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CompleteMartialArts.com - Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster's Daughter

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Manufacturer: Kodansha International
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5

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Binding: Hardcover
Dewey Decimal Number: 364.1092
EAN: 9784770030429
ISBN: 4770030428
Label: Kodansha International
Manufacturer: Kodansha International
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 192
Publication Date: 2007-07-01
Publisher: Kodansha International
Studio: Kodansha International

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Editorial Reviews:

Yakuza Moon is the shocking, yet intensely moving memoir of 37-year-old Shoko Tendo, who grew up the daughter of a yakuza boss. Tendo lived her life in luxury until the age of six, when her father was sent to prison and her family fell into terrible debt. Bullied by classmates and terrorized at home by a father who became a drunken, violent monster after his release from prison, Tendo rebelled. A regular visitor to nightclubs at the age of 12, she soon became a drug addict and a member of a girl gang. At 15 she was sentenced to eight months in a juvenile detention center.
Adulthood brought big bucks and glamour when Tendo started working as a bar hostess during Japan's booming bubble economy of the nineteen-eighties. But among her many rich and loyal patrons there were also abusive clients, one of whom beat her so badly that her face was left permanently scarred. When her mother died, Tendo plunged into such a deep depression that she tried to commit suicide twice.
Tendo takes us through the bad times with warmth and candor, and gives a moving and inspiring account of how she overcame a lifetime of discrimination and hardship. Getting tattooed, from the base of her neck to the tips of her toes, with a design centered on a geisha with a dagger in her mouth, was an act that empowered her to start making changes in her life. She quit her job as a hostess. On her last day at the bar she looked up at the full moon, a sight she never forgot. The moon became a symbol of her struggle to become whole, and the title of the book she wrote as an epitaph for herself and her family.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: I couldn't put it down!
Comment: Shoko Tendo's Yakuza Moon is an amazing recollection of her life as a Yakuza daughter. I couldn't put it down and finished the book in 2 hrs. I just could not put the book down. I look forward to reading more books written by Shoko.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Sad and Inspiring Tale, Average Writing
Comment: Her life story was interesting, sad, and compelling to read. I thought this book was a good insight to 1980's-90's Sub-Culture in Japan. This book was an easy read, and the writing is a little Below par, but don't let that make you not give this book a whirl. I give it a B. I have lent it to a friend, who also likes it as well*

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Shoko Tendo is Amazing
Comment: Yakuza Moon by Shoko Tendo is an excellent novel. Her memoirs kept me reading and shocked me at times. Her life is very interesting and intertwined with the Japanese mafia made it all the better. If your into true life stories, the Yakuza, and aren't afraid to be shocked then I recommend this book.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Bloody Moon
Comment: Whereas the samurai encapsulates the image of the pre-modern ideal of Japanese masculinity through his martial skill, stoic nature, self discipline, and code of honor, the yakuza, Japanese gangster, supposedly carries on a number of these traditions in the modern, or post-modern, world, especially the codes of honor and respect for not only his superiors but his inferiors. Wearing traditional Japanese garb, an expensive Western suit, or a loud aloha shirt, pockets full of money from sometimes questionable businesses, and carrying centuries of culture within his being, the yakuza has come to fascinate not only the Japanese populace, but the world at large through primarily his depiction in film and crime novels.

Shoko Tendo is the second daughter and third child of the yakuza oyabun, Japanese gang boss, Hiroyasu Tendo and she witnessed his great excesses and eventual downfall, but she was not involved in the gang herself and therefore is unable or not willing to expunge deeply upon the topic of her father's involvement with the yakuza, but instead writes on her life and how her father's being a yakuza would affect her life for years to come. It is for this very reason that I believe that a number of Western readers are disappointed with Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster's Daughter. They are looking for a memoir that will feed into their cinematic/stereotypical ideals of what Tendo's life should be like, but instead they receive a thin tome written by a woman who suffered from continuous abuse at the hands of men who were yakuza and these men, instead of being paragons of virtue, Japanese tradition, and honor are alcoholic, cowardly dope fiends who beat on those weaker than them and cower from those who are stronger.

What Tendo gives the reader is a cathartic, honest account of a woman who is connected to the shady crime underworld and how it ostracizes her from mainstream Japanese society. Scoffed at by her teachers, neighbors, and classmates after her father is imprisoned, Tendo becomes a yanki, female delinquent and gang member, and finds herself growing addicted to a number of narcotics starting off with huffing paint thinner to injecting heroin daily all the while drifting from detention centers to abusive relationships. At times, it seems she finds peace, but eventually these fleeting moments are shattered by harsh reality.

Another criticism that I have read concerning the memoir is that it is poorly written, and that it seems like a sordid tale written by a grade-schooler. Tendo herself apologizes about the writing in the book's afterward stating that she has next to zero formal education (she nearly ceased doing school work after elementary school, having become a yanki at 12). Leaving the quality of writing behind, Tendo does have the tendency to foreshadow in a sophomoric way and her moralizing is a bit weak, but the bare bones honesty of a woman opening her heart to the reader makes the overall read overcome its limitations in craft. A fine memoir that attempts to shatter some of the stereotypes associated with the yakuza, Yakuza Moon: Memoirs of a Gangster's Daughter makes for a quick and enlightening read on the subject of the Japanese underworld.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Giving this a C+
Comment: Perhaps it was a bad translation. Perhaps it was written in a rush. Or perhaps the author just isn't particularly talented. The last seems to be the case with Shoko Tendo's memoir about life as the daughter of a Japanese mobster. Many of the chapters ran like separate vignettes without much dramatic tension. There was little insight into the actual lives of the yakuza, and the reader is left trying to add pieces together. What keeps the pace is Tendo's interesting life, and the trials she must overcome to better herself. When she receives the full-body tattoo, it seems anti-climactic and, dare I say it, unimportant. The tone of the entire piece just doesn't have enough resonance to carry itself. For example, the trite (and very bizarre shift in the aforementioned tone) last line is this: "Thank you Mom and Dad." Like something out of high school essay, I felt deceived with such a simplistic ending. Some passages contained rich imagery, but they didn't last very long. Overall, with the subject and some of the narrative, the book had promise. But it seems carrying out the task proved to be too much of a task.

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