Jul 31, Barry rated it it was amazing I read Taiko for the first time more than twenty years ago and enjoyed it enormously as you might suspect, since I have chosen to read it again. To some extent, reading this book a second time was in preparation for a trip to Japan that Claudia and I will take a bit down the road. To that end, Taiko contains a great deal of Japanese history since it is a novel based on the life of one of the three great unifiers of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It also describes many elements of Japanese culture I read Taiko for the first time more than twenty years ago and enjoyed it enormously as you might suspect, since I have chosen to read it again. It also describes many elements of Japanese culture that are still alive today. Although I am far from an expert on Japan, I have been there a dozen times, primarily on business, and have had the opportunity to learn a little about a culture vastly different from the one in which I have lived most of my life.
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Add to Cart About Taiko In the tempestuous closing decades of the sixteenth century, the Empire of Japan writhes in chaos as the shogunate crumbles and rival warlords battle for supremacy. Warrior monks in their armed citadels block the road to the capital; castles are destroyed, villages plundered, fields put to the torch. Amid this devastation, three men dream of uniting the nation.
At one extreme is the charismatic but brutal Nobunaga, whose ruthless ambition crushes all before him. At the opposite pole is the cold, deliberate Ieyasu, wise in counsel, brave in battle, mature beyond his years. When Nobunaga emerges from obscurity by destroying an army ten times the size of his own, he allies himself with Ieyasu, whose province is weak, but whose canniness and loyalty make him invaluable.
Yet it is the scrawny, monkey-faced Hideyoshi—brash, impulsive, and utterly fearless—who becomes the unlikely savior of this ravaged land. Born the son of a farmer, he takes on the world with nothing but his bare hands and his wits, turning doubters into loyal servants, rivals into faithful friends, and enemies into allies.
As recounted by Eiji Yoshikawa, author of the international best-seller Musashi, Taiko tells many stories: of the fury of Nobunaga and the fatal arrogance of the black-toothed Yoshimoto; of the pathetic downfall of the House of Takeda; how the scorned Mitsuhide betrayed his master; how once impregnable ramparts fell as their defenders died gloriously.
Most of all, though, Taiko is the story of how one man transformed a nation through the force of his will and the depth of his humanity. Filled with scenes of pageantry and violence, acts of treachery and self-sacrifice, tenderness and savagery, Taiko combines the panoramic spectacle of a Kurosawa epic with a vivid evocation of feudal Japan.
About Taiko In the tempestuous closing decades of the sixteenth century, the Empire of Japan writhes in chaos as the shogunate crumbles and rival warlords battle for supremacy.
Taiko: An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal Japan
Life[ edit ] Yoshikawa family. When he was 18, after a near-fatal accident working at the Yokohama docks, he moved to Tokyo and became an apprentice in a gold lacquer workshop. Around this time he became interested in comic haiku. He joined a poetry society and started writing comic haiku under the pseudonym "Kijiro". In , with The Tale of Enoshima , he won first prize in a novel-writing contest sponsored by the publisher Kodansha.