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Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster's Daughter Hardcover – July 1, 2007
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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.
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" ...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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The way this was written was very straight-forward and raw. It was incredibly refreshing. Actually, I'm going to read this book again today!
The author writes it like it was how her life was affected by the choice of lifestyle her father lived. How at the age of 12 she became a dropout and her life of sex, drugs, and abuse begins. It's really sad to see how someone can be dragged into that type of lifestyle and how drugs can consume you and put you at risk of being a victim. She kept getting herself into relationships where she would get beaten up, you would think that she would have learned her lesson early on but I guess she wanted someone to love her or care for her or maybe protect her. In the circle of people she lived in she was not going to find that and she later realizes that.
It was an easy read, a bit gruesome with the detail she gave but it was what kept you into the book. I would recommend this book to anyone. If you're looking for something to read that is different then your ordinary happy ending story, then look no further this is your book.
When I finished "Yakuza Moon," a quote I read elsewhere sprang to mind: "We write to cleanse our past." I certainly believe in this axiom, in the use of art as alchemy to transmute our painful experiences into something beautiful, just as Shoko Tendo accomplished writing "Yakuza Moon."
Domo arigato gozaimasu, Tendo-san.
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.