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Town of evening calm, Country of cherry…

Town of evening calm, Country of cherry blossoms

by Fumiyo Kouno

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Having just completed the Barefoot Gen series, I thought to myself, “the one thing I need now is a graphic novel about Hiroshima.” Lo and behold, Fumiyo Kouno's Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms.

Essentially two stories, loosely connected, that take place years after the bombing. It's not obvious how these stories are connected initially, but it becomes clear by the end. The first story, “Town of Evening Calm,” is gorgeous. I was nearly moved to tears. In a very short space, the author creates a beautiful portrait of a person and makes a story that is heartbreaking. The way she uses illustrations (and sometimes the lack of illustrations) effectively tugs at the heart and really paints a void that becomes real once the story is over. I was truly moved.

“Country of Cherry Blossoms” didn't have the same effect on me. It is a bit confusing, and I often had to turn back and forth to follow its logic. Ultimately, it ties together nicely with the first, but it does not have the same impact.

In both stories, the art is fairly minimal, but effective. When the artist needs more detail, she is certainly capable, but the focus seems to be on conveying a message of hope within the emptiness. She succeeded. ( )
  chrisblocker | Sep 21, 2016 |
I have a shelf full of manga which I bought when I wanted to learn how to read it, but I've only leafed through a couple. This one (like many of the others) was recommended to me by Maili, an online friend. She told me it was brilliant but painful, and that is exactly right.

The story (there are two in the volume and they are separate but linked) is about survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, ten years later. Minami is a young woman in her 20s, who lives with her mother, one of the only two other family members who survived the blast (her brother was adopted by relatives and lives elsewhere). Minami and a co-worker in her office become friendly and then attracted to each other, but Minami cannot forget the people who perished. I don't want to spoil the story but it is heart-wrenching.

The artwork is understated, beautiful, and shattering. The words and the art are put together in a way that makes each more powerful. I'm still a novice at reading, but I tried to read slowly and pay careful attention, and the more you look and think, the more poignant it is. I had to stop and put the book down when I finished the first story. I'll read the second one soon, and I'll reread the first more than one, I have a feeling.

Highly recommended. ( )
  Sunita_p | Mar 5, 2016 |
Atrocement dur, mais très beau ( )
  CathCD | Jan 16, 2016 |
Two connected stories about the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima. The first takes place ten years after the bombing--Minami thought she was one of the survivors, but radiation poisoning caught up with her long after her sisters and father died in the blast. The second story takes place fifty years after the bombing, in Tokyo--Nanami and her brother are the children of survivors of the bombing. They've never lived in Hiroshima, but the possibility of radiation sickness still haunts them. A very different view of the horrific event, viewed from times long past the actual event. Worth reading!
  LibraryGirl11 | Sep 30, 2012 |
Kōno writes in the afterword that she never intended to author a manga on Hiroshima, and in fact found the idea upsetting when her editor first suggested it. The resulting product that she evidently agreed to anyway is sappy, likely unrealistic and certainly idealistic, following the tropes and conventions of the traditional 'doomed love' manga, and sure to make the (young, female) reader's eyes well up. It ends on a positive note, with the message that 'life goes on', in which the reader, mostly likely personally unconnected to the trauma of Hiroshima (like Kōno herself) can blindly indulge herself. A trite, deceptively problematic little manga. ( )
  milkyfangs | Jul 14, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0867196653, Paperback)

What impact did World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb have on the common people of Japan? Through the eyes of an average woman living in 1955, Japanese artist Fumiyo Kouno answers these questions. This award-winning manga appears in an English translation for the first time. Fumiyo Kouno’s light, free style of drawing evokes a tender reflection of this difficult period in Hiroshima’s postwar past. As the characters continue with everyday life, the shadow of the war and the atomic bombing linger ghostlike in the background. Kouno’s beautiful storytelling touches the reader’s heart but is never overly sentimental. A widely embraced best seller in Japan, where the work was also controversial, Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms is the winner of several prestigious awards including Grand Prize at the 8th Japan Media Arts Festival (2004), New Life Award at the 9th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prizes (2005). Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms is made up of interconnected short stories; the first is a love story entitled Town of Evening Calm; followed by the two-part story Country of Cherry Blossoms.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:05 -0400)

A young Japanese woman struggles to adapt to a new way of life in the aftermath of World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb on her country.

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