Pub. Date:
Kodansha International
The River Ki

The River Ki

by Sawako Ariyoshi, Mildred Tahara
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The River Ki, short and swift and broad like most Japanese rivers, flows into the sea not far south of Osaka. On its journey seaward, it passes through countryside that has long been at the heart of the Japanese tradition. And it flows too past the mountains and the villages, past the dams, ditches and rice fields that provide such a richly textured backdrop to this novel.

Powerful enough to sweep away people on its banks and placid enough to carry along with its flow a sumptuous wedding procession, the River Ki dominates the lives of the people who live in its fertile valley and imparts a vital strength to the three women, mother, daughter and granddaughter, around whom this novel is built. It provides them with the courage to cope, in their different ways, with the unprecedented changes that occurred in Japan between the last years of the last century and the middle of this century.

Sawako Ariyoshi, one of Japan's most successful modern novelists, describes this social and cultural revolution largely through the eyes of Hana, a woman with the vision and integrity to understand the inevitability of the death of the traditional order in Japan. Ariyoshi writes with a love for detail bound to a broader understanding of the importance of the geographical and biological forces that mold her characters—and the result is a story that flows with all the vitality of the River Ki itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780870115141
Publisher: Kodansha International
Publication date: 05/01/1982
Pages: 243
Product dimensions: 4.35(w) x 7.18(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

SAWAKO ARIYOSHI was born in 1931 in Wakayama City. As a student she developed a deep interest in the theater, both modern drama and traditional Kabuki, and her own plays are widely performed in Japan. Many of her novels have also been adapted for the stage, the cinema, and television.

Ariyoshi first rose to prominence in the 1950s as a writer of short stories, but has since built an impressive reputation as a novelist dealing with crucial social issues. Among her themes have been the problems faced by women in the traditional Japanese household (Hanaoka seishu no tsuma, 1967, translated as "The Doctor's Wife"), racial segregation in the United States (Hishoku, 1964), and environmental pollution (Fukugo-osen, 1975). Her Kokotsu no hito (The Twilight Years) was published in 1972 and sold over a million copies in less than a year.

Translations of her books have appeared throughout the world and include a French translation of The Doctor's Wife, which was a bestseller in France in 1981; The River Ki; The Twilight Years; Her Highness Princess Kazu, awarded the prestigious Mainichi Cultural Prize in 1979; and Kabuki Dancer. Ariyoshi died in 1984.

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Donald Richie

"A beautiful a perceptive observer."

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The River Ki 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
bostonbibliophile on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An effective, moving and beautiful intergenerational family novel set in Japan. it's one of those books you pick up in a used bookstore and just marvel at.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great insight on the effects of modernization on generations of Japanese women.