Boy Called H: A Childhood in Wartime Japan (Kan Yamaguchi Series), A

Kappa Senoh
This is the fascinating true story of a Japanese boy's growing disillusionment with the conduct of a patriotic war. Boy H's father was a tailor, his mother a tambourine-banging Christian in a country of very few Christians. His childhood unfolded in the 1930s, when militarism was steadily strengthening its grip on Japan; it ended when the nation lay in ruins. What set H apart from other kids, despite the shared preoccupation with schoolmates, movies, and sex, was an unusually sharp eye and a precociously skeptical attitude that made him a bit of a loner in a conformist society. Though at times dark, his anecdotes are arranged with the lightest of touches and a sharp sense of humor. The total effect is of a rich, varied, and intensely readable novel, but one that involves real lives, actual events.

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