Picture of author.

Akira Yoshimura (1) (1927–2006)

Author of Shipwrecks

For other authors named Akira Yoshimura, see the disambiguation page.

98 Works 1,273 Members 60 Reviews

About the Author

Japan's leading non-fiction writer on military and naval subjects, Akira Yoshimura was born in Tokyo in 1927. His published works in Japanese include a best-selling account of the construction and wartime role of the Zero fighter.
Image credit: via Goodreads

Works by Akira Yoshimura

Shipwrecks (1982) 576 copies
On Parole (1988) 156 copies
One Man's Justice (2001) 141 copies
Storm Rider (1999) 64 copies
Le Convoi de l'eau (1976) 38 copies
Zero Fighter (1996) 20 copies
L'Arc-en-ciel blanc (2012) 7 copies
Un dîner en bateau (1989) 6 copies
三陸海岸大津波 (2004) 4 copies
羆嵐 (新潮文庫) (1982) 4 copies
海馬(トド) (1992) 3 copies
海の祭礼 (1986) 3 copies
ひとり旅 (2007) 3 copies
漂流 3 copies
戦艦武蔵 (2009) 3 copies
平家物語 (上) (1992) 2 copies
星と葬礼 2 copies
平家物語 (下) (1992) 2 copies
彰義隊 (新潮文庫) (2008) 2 copies
私の引出し (1996) 2 copies
その人の想い出 (2011) 1 copy
破獄 (新潮文庫) (1983) 1 copy
生麦事件 (1998) 1 copy
逃亡 (文春文庫) (2010) 1 copy
漂流 (新潮文庫) (1980) 1 copy
Blumen im Schnee (1988) 1 copy
黒船 (中公文庫) (1994) 1 copy
蛍 (中公文庫) (1989) 1 copy
海の絵巻 (1978) 1 copy
白い遠景 (1979年) (1979) 1 copy
天に遊ぶ (1999) 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Yoshimura, Akira
Date of death



I have read one previous book by Yoshimura, the well regarded but unsettling '"Shipwrecks".

"On Parole" is a very moving story about a man who has been in prison for 15 or 16 years who becomes eligible for parole and is eventually released. Life back in the outside world is so different from his prison life. It is also so different from the world he left 15+ years before. He had been a model prisoner. He is released to a halfway house with a very concerned and sympathetic (but firm) parole officer. He learns that because of his sentencing he will be on parole for many more years and possibly forever. In the outside world things slowly seem to be getting better for him. The parole officer finds a job for him which helps him on his way back to the outside world in small steps. We the readers find out why he was in prison but note that the prisoner has repeatedly mentioned that he feels no remorse for his crime.

With "On Parole" our prisoner deserved to go to prison but his sentence may or may not be fair. Oddly he became comfortable with life in prison and works at a job there that he seems to enjoy very much (he is a printer and proofreader and had been a teacher prior to his crime). So although he had wished very strongly to be paroled (he was given an indefinite sentence which theoretically could be a life sentence) when it finally happened he was unprepared for it. The story is mostly about himself trying to reintegrate into Japanese society and provides many insights into Japanese life and culture of the 1980's when the story seems to be set. Japan had undergone a huge transformation between 1970 and the mid 80's. It was very important to the Japanese that the prisoner feel regret and remorse for his crime. Frankly, under the circumstances I could understand why he may not feel remorse. He certainly could have, but he didn't. That leads us to the very unhappy and unfortunate end of the story where despite all the help he had been given and everyone's good intentions, and the reader's hope that his life is finally getting better, something goes very wrong. Such a sad sad ending.

Recommended for those interested in Japanese literature
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RBeffa | 8 other reviews | Feb 8, 2022 |
A superb read about a small Japanese village probably medieval--as the plague figured (in small part) into the story. It's one of those books where the last sentence can be interpreted in two ways! Recommended 180 pages
Tess_W | 29 other reviews | Jul 5, 2021 |

En español, «Naufragios».

En esta novela se narran los eventos ocurridos en el transcurso de más o menos tres años en la vida de Isaku, un niño que vive en una aldea pesquera japonesa. La atmósfera en general es de una miseria extrema, en la que se persigue más la supervivencia que la subsistencia; la clase de miseria que hace que no se distinga si es un relato del año 100 o de fines del siglo XIX (aunque por la mención de daimyos o señores feudales japoneses podemos reducir un poco el rango entre el siglo XIV y el XVIII).

Los aldeanos se dedican, como mencioné anteriormente, a la pesca, aunque también obtienen algunos recursos de los bosques aledaños. No obstante, estos elementos son insuficientes. Muchas bocas para alimentar, demasiadas para el sustento disponible. Hombres y mujeres suelen venderse como esclavos por cierta cantidad de años a cambio de un poco de dinero para sus familias. Sin embargo, la aldea aún se mantiene en pie gracias a un secreto que comparten sus habitantes: o-fune-sama. Se trata de barcos que durante la tormenta, quedan encallados en los arrecifes cercanos, y son tomados por los habitantes como una forma de regalo divino, mana caído del cielo. Por lo que han establecido como tradición diversos rituales (y tretas) para acrecentar el número de estas "bendiciones". Actos que, en cualquier otro lado, serían considerados piratería y asesinato.

Una novela con una atmósfera extraordinaria. Las descripciones de la aldea y de sus usos y costumbres son magníficos; ni siquiera el cíclico pasar de los años las tornan repetitivas en lo más mínimo. El final, si bien es hasta cierto punto esperado, no deja de ser una buena conclusión sobre los límites de lo moralmente correcto y la retribución divina.
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little_raven | 29 other reviews | Jun 1, 2020 |
The publisher blurb on the front cover of my copy says it is 'a thrilling tale of murder and retribution set on the wild seacoast of medieval Japan' - which gives a quite false impression of what this book actually is. The LA Times quote, also on the front cover, calls it 'a haunting read', which is much closer to the mark.

This is a stark, Gothic morality tale, where the passing of the seasons is observed by ritual and humility, and the isolated village and its inhabitants live on the bounty or frugality of Nature. It's not a 'thrilling' tale, in that it's not a fast-paced whodunnit or anything like that. The prose is austere, but masterful, and the slow inevitability of the book's conclusion is equally beautiful and devastating.

If you want happy, then look away. But if you want to be immersed in a small masterpiece of Japanese literature, you must read this. Stunning and powerful.
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Alan.M | 29 other reviews | May 11, 2020 |



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