thing in America, to which I could not grow accustomed, was the joking attitude in regard to women and money."
  • Goodreads rating: 4.04 stars out of 5.0.
  • Amazon rating: 4.4 stars out of 5.0.
  • Excerpt from Amazon review: In 2017, RJF in Illinois wrote: "This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. It is the story of (minor spoiler alert) the life of a woman raised in a samurai family in Japan, and the profound insights that she has from daily events as she travels to the United States and back to her homeland. It is stunning on two levels. First, the story continually reminded me of the plurality of perspectives in the world and the relative cultural barbarism of the West. Second, it is written in a style that I can only recall in one other book — The Last Fine Time by Verlyn Klinkenborg — that has a cadence that carried me like a gentle poem."
  • Notes: Some background of Etsuko's life, from Wikipedia, helps to set the context for this autobiography: "She was born in Echigo Province in Japan. ... Her father had once been a high-ranking samurai official in Nagaoka, but with the breakdown of the feudal system shortly before her birth, the economic situation of her family took a turn for the worse. Although originally destined to be a priestess, she became engaged, through an arranged marriage, to a Japanese merchant living in Cincinnati, Ohio. Etsu attended a Methodist school in Tokyo in preparation for her life in the USA, and became a Christian. In 1898 she journeyed to the USA, where she married her fiancĂ© and became mother of two daughters. After her husband's death she returned to Japan, but later went back to the United States to complete the education of her daughters there. Later she lived in New York City, where she turned to literature and taught Japanese language, culture and history at Columbia University."

Bonus image
The illustration on the back cover of the dust jacket continues onto the inside back flap. Here's the full, unfolded view.

1 comment:

  1. Well, aren't' we colorful today? :)
    That is a beautiful book ... I even love the spine.