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Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster's Daughter Hardcover – July 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA; First Edition edition (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030428
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030429
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.8 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tendo, the daughter of a yakuza (mob) boss, grew up in 1970s and '80s Japan, living through the booms and busts of life on the wrong side of the law. Her first published work, Shoko uses unpracticed but appropriately blunt prose to memoir her exceedingly arduous life; readers will appreciate her restrained but powerful details, especially during some of the harsher scenes. From age 12 onwards, Shoko's life was enveloped in drug addiction, poverty, psychological and sexual abuse, miscarriage, attempted suicide and the deaths of many close family members, set against a backdrop of Japan's ultra-secretive yakuza society. Admiration and a detached style keep Tendo from exploring any resentment she might harbor toward her criminal father, which may prove off-putting for some, but feels entirely honest given the emotional trauma Tendo suffers, and is as revealing for what it includes as for what it doesn't. Emotionally complex and thoroughly heart-rending, this book is recommended for anyone searching for a more thorough and personal understanding of Japanese society, and its darker corners, than is offered by more popular Japanese imports (movies, comic books) featuring similar subject matter.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review


" ...A fast read... And her best-selling book has been reprinted 11 times in Japan. Maybe its because it tells it how it is, and its hardly a romantic portrait of the gangster life."--Giant Robot


"...Deserves an enormous amount of credit for her willingness to love and accept her family - and herself - regardless of their flaws."--Bust


"Powerful" Bloomberg News Service


"... Shining a light into a dark and little understood corner of modern Japan." --The Guardian (U.K.)


"Emotionally complex and thoroughly heart-rending, this book is recommended for anyone searching for a more thorough and personal understanding of Japanese society."--Publishers Weekly.com


"Yakuza Moon is a very personal book about a young woman's struggle to survive in a hostile and brutal environment, and it gives a rare insight into 'life in the other side' in Japan."--Asia Times Online



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Customer Reviews

I was able to sneak in some reading time at night and finish the book in one reading.
K
I chose to read this book because it looked like it would be an interesting read, and it was.
TUVERO99
The language is very simple, where details are clipped to the point of emotional detachment.
petite treat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The BookWorm on September 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great read, was hard to put down once I got started. Not at all the type of life you would expect from a family that was once very powerful.

Her child hood bullying, drug use during her teen years, and horrible relationships with men in the past serve as a warning that just because a life style may appear to be glamorous does not mean that it is.

Told with shocking truth, Shoko Tendo's memoir is a great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Wolinsky on April 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
My father used to go to Japan on business all the time in the 1980's. He marvelled at how little crime there was compared to New York. But no country is truly crime-free. Even in Japan, there were troubled kids who got in trouble with the police. This book is about that; what happens to Japanese kids from dysfunctional families.

Yakuza Moon opened my eyes to a whole lot of things I never knew about Japan. The Yakuza aren't folk heroes the way the Italian Mafia are in their neighborhoods. Everyone, including neighbors, teachers, and classmates, despised her father. She's a pariah in her neighborhood, beaten by her father at home, and when her father loses the house (and his standing in the criminal underworld) there's nowhere for her to go. She can't go to school, and has no choice but to work in sleazy bars.

The ending is a happy one, fortunately. She does have a career, has a child, tattoos herself (as a way of gaining control of her body) and makes her peace with life. Despite having no education, she does a pretty good job writing this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Caie on October 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This was supposed to be a weekend business trip filler. It ended up just a 4 hour plane ride and a few more hours in the hotel. I gave it 4 stars though becasue I couldn't put the book down. But I am a voyeur and this book really delivers on the exhibitionism. This is really just a Jerry Springer story with a happy ending. However, I am a Japanophile, so this book held my interest more than the same story about a girl from say, Hamilton, Ohio would have. I met several girls like the author while living in Japan and I can say the story does ring very true. This is a great, fast read if you are into Japanese culture, otherwise you may find it a bit maudlin.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on April 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I picked up this book when I watched some history/national geography kind of channel about Japanese Yakuza. Shoko Tendo was interviewed in the documentary and so I thought I'd read this book too. The book had some intense abuses and emotional up and downs (mostly downs). It was interesting for a while but halfway through the book, her problems in life is almost routinely.

The writing itself was no good. I'm not sure if it was a translator's problem or her own writing in the original Japanese, but it felt like it could have been written by a middle schooler. The dialogues were simplistic, almost unrealistic. The descriptions were basic and her analysis (her personal thoughts) of a situation was almost like a middle school reflection. The writing itself was dull, making the supposedly intense parts of the book anticlimatic. However, if you have a wild imagination and can make simple words into a vivid image in your head, then this book is actually quite interesting.

One thing that disappointed me was that in the documentary, she was a single mother. However the book was probably written when she didn't have her daughter. I was quite looking forward to see who the father of the daughter was but it ended before that :(
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Betty Gelean on September 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in one go; considering I have never done that before, it says a lot for the intensity and breathtaking reality of the memoir. Though relatively short, it packs a powerful punch, an amazing debut. I was drawn into her story until I felt I was a part of it. The essence of a good writer is to be able to make that connection between reader and character, and Shoko Tendo has certainly done that. Way out of my usual genres, I was completely absorbed in her heart-wrenching memoir, an emotional roller-coaster told in a straight-forward, no-holds-barred manner. In the version I read, photos and a foreword have been added to the original publication. These contributed to the personality of Shoko.

Unfamiliar as I am with yakuza society (somewhat like a Japanese mafia), this book brought me into lifestyles I knew nothing about; I also learned to see a tattoo as a complete work of art, which in Japan it truly is. These tattoos are full-body canvases, extremely detailed and historical art. Shoko was the middle child in a family of three girls and a boy, her father a yakuza, in a life of plenty. Fearful of her father's rages, bullied at school, discriminated against and insecure, Shoko's lifestyle had already begun to change at the tender age of twelve when her older sister took her to a club and passed her off as 18. The next several years of her life are spent in drugged out sex, used and abused. When all goes wrong at home, her father resigns as a yakuza and is pursued by yakuza loan sharks. Shoko falls into the trap of one man, a former friend of her father. His false promises to help her father with his financial problems and his Jekyll and Hyde personality drags her deep into his net. Misguided in what is expected of her, she sinks deeper and deeper.
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