Highlighting Historical Romance with Patricia Kiyono on upheaval in Japan
In the mid-nineteenth century, the country of Japan was in a state of unrest. Traditionally, the shogun, not the emperor, held the most power, and beneath him were the feudal lords, or daimyo. Emperor Komei had begun to take a more active role in political decisions when he’d suddenly fallen ill and died. Commodore Perry had begun negotiations with Komei, but the foreigner was distrusted by the shogun’s officials.
The new emperor was only fifteen years old, and no one expected this sheltered teenager would have any interest in running the country. But this young man, now known as Emperor Meiji, surprised everyone when he imposed Imperial rule. Within a few years of ascending the throne, the shogunate was stripped of its power, ending the feudal system of rule. His reign is known as the Era of Enlightenment, when Western ideas and customs were introduced and embraced.
The end of the shogunate meant that the warriors known as samurai were no longer needed. In fact, they were outlawed. And those men who had trained all their lives to be soldiers had to find a new way of life. Some joined the imperial army. Others learned a new trade. And some, resisting change, became known as ronin, or drifter. Some of these masterless samurai caused trouble for all those who opposed them. It is this world in which my historical novel The Samurai’s Garden is set. Hiro, a former samurai, is on a search for new meaning to his life, and finds it on a small farm far to the north.
About the Book: The Samurai’s Garden
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.
Hanako Shimizu experienced first-hand the devastation caused by the masterless samurai known as ronin. 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.
Hiro offers to help Hanako on her 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.
About the Author
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.