• SHARE

I asked a Japanese friend how he would characterize Shiba Ryotaro’s famous historical novel, “Clouds Above the Hill.” I’ve known its immense popularity, but Shiba had started its newspaper serialization after I left Japan in 1968, and the size of the finished work — six volumes in book form — had daunted me, so I’d never read it. My friend’s reply: “The nation’s favorite book.”

Now it’s in English translation, in four large volumes — two of them out, the remaining two to come out later this year. As the English subtitle says, the novel concerns the Russo-Japanese War, from February 1904 to September 1905 — a war that has special, even nostalgic, meaning for the generations of Japanese who, like Shiba, lived significant chunks of the 20th century.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)