Japan Society Book Club: Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kouno

Date: Monday 8th August 2011
Venue: 5th View, Waterstone’s Piccadilly, 203-206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LE
Fee: Free for Japan Society members (Please email the office if you plan to attend).

The book for discussion at this meeting is Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kouno. The book club itself is conducted in English but members can choose the language in which they read the book.

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.

Fumiyo Kouno was born in 1968 in Hiroshima, Japan. She started drawing manga in junior high school. She published her first commercial manga in 1995.

The book club is held on the second Monday of the month. There is no restriction on the nationality of the authors read, but books should be available in translation in both Japanese and English. The discussion is conducted mainly in English, but you can choose the language in which you read the book. The intention is simple; to explore the themes of the book, express personal opinions on the style and content, discuss how the book has changed (or not) in translation and to have a relaxed discussion with others who have similar interests.

The book club is informal and any member is welcome to attend. However, so that we can look out for you, please let us know if you plan to come by email to events@japansociety.org.uk or tel: 020 7828 6330

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

London United Korean Fan Club

London United Japanese Fan Club