Epeolatry Book Review: Inujini by Angela Yuriko Smith


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Title: Inujini
Author: Angela Yuriko Smith
Genre: historical Asian fiction, literary fiction, historical literary fiction
Publisher: Yuriko Publishing
Release Date: 23rd June, 2024

Synopsis: Three indigenous Ryukyuan girls are stripped of everything in a war their people will gain nothing from, except loss. As they struggle to survive, they learn the power of resilience lies in connecting with who they were, who they are and who they will be together.

Kaori, Yuki and Shigeko are three island girls on the edge of womanhood who find themselves trapped in a fictionalized Battle of Okinawa. Based on true events, the three girls endure hunger, injury, humiliation and gender based violence as everything they love is stripped from them.

They each survive parallel story arcs that entwine in the last act as they connect to their intuition, in the form of the shiisaa guardians specific to Okinawa, and each other. Shamanistic magic may be what brings them together, but in the end it’s the girls themselves that wind up being the heroines. Their sisterhood is what defies and defeats those that threaten them.

Trigger warning: Sexual violence is an essential part of the plot to represent the real life situation women in Okinawa face to this day, but there are no graphic depictions of the act in this story. It remains only a threat to the characters.