PachinkoPachinko by Min Jin Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As an Ex-Pat who lived in Japan for 32 years, I am very aware of the Japanese prejudice towards Koreans. Most people think that the Japanese take over of Korea began during WWII, but Japan annexed Korea in 1910. Min Jin Lee created very interesting and true-to-life characters, who made up four decades of a family from the poverty to riches. The essence of the novel is the strength of the great-grandmother, Yangjin, from Buson, Korea, her daughter Sunja, the grandchild Mozasu (Moses), and the great-grandchild Solomon. When the women moved to Japan they were able to endure selling their food in carts on the street. Their purpose was to feed and safeguard their family. The boys grew up around their modest pastor father, Isak (Isaac) and a stranger unknown to the boys who left a shadow in the family. Sunja’s son Noa (Noah) was a scholar whose Japanese language was so good that he was able to hide that he was Korean and attended Waseda University in Tokyo. His younger brother, Mozasu hid his nationality when he became a pachinko manager where there was corruption at the top, but he was a compassionate, truthful man who became successful. He helped to bring up his son Solomon who graduated from a college in New York. When Solomon returned to Japan he had to make a choice of where to live and what to do.

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