The Diplomat’s Daughter: Karin Tanabe

I was really ready to like this book from the cover blurb.

My optimism was misplaced. The word usage is extremely pedestrian. I can almost never read a book without making a note of some interesting idea or clever word use. I made not a single notation from the entire novel.

Worst of all is the extremely unrealistic portrayal of a young Japanese woman of that social station and age and time period. Even if her parents allowed her to behave in the manner the book describes, Japanese society never would have.

As an illustration, do some quick research on the current Crown Princess of Japan, who had a similar upbringing, except she is a present-day version of Emiko, when contemporary social conventions are a little more unencumbered. Princess Masako has endured such societal pressure to bend to the social norms of her station, she has suffered extreme emotional distress, to the point where she has seldom even appeared in public since 2002.

Emiko fighting and rising above such tribulations would have been a good story. Instead, Tanabe pretends the real-world societal strictures of Japan barely existed.

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