Tag archives for Margi Preus
BOOK NAME: Heart of a Samurai
AUTHOR: Margi Preus
Traveling can be a unique, exciting, and sometimes scary experience. The experiences you have can be remembered for ever and possibly change your life. However, what if traveling came at the cost of never returning home again? Would you still be willing to leave?
14-year-old Manjiro lives in a small village in Japan. One day, in the year 1841, while Manjiro is out fishing with four other fishermen, a terrible storm blows their small boat out to sea, eventually stranding them on a deserted island. Manjiro and the other fisherman are rescued by the crew of the John Howland, an American whaling vessel. Manjiro has grown up hearing tales about “barbarians” from distant lands, but because of his country’s isolation, he is overcome with curiosity about the strange culture of the people around him. It’s this curiosity that leads him on an epic journey to distant countries like America. Even though Manjiro is fascinated by the wondrous places he visits, all he really wants is to go back to his family and homeland. Due to Japan’s isolation policy at that time in history, that may not be possible. If he returns from his travels, he may be imprisoned or executed.
This book was a unique story that I truly enjoyed reading. I am part Japanese, so the story had a special impact on me. I enjoyed learning more about the culture and history of the country to which I owe some of my family’s origins. Manjiro is an interesting character because he is based on a true life diplomat, adventurer, and negotiator. The book even included sketches that Manjiro actually drew about the places he visited and the things he saw. The only aspect of the book that I was not fond of was that it involved whaling. Whales are my favorite animals, and although whaling is a major part of the world’s history, I do not like reading about humans slaughtering such majestic creatures.