~ BOOK REVIEW Confession of a Yakuza Written By: Junichi Saga Translated By: John Bester ~
Synopsis: Confession of a Yakuza is a book written by doctor, Junichi Saga, about his patient, Eiji Ijichi, a former yakuza boss. It recounts stories and memories of Eiji’s colorful life as told by him from a teenage going to Tokyo to chase after a judge’s mistress to becoming a successful man running illegal gambling spots in Asakusa (Tokyo).
Review: Broken into four parts, this memoir is not a read from beginning to end in one sitting. For me, it’s a slow pick up then put down and absorb. I love reading books about real people who have lived such interesting and crazy life that I’ll never experience. It’s hard for me, someone in their 20’s, to imagine what it must have been like to have lived and survived the two world wars. Eiji did more than that. If you want good old story telling about a different time, then this is it. The author, Dr. Junichi Saga, is an amazing writer who flows between the memories and times the past and present impeccably. I absolutely loved the way this book concluded. It was bitter sweet and felt too perfect to be real life. This definitely is a testament to Junichi Saga’s writing ability. Additionally, there are some great quotes scattered throughout the novel. I particularly liked listening to Eiji’s thoughts especially his take on gamblers. Later, I learned that singer, Bob Dylan, borrowed some quotes from this book. Isn’t that something? I really, truly did enjoy this memoir so much and envy the author for having heard these stories first hand. In conclusion, I highly recommend Confession of a Yakuza for its good writing/quotes, fun stories, and great ending.