• Kana Wu

Go: A Coming of Age Novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

By Kazuki Kaneshiro.

Translated by Takami Nieda

A fascinating and enjoyable coming of age novel.

It is about a young Korean boy, Lee Sugihara, who has to endure racism, discrimination, and prejudice. Although he was born in Japan, he isn’t considered Japanese but a Zainichi Chozenjin, a North Korean resident of Japan. He attended Korean school until he decides to attend a Japanese all-boys school during his senior year. However, his teacher lists his Korean school next to his Japanese name. Instantly, he becomes a target, a walking-dojo, for his classmates. Thanks to his father, who used to be a professional boxer, Sugihara survives and even has a Yakuza’s son as his best friend. (Note: Yakuza is a criminal organization in Japan).

During his eighteen years of life, Sugihara has witnessed many prejudice and discrimination against his ethnic heritage. However, he feels more pain and sorrow once he meets and falls in love with a Japanese girl, Sakurai. Sugihara is a tough young man. Yet, his heart is broken by Sakurai’s reaction when he reveals his heritage. The girl says that she isn’t allowed to date any man but Japanese.

I like the story and comprehend the pain that the main character feels. There are misunderstandings, unfairness, and intolerance in this world. And the author did an excellent job of pouring them into a touching short story without being preachy.

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