I’m pleased to have Patricia Kiyono on my blog today to tell us about her novel, The Samurai’s Garden. Patricia, I absolutely love your cover! Welcome and tell us about your wonderful story!
Thank you so much for having me here today! I’m so excited about my first full-length novel, The Samurai’s Garden. I thought I’d share a little background for the story.
The samurai warriors of Japan were fierce in battle, and the pictures we see often show them in full armor, swinging their swords and dying in battle. But they lived according to a code of ethics that went far beyond their fighting. This code is known as the Bushido, literally translated as The Way of the Warrior. The samurai code consists of seven virtues (this number varies depending on your source) include Righteousness, Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty, Honor, and Loyalty. Samurai were expected to adhere to this code, and when they failed they were expected to redeem themselves by performing the horrible ritual known as seppuku.
Like most people, I was fascinated with the colorful samurai. I wondered what it would be like to know some of these warriors. When I started writing a story about a samurai soldier, I looked closely at the tenets of the bushido and tried to imagine what these traits would look like in his everyday life. Gradually, the character of Hiromasa Tanaka solidified.
As I wrote, I was struck by the similarities between Hiro and my own father. Dad wasn’t a big or physically powerful man, but he showed strength of character in everything he did. He ran a financial institution with honesty, integrity, and compassion. His family and friends never had reason to doubt his loyalty. He enlisted in the US Army and fought in the Korean War because he was a proud American. And when the end came, he faced it with stoicism and courage. In other words, my father was the perfect example of a samurai.
Think of the heroes in your life. They may not be Japanese, and they may not be warriors in the fighting sense, but if they’re like most people we think of as a hero, chances are it’s because they adhere to most of the codes of the Bushido.
Here’s what The Samurai’s Garden is about:
Hiro Tanaka prepared for a life as a samurai warrior. But his world changed when Japan’s feudal system was abolished by the Emperor. Now, he must find a new vocation. Disillusioned with fighting and violence, he travels alone, going north to the island of Hokkaido. Many other samurai wander through the country and are known as ronin. Some have forsaken their honorable way to prey on the less fortunate.
Hanako Shimizu experienced first-hand the devastation caused by these disreputable wanderers. The previous winter, they raided her farm and killed her husband. Now, she needs to rebuild but has no money and no prospects—except for the dubious intentions of the town merchant.
When Hiro, tired of his wandering, encounters Hanako in the market, arguing with the merchant, he poses as her late husband’s cousin then offers to help her on the farm in exchange for a place to stay. Working on the land, Hiro finally finds the peace he has been seeking. But the reappearance of the rogue ronin, led by an unscrupulous leader from Hiro’s past, forces him to take up his swords again. But now, the stakes are higher.
This time, he’s fighting from the heart.
Bio: During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.
She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children and grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.