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Samurai Shortstop (Junior Library Guild…

Samurai Shortstop (Junior Library Guild Selection (Dial)) (edition 2006)

by Alan M. Gratz

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Title:Samurai Shortstop (Junior Library Guild Selection (Dial))
Authors:Alan M. Gratz
Info:Dial (2006), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Samurai Shortstop by Alan M. Gratz



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This is a "YA" book & tells about a young man in Japan in the 1890s. He is from a samurai family. His uncle took part in a revolt against the emperor and his father writes anti-government stories for the newspaper & opinion pieces. The uncle is given permission to kill homself. The hero goes to a top Japanese boarding school. He and his fellow first-year students are brutally abused by the older boys. But they learn a lot and the bravest (like our hero) impress the old students. The school has a baseball team. Our hero teaches the team how to be like a samurai. Even the teammate who is not from a samurai family. And so they become a great basketball team. Meanwhile the father wants to kill himself too, but the son tells him that the Emperor wants him to live and to kep promoting his agenda.
  franoscar | Aug 26, 2016 |
Ridiculous title, but an intriguing book. It deftly explores the evolution of Japanese culture just before the advent of the 20th century. It unflinchingly examines some of the darker aspects of samurai culture while at the same time lauding its more admirable virtues and traditions. I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. ( )
  EmilyRokicki | Feb 26, 2016 |
Enjoyed this encounter with turn-of-the-last-century Japanese high school baseball--the novel provides a look at the evolution of Japanese school culture (complete with hazing) as well as the transition from samurai ideals into Western-influenced modernism.

I didn't find the family relationships entirely convincing and I would have liked more focus on the classroom experience, but I was fascinated with the boys' struggles between yearning for life beyond the "Wall" and dedication to building their own society within it. ( )
  sarasusa | Apr 3, 2013 |
I am building a Book Map for this book. I will post the Map to www.brainbackbend.com when it is complete. For now, you can see some early comments on the Fulmore Spring Book Challenge Group Home Page.I would strongly suggest students read this book, especially students into one or more of the following: baseball, samurai, Japan, Zen, or boy becomes man story.Join the reading group and read SAMURAI SHORTSTOP. You will enjoy this exciting book and TOYO's jouirney as he blends Samurai beliefs and traditions with baseball. Bat and glove replace the sword and shield. Finally, if you enjoyed some of the ideas in THE TAO OF POOH, you will find some engaging and related ideas about Zen in this book. Mr. Harris ( )
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  coffeeandtea | Dec 18, 2010 |
“Samurai Shortstop” by Alan Grats was an interesting book for me. The story revolves around a boy named Toyo Shimada. He is part of the generation which is between the “Old Japan” and the “New Japan” where there are no samurais allowed. The story is about how he tries to become the link between the both worlds. I think that the story is interesting because of the amount of detail in the book. The author uses many Japanese words to explain certain parts of the story but they are used in such a way that people like me who know nothing about Japanese can understand important words in their culture. The author’s attention to detail makes it feel like a movie is being played in front of you. From this book you can also learn the culture of Japan in the 1890s. I would recommend this book to people of all ages who are either interested in the transition between the “Old Japan” and the “New Japan”, Baseball or Baseball in Japan. ( )
  15nawald | Nov 4, 2010 |
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Tama ukeru gokuhi wa kaze no yanagi kana - haiku by Japanese baseball player and poet Shiki Masaoka (1890)
The secret to catching a ball/
Lies with the willow/
Swaying in the wind - translation of haiku
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Toyo watched carefully as his uncle prepared to kill himself.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803730756, Hardcover)

Tokyo, 1890. Toyo is caught up in the competitive world of boarding school, and must prove himself to make the team in a new sport called besuboru. But he grieves for his uncle, a samurai who sacrificed himself for his beliefs, at a time when most of Japan is eager to shed ancient traditions. It’s only when his father decides to teach him the way of the samurai that Toyo grows to better understand his uncle and father. And to his surprise, the warrior training guides him to excel at baseball, a sport his father despises as yet another modern Western menace.

At its heart a novel about a boy who loves baseball, Samurai Shortstop is fascinating, suspenseful, and intense. Expertly researched by debut author Alan Gratz, it’s a sports story and more, about a boy who must choose between two ways of life, but finds a way to bridge them.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:02 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

While obtaining a Western education at a prestigious Japanese boarding school in 1890, sixteen-year-old Toyo also receives traditional samurai training which has profound effects on both his baseball game and his relationship with his father.

(summary from another edition)

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