Susanna Jones

A Frog in a Narrow Well

The China Lover


Atlantic Books 392pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

Born in Manchuria in 1920, Yoshiko Yamaguchi was a beautiful and talented soprano. Under her adopted name, Ri Koran, she became an actress for the Manchuria Motion Picture Association, a propaganda machine for the Japanese military government. Her most famous picture was China Nights, a love story which immortalised her in Japan. Her fortunes changed when, after Japan’s surrender and withdrawal from China, she faced trial and the possibility of execution as a traitor. She was forced to reveal her Japanese nationality and move to Japan. Though often ambivalent about her profession, she starred in many more films and went on to seek fame in Hollywood and on Broadway, using the name Shirley Yamaguchi (inspired by Shirley Temple). Later she pursued, briefly, a career as a television journalist and then as a politician.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'It would be nice to think that women will achieve equal pay in my lifetime, rather than to watch gloomily as stati… ,
    • In 1660, two of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant fled across the Atlantic to New England. But were… ,
    • Howard Jacobson's sixteenth novel is 'a love story of sorts, one characterised not by physical desire or even conta… ,
    • 'The sudden immersion in the new and unfamiliar can lead people to write with a rare lack of self-consciousness' P… ,
    • 'Pools bend the rules. Clothes slip off, skin glistens, consciousness heightens. A dreamlike scenario unfolds' Jam… ,
    • 'Although he surely didn’t know W H Auden’s theory that every high C proclaims human freedom and our capacity to tr… ,
    • RT : With beginning tomorrow, we've uncovered a 1997 article from the archive reviewing 'Golf Dream… ,