Reading Mongolia: Travels in Manchuria and Mongolia: A Feminist Poet from Japan Encounters Prewar China

I get most of the books for the blog from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, because libraries rule. Especially when searching through the system conjures up an oddity, like my next selection for Mongolia…

Travels in Manchuria and Mongolia: A Feminist Poet from Japan Encounters Prewar China, by Akiko Yosano and translated by Joshua A. Fogel. Like, there’s no way on this earth I would ignore that.

This book is very much a travelogue of an intelligent and very Japan-centric woman. Of her time. I’m not going to unpack the intensity and multiple layers that exist even within the title. Japan and China have a…complicated relationship, especially during the time period discussed…there are many people, much smarter than me that could inform you. From many different angles.

What I can say is that I experienced this book in conjunction with several other titles about Mongolia, and Ms. Yosano’s observations of life on the steppe fit in perfectly with what’s described in those books. It was really enjoyable to get “backup” from a somewhat detached observer. Also, it was a great reminder to be open to what you might find when you’re searching for something else…you never know what you’ll stumble across.

Dromedary camels by the sand dunes of Khongoryn Els, Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, Ömnögovi Province, Mongolia
Dromedary camels by the sand dunes of Khongoryn Els, Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, Ömnögovi Province, Mongolia
(image by User:Doron [CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)