The China Lover

Front Cover
Atlantic, 2008 - Actresses - 392 pages
5 Reviews
A transfixing portrait of a woman and a nation eagerly burying the past to transform the future. In his enthralling new novel, Ian Buruma uses the life of the starlet Yamaguchi Yoshiko as a lens through which to understand the lure of erotic fantasies in the conquest of nations. The China Lover reveals the catastrophic results when theatre and politics blend in a lethal manner. In her earliest days Ri Koran-a Japanese girl, born in Manchuria, who sang and acted in Japanese and Chinese-was forced to keep her Japanese identity a secret, to become a Manchurian singer and movie star playing Chinese beauties who fell in love with brave Japanese empire builders. In U.S.-occupied Tokyo, she returned to the screen as Yamaguchi Yoshiko, starring in films approved by American censors and designed to promote American-style democracy. Before long, she decided to reinvent herself yet again by moving to the United States. Three months after Japan and the United States signed a peace treaty in San Francisco, Yamaguchi rededicated herself to pursuing a career in American movies, this time as Shirley Yamaguchi, playing exotic Japanese beauties falling in love with American soldiers. But she was not just the subject of male fantasies on the cinema screen. She married the Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who wanted her to be the perfect tradition- al Japanese woman.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

Told from the perspective of three different men, each giving his perspective on the life of one woman (Otaka Yoshiko / Yoshiko Yamaguchi / Ri Koran), this is an interesting [fictionalized] biography ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - maryreinert - LibraryThing

If you like intricate plots, interesting characters, foreign settings, and historical accuracy, this is a book for you. I knew absolutely nothing about Japanese/Chinese relations or Manchuria during ... Read full review

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