Author: Robert D. San Souci
Artist: Stephen T. Johnson
Genre: Family / Japan / Bravery
Year Published: 1992
Year Read: 2015
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Parental Separation)
I had read many Japanese folktales over the years, but I had never read a folktale quite like this before! “The Samurai’s Daughter” is a Japanese folktale that is retold by master storyteller Robert D. San Souci along with illustrations by Stephen T. Johnson and with these two elements combined; this is definitely one story that is worth reading!
Once upon a time on the east coast of Japan, there lived a loyal samurai who lived with his beautiful daughter, Tokoyo. When Tokoyo was young, her father used to teach her everything about being a samurai and Tokoyo would learn how to defend herself in battle. However, when Tokoyo got older, her father decided to teach her to be more ladylike, which Tokoyo did not enjoy doing. One tragic day however, the ruler of Japan decided to banish Tokoyo’s father to the Oki Islands due to suffering from a mental illness and Tokoyo is forced to separate from her father. After this incident, Tokoyo decided to journey to the Oki Islands by herself in order to reunite with her father.
Will Tokoyo be able to reunite with her father while facing all kinds of danger on her journey?
Read this book to find out!
Wow! I cannot believe that I have never read this book before! I have always loved Robert D. San Souci’s retellings of many folktales and fairy tales as Robert D. San Souci’s narrations were always intriguing to read and this book was definitely no exception! I loved the way that Robert D. San Souci wrote Tokoyo’s character as Tokoyo is shown as being a strong and independent woman who was willing to go through any kind of danger in order to reunite with her father and I really loved the fact that Tokoyo learned how to fight like a samurai as it made her into a truly unique and strong character. I love the way that this story compares strongly to “Mulan,” as both stories take place in an Asian setting (“Mulan” in China and “The Samurai’s Daughter” in Japan) and both have strong female protagonists who are willing to go through so much danger in order to protect their loved ones (Mulan enters the army to save her father and Tokoyo travels to the Oki Islands to reunite with her father). Stephen T. Johnson’s artwork is truly beautiful as the artwork is done in pastel paintings and they really give an authentic Japanese feel to the story that made me feel like I am actually visiting ancient Japan through these illustrations! I loved the way that Stephen T. Johnson drew the ocean and the characters themselves as they look truly gorgeous and really complement greatly to the story.
Overall, “The Samurai’s Daughter” is a truly fantastic book for anyone who loves strong female protagonists and loves reading about ancient Japan! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the length of this book might be a bit tiresome for smaller children.