The story of a boy whose dream of becoming a sumo wrestler is interrupted by WWII. Besides being a delicate and personal story about engaging characters, it is rich with the fascinating details of Japanese traditional culture around Sumo wrestling, Noh theater and day to day life-and to see WWII from the various points of view of the Japanese. Frankly, I would never have wagered that I'd find myself so utterly compelled by a story with sumo wrestling as the central thread. — Heather Bellanca
Written with eloquence and authenticity, Gail Tsukiyama's sixth novel chronicles the life of two orphaned brothers raised by their grandparents just before, during and after WWII in Tokyo. Hiroshi climbs the ranks of sumo wrestling, while dutiful younger brother Kenji graduates from university, but finally pursues his lifelong dream of becoming a maker of Noh theater masks. Over the span of thirty years, Tsukiyama captures the intricate nuances of life in Tokyo during the war and engagingly details the relationships and lives of this Japanese family. — Northshire Staff
It is Tokyo in 1939. On the Street of a Thousand Blossoms, two orphaned brothers dream of a future firmly rooted in tradition. The older boy, Hiroshi, shows early signs of promise at the national obsession of sumo wrestling, while Kenji is fascinated by the art of Noh theater masks.
But as the ripples of war spread to their quiet neighborhood, the brothers must put their dreams on hold—and forge their own paths in a new Japan. Meanwhile, the two young daughters of a renowned sumo master find their lives increasingly intertwined with the fortunes of their father’s star pupil, Hiroshi.
The Street of a Thousand Blossoms is a powerfully moving masterpiece about tradition and change, loss and renewal, and love and family from a glorious storyteller at the height of her powers.