‘Talking about business - you have to go right to the gates of prison ...’ ‘The Brothers’ is the hundred year saga of the loves, lives and rivalries of one of Japan’s most glamorous business dynasties. Set against the background of Japan’s rise to become one of the world’s most prosperous and... show more
‘Talking about business - you have to go right to the gates of prison ...’
‘The Brothers’ is the hundred year saga of the loves, lives and rivalries of one of Japan’s most glamorous business dynasties. Set against the background of Japan’s rise to become one of the world’s most prosperous and technically advanced countries, this is the epic story of two generations of the Tsutsumi family, famous in Japan as much for their hatred of each other as for their fabled wealth.
At the heart of it are three men: the roguish father with his string of mistresses who built the family fortune before and during World War II; the illegitimate son who inherited it and turned it into a multi-million dollar empire; and the spurned legitimate son - rebel, poet, one-time communist - who inherited a single run-down department store which he used as the basis of an empire of style.
The Tsutsumis are one of Japan’s greatest dynasties and, like the Rockefellers or Getty’s in the west, have achieved a near-mythic status. Theirs is the ultimate rags-to-riches tale, a drama of cut throat business intrigues and ties of honour, family rivalry and the trials of wives and concubines, set against the turbulent background of Japan in the twentieth century.
Lesley Downer gained unprecedented access to the Tsutsumi family and those close to them. Here is a unique window on vast wealth and power Japanese style, taking us beyond the stereotype of pinstriped drones to a sweeping drama of Shakespearian proportions.
‘The Brothers’ was a ‘The New York Times’ Book of the Year in 1995.
‘Lesley Downer ... has written a gripping book.’ David Sanger, New York Times Book Review
‘.. traces in vivid and entertaining detail the tale of two generations of Tsutsumis. ... an absorbing tale of our times, entertainingly told.’ The Times
‘Ms Downer .. uses the Tsutsumi family as a way to bring human colour to Japan’s recent history.’ The Economist
‘Lesley Downer’s light-footed recounting of their story is very welcome. She manages an attractive balance between the general history of the period and the domestic details of this sprawling, stylish and terrifyingly ambitious family.’ Independent on Sunday
‘The Brothers reads like an epic novel. [She brings] Japanese history and the Tsutsumis to life.’ Newsday
‘One of the most remarkable stories around.’ - Sunday Telegraph
Lesley Downer went to Japan in 1978 and has been studying and writing about its people and culture ever since. Her books include On the Narrow Road to the Deep North, which was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book of the Year 1990 and made into a Channel 4 television documentary. She has also written on Japanese cooking and presented the series A Taste of Japan on BBC2. She writes on Japan for a variety of newspapers and magazines, including The Times, the Independent, the Financial Times and the Sunday Telegraph. She lives in London and Tokyo. The Brothers was named as one of The New York Times ‘Books of the Year’ 1995.
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