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Amazon should stop selling the novel, “So Far from the Bamboo Grove”

What if a novel that claims a daughter of a Nazi officer was raped by Jewish people, is sold as a bestseller on Amazon?

“So Far from the Bamboo Grove”, the novel that turns a perpetrator into a victim and a rapist into a victim!

Amazon should stop selling the novel, “So Far from the Bamboo Grove”.

VANK has started a Global Petition on world’s largest petition site in order to stop selling “So Far from the Bamboo Grove” on Amazon, and created a poster to tell the world the truth about the novel.

On July 25, 2020, Amazon announced that it removed racist products being sold on its platform. VANK demand the book to be banned for sale in compliance with this policy.

Have you heard of the novel called “So Far from the Bamboo Grove”?

This book has long been used as an anti-war textbook for American schools, teachers, and youths because it is known to vividly describe the horrors of war and of its remarkable qualities of literature. In the US, this book is also recommended as a book for grades 6-8 for language and social studies, and as a must-read, and has been featured in instructional guides for American teachers.

The current introduction of the book on Amazon follows the contents of the back cover of this book as it is, introducing this book as a “true story” rather than a “fiction”.

Could a story of a Nazi girl suffering from the Jews after World War Ⅱ be distributed as a true story?

“So Far From the Bamboo Grove”, an autobiographical novel by American-Japanese Yoko Kawashima Watkins, contains the content that Japanese people were raped and assaulted by Koreans in the process of leaving Korea shortly before and after Japan’s defeat in World War Ⅱ.

This book encourages racism toward Koreans. In this novel, Koreans are portrayed as perpetrators, or evil people, while Japanese are portrayed as unjust victims and war refugees. When teenagers around the world, including the United States, read this book without knowing the history of East Asia and the history of Korean during the Japanese colonial occupation at school, they will perceive that Koreans were the perpetrators and Japanese were the victims.

Amazon emphasizes in promoting the book that it is a novel written based on a true story, saying that it is a “Japanese version of Anne Frank’s Diary”. But in reality, through this book, Japanese war crimes are glossed over, and Koreans transformed into perpetrators and Japanese into victims.

What’s worse is that “So Far From the Bamboo Grove” is a novel that distorted historical facts. This book also described that the main character Yoko took a train in the middle of the night, leaving behind an air raid by the US B-29 bomber that flew to Nanam, North Hamgyeong Province, where she lived. However, in fact, the US (Army) Air Force did not directly bomb the Korean Peninsula at that time. The B-29 could not even afford to air strike the northern part of the Korean Peninsula due to its flight range.

Yoko described that there were many sexual assaults on Japanese by Koreans, so she and her mother wrapped their front of upper body to disguise themselves as men, and stood up when they needed to urinate. However, this description also lacks credibility. Even after the defeat of Japan, it still did not disarm on the Korean peninsula until the US and Soviet troops disarmed Japanese troops based on the 38th parallel. Rather, Koreans who were welcoming liberation were even killed by Japanese troops.

Accordingly, VANK requests Amazon to stop selling “So Far from the Bamboo Grove” that promotes racism and distorts history in accordance with it’s policy. And we also request Amazon to change the classification of “So Far from the Bamboo Gorve” from “true story” to “fiction”, and state the danger of historical distortion in the introduction section of the book.

Join VANK’s Global Petition and share Digital Posters to stop the sale of “So Far from the Bamboo Grove” on Amazon!

<petition link>

On the left side of the poster shows a front page of the novel, and on the right side describes “Amazon should stop selling the novel, “So Far from the Bamboo Grove”.” with the phrase of the Global Petition.