Taiko: An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal Japan by Eiji Yoshikawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So, I finally finished Eiji Yoshikawa's "Taiko" and what can I say? It's a beautifully written book of war and glory that focuses mainly on two famous generals in Japanese history-Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. Honestly, I've heard of Nobunaga from the video game series, "Nobunaga's Ambition," but I wasn't familiar with Hideyoshi, who is the focal character of this book, until I read about him here. And man, this guy could talk his way out of anything. He'd turn enemies into lifelong companions, and with such humility and kindness that it would seem outright genuine. Who knows? Hideyoshi, as shown in this book, just might have been. The author, Yoshikawa, never makes Hideyoshi seem like he had ulterior motives, and instead paints him as an ambitious man who rose from nothing and became the man who shaped Japan. It's an inspiring and wonderful read.
That said, it's not as good as "Musashi," which Yoshikawa also wrote. There are too many scenes of war in this book, and too many battles on display. It gets a little tiresome in the middle, and you actually crave more quiet time with the characters. Amidst all the violence, those are the highlights.
There are also a lot of Japanese names being thrown around here, and as a historical text, I know they're important, but I liked the focus more on one or two characters in "Musashi." "Taiko" is a very broad book, while "Musashi" was a much smaller one in scope with a larger than life central protagonist. I liked that honed in focus more.
Still, "Taiko" is a must-read. If you love reading about Japanese history in the feudal times and have also read the James Clavell novels, then you should definitely pick up this book. But, if you have a choice, read "Taiko" first and then "Musashi." You'll be all the better for it.
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Thursday, November 22, 2012
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Monday, November 12, 2012
A lot of people are doubting the Wii U, and I have a few doubts myself. But I should really have more faith in the Big N since they usually tend to come out on top in the end. Check out this Iconographic if you don't believe me. It's pretty damn impressive. Let's go, Nintendo!
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I've put everything I've got into this story and I hope you could spread the word about it. It would really mean a lot. I have a website for it here, a facebook page here, where I put up brand new content (Please like the page!), and a separate blog for the story here. Again, please support! Thanks, y'all. Who loves you, baby?
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Fact: George Lucas pretty much tarnished his entire legacy with the "always intended" prequels to his mega-hit Star Wars with Episodes I-III.
Another fact: Jar Jar Binks shall always be the biggest stain on Lucas' career, besides the ketchup stain on his flannel shirt.
All that considered, with Disney recently acquiring Lucasfilm for a staggering 4 ba-ba-ba-ba billion (That's ba-billion with a ba) dollars, something just doesn't feel right. Especially since Disney has announced that they're going ahead with making another Star Wars trilogy, this one taking place after Episodes IV-VI.
Now, from what I've gathered, this new trilogy is supposed to be a bit darker than the "It hurts my eyes" CG disasters that were Episodes I-III. This new trilogy is also supposed to be based on a treatment that Lucas wrote that may or may not feature Luke Skywalker in his 30's and 40's. Even so, a new Star Wars trilogy, even if it would suck horribly in his hands, just doesn't seem right not being under the all-seeing eye of George Lucas. God is to mankind as George Lucas is to Star Wars. And while that might seem sacrilegious (Or is it sacrilicious?) to make such a comparison, I think it's apropos when thinking about what a landmark film Star Wars was to cinema. Lucas is pretty much the God of Hollywood. What other director, even with so many mistakes, holds as much clout as he does? Nobody, that's who! That's why he's Hollywood's God.
So, for Lucas to retire off to Tatooine or Florida or wherever else he plans to retire and not have direct contact with this next trilogy, well, it just seems so wrong. I think I'd rather have Lucas make another bad trilogy than for somebody else to take the wheel, even if it's as good as Episodes V and VI. I mention these two SW's because they were arguably the best of all of the films, and also the only two that Lucas didn't direct. That said, Lucas still has to be directly involved! It wouldn't be Star Wars without him. It just wouldn't!
But maybe I'm just a Lucas loyalist, even though I hated Episodes I-III beyond measure. I think I just like him as a person. He IS donating his $4 billion to education, after all. I kind of don't want to see him disappear into the pasture. What are your thoughts, though? Is the world of Star Wars better without him in it? Leave comments below.
Oh, and just as a reminder...