Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa (in English translation subtitled “An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal Japan”) is an epic historical fiction novel. Originally released in 1967, the English version was translated by William Scott Wilson and published in 1992. To this day, Yoshikawa is probably one of the most prominent and globally known authors from Japan. He is mostly well known for his takes on historical events and adapts them into big novels, such as Musashi, The Heike Story, and this one, Taiko.
The story in Taiko is set in Japan between the 15th and 16th century. The country was engulfed by continuous civil war among the landlords (daimyo), a time known as the “Sengoku period.” From this raging turmoil, Toyotomi Hideyoshi emerged and united the country. Born in a poor peasant family, his journey in being the most powerful man in Japan was harsh and amazing. From a mere slippers carrier for Oda Nobunaga, Hideyoshi grew into one of the biggest generals in Oda clan, respected even by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Trading a deadly path full of wars, Hideyoshi carried out his struggle to realize his dream of a united and peaceful Japan.
Cover and Details of Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa (PDF)
- Title: Taiko: An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal Japan
- Author: Eiji Yoshikawa
- Publisher: Kodansha
- Date Published: September 1, 1992
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 4770015704
- ISBN-13: 9784770015709
Summary of the Book
In the tempestuous closing decades of the sixteenth century, the Empire of Japan writhes in chaos as the shogunate crumbles and rival warlords battle for supremacy…Amid this devastation, three men dream of uniting the nation. At one extreme is the charismatic but brutal Nobunaga, whose ruthless ambition crushes all before him. At the opposite pole is the cold, deliberate Ieyasu, wise in counsel, brave in battle, mature beyond his years. But the keystone of this triumvirate is the most memorable of all, Hideyoshi, who rises from the menial post of sandal bearer to become Taiko—absolute ruler of Japan in the Emperor’s name.
Reviews of Taiko
“Taiko is simply too good to ignore…Packed with action, intrigue and heartbreak…[it] proves conclusively that Americans aren’t the only ones who root for the underdog.” —Detroit Free Press
“Something for everyone—history, romance, acts of great loyalty and treachery, monumental battle scenes…highly recommended.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A unique opportunity for Western readers to explore a time, a man and the creation of modern Japan from a genuinely Japanese perspective.” —The Washington Times
“A vibrant tale of heroic deeds and black villainy that brings to life distant times and people” —Library Journal
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