Snow Falling on Cedars

Snow Falling on Cedars is the bestselling novel written by David Guterson in 1994, and won 1995's PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. This novel was made into a movie, 'Snow Falling on Cedars'. Since the defendant's wife Hatsue was played by Yuki Kudoh, this movie became popular in Japan.

This novel was also translated into Japanese in 1996, but the Japanese title "殺人容疑" was too mediocre and many Japanese were disappointed.

(殺人容疑 satsujin yougi means suspicion of murder.)


December in 1954, the incident happened in a small island in northern Puget Sound, the state of Washington. the second generation Japanese-American fisherman Kabuo Miyamoto was arrested on suspicion of murder. The victim was Carl Heine, a fisherman in the same village.

A local journalist was watching this trial with mixed feeling. He is Ishmael and he loved Kabuo's wife Hatsue when they were young. They loved each other, but after the Japanese attacking on Pearl Harbor, their innocent love was tore apart by anti-Japanese sentiments and the racial prejudice. They were too young in that war time.

Ishmael found the decisive evidence of Kabuo's innocence. He, however, counldn't decide how he conducted himself because he hadn't been able to accept his past with Hatsue.


In this story, Hatsue and Kabuo are depicted as typical Japanese. I think it is too typical and stereotyped, and most Japanese would think it is funny that Hatsue learned tea ceremony, calligraphy and flower arranging, and also Kabuo is the expert of kendo.

One more thing, I've never heard of Japanese man's name Kabuo. I'm sorry that this good novel is hurt by these mistakes.

I think that the movie of this book is better than this book. The innocent love of Ishmael and Hatsue is depicted nive. The lawyer Nels Gudmondsson is a good character. The heavy snow falling during the trial is beautiful and sad.

In this movie, Kabuo became Kazuo, a common Japanese name.

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