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A valuable story of a boy’s spiritual evolution.
This is a coming-of-age story of a wide-eyed boy’s courage, brimming with hope of a bright and shining future. It is also the story of the lost innocence of an untold number of children who continue to live, day after day, undaunted, in Fukushima, after March 11, 2011, in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Riku Sato is in the fifth grade, when he moves from Utsunomiya to Fukushima to switch schools. Minamisoma, the town he arrives in, is virtually deserted–after the devastating earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 11, 2011, which struck the Tohoku region in Japan and triggered a nuclear meltdown, not a single soul is in sight; not in the roads, nor in the school grounds. Riku spends endless, humdrum days in this ghost town, yearning to play outside, to take his bicycle out for a spin and ride like the wind, when he comes across the otherworldly, sparkling snowscape of a mountain in northern Japan. There, in the majestic kingdom of white, he befriends good-natured grownups; encounters wild animals in the mountains; and comes into contact with a mysterious boy and his equally mysterious companion, Tonchi…
Riku and the Kingdom of White
Publisher: Balestier Press
Number of Pages: 224
Randy Taguchi’s charming narrative, Riku and the Kingdom of White, is the result of time she spent as a volunteer in the Fukushima Kids project, working with the families and children of Fukushima. Through her involvement, she had the opportunity to interact with and interview dozens of Fukushima residents, and she was deeply moved by their resilience and strength.
Translator Raj Mahtani has collaborated with Taguchi on her book Fujisan, brings Riku to life for the English reader. A Yokohama resident, Mahtani has been translating from Japanese to English since the nineties. His other translations include Rieko Saegusa’s Tale Winds, Fumitada Naoe’s Live with Meaning. Die with Passion and Shiho Kishimoto’s I Hear Them Cry.