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Japan Book Club: The Master Puppeteer – Part 2

March 19, 2012

This we’ll read chapter 3 and chapter 4 of  The Master Pupeteer.  

This book isn’t just about puppets.  The author, Katherine Paterson (who you may know from the book The Bridge to Terebithia) is a master writer, using Japanese history and the art of puppetry has a backdrop for a much deeper and more meaningful story.

In these chapters, Jiro leaves home to begin an apprenticeship at the puppet theatre.  After reading books like The Big WaveBushido, and Hiroshima you’ve gained a better understanding of Japanese traditions and the Japanese mindset.  Apply what you learned about Japanese culture in those earlier books.

Tell me why Jiro does what he does.  Why does his mother act the way she does?   What is the hierarchy at the theatre?  How do all of these things connect to the other books we’ve read?

Every student in our Japan group is required to participate.  You must comment on this post with your thoughts, then come back and comment on what other people have said – you are required to make an effort to keep the conversation going by replying to at least 2 other students (more than just “I agree” or “you are right.” Give them reasons why you agree/disagree or what they said that was meaningful – make this a discussion). 

Next week we’ll be reading Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman – you should begin looking for your own copy at a local library or book store soon.  Amazon.com has some cheap used copies available too.  
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38 Comments leave one →
  1. Sydney Bebar permalink
    March 25, 2012 7:00 pm

    I think Jiro decides to leave his family because he thinks that if he leaves it will save them money. Aslo, whatever amount of money he makes he said he would give them for extra food. His mother acts angry because she feels like he is abandoning their family, and that he doesn’t appreciate all of their sacrifices that they made for him. The heirarchy of the theater is Yoshida, the main puppeteer, along with Mochida, Yoshida’s past mentor. This connects with our other books because many others were about youths doing what they thought was best and finding a new mentor by defying their family.

    • Jessica Sherwin permalink
      March 26, 2012 7:15 pm

      I felt bad for Jiro, I wish he could have explained to his mother, before she stormed off, why he really left.

    • Tyler Webber permalink
      March 26, 2012 9:29 pm

      Do you think Jiro is helping his family or actually huring them ?

    • cj moody permalink
      March 28, 2012 6:42 pm

      tyler, thats a good question, i think that hes just hurting his family and himself.

      • Jacob Kosinski permalink
        March 29, 2012 3:27 pm

        I agree, Jiros hurting and helping his family at the same time.

      • Nailah permalink
        March 29, 2012 6:58 pm

        I think he thinks he’s helping but really is just hurting his family more than anything. I don’t think that he was a burden but he thought leaving would help yes it would relieve finantial distress but not emotional distress.

      • Austin Stein permalink
        April 9, 2012 2:13 pm

        I think he’s hurting his family more. Even he was a bit of a misfit in the family, he still was family. They loved him, and Jiro is the only child they still have. In Chapter One, they say that the parents have had children before, but they died from plague. That would really hurt on the inside, that your only living child left home for good.

    • Nailah permalink
      March 29, 2012 6:54 pm

      yes i agree to a certain extent. In the book Hiroshima certain characters weren’t any of the youth, they were injured citezins who were explaining the pain they were going through after the bombing.

    • Blair Tuider permalink
      April 6, 2012 4:37 pm

      I think Jiro’s mother over sacred in my opinion because if she knew why he was leaving she would understand how he felt and maybe then she wouldnt have been so upset.

  2. Zach Ciko permalink
    March 25, 2012 8:52 pm

    Jiro decides to leave his family because he believes that it would save his family money with him gone. But, his mother acts angery because she thinks he is abondening them after everything they have been through as a family. The herarchy of the theater is the main puppeter (Yoshida) and the main puppeters past mentor (Monchida). And this reminds be of the other books because all of the books deal with people trying to make the right decissions for everyone else around them.

    • Tyler Webber permalink
      March 26, 2012 9:28 pm

      Where do you think Jiro will go?

      • Jacob Kosinski permalink
        March 29, 2012 3:26 pm

        Im pretty sure Jiro will go to the theater.

    • Blair Tuider permalink
      April 6, 2012 4:38 pm

      I agree that all the books connect because it’s about people doing good for those they love or who is in their lives

    • Shane Chetney permalink
      April 17, 2012 8:57 pm

      Thats what i thought too. In every book we’ve read, one person always tries to make decisions for other people. They thought they were helping but sometimes they weren’t, they were just making it worst.

  3. Jessica Sherwin permalink
    March 26, 2012 7:13 pm

    Jiro does what he does out guilt that being the only child to survive the plague when he was born. So he leaves, hoping to use the money and give it to his parents – hoping his mother would appreciate it – and not be a burden his family. Isako, Jiro’s mother, acts the way she does because she feels that Jiro is being selfish and abandoning the family when she sacrificed all she could give to him, though he left for her. At the theater, the hierarchy is: (only the main roles that don’t include underlings) the main chief operator – Yoshida – the senior left-hand operator – Mochida – then the chanters and musicians which are under the reciter – Okada – and finally the crew – the boys. This all connects to other books we read because there was always a character that would try to find a way to figure out a major problem that involves family or friends, and an elder or powerful person would help make a dramatic change in the main character’s descisions.

    • Mark Burjek permalink
      April 2, 2012 9:10 pm

      I like how you noticed that there has been an elder person in our stories who has affected the main character’s decisions.

      • Nate Zurawski permalink
        April 5, 2012 2:21 pm

        I noticed that about the books too, there is always an elder who teaches a boy about an art or way of life.

    • Shane Chetney permalink
      April 17, 2012 8:55 pm

      I agree Blair. I think Jiro did what he did hoping his mother would appreciate what his actions.

  4. Tyler Webber permalink
    March 26, 2012 9:27 pm

    Jiro leaves his family because he think it would save money with out him there. His mother gets very angry, she does this because she feels that he is abandoning her after all they had been through as a whole family. The herarchy is the main puppeteer ,that is Yoshida. This book connects to all the other books because they all take place around the same time and they all try to do what is best for the people around them.

    • cj moody permalink
      March 28, 2012 6:42 pm

      thats a good point that the books show that they do the best for whats around them

      • Nate Zurawski permalink
        April 5, 2012 2:22 pm

        I think that it’s important that Jiro knows that it is best for his family that he is deciding to leave.

  5. cj moody permalink
    March 28, 2012 6:40 pm

    Jiro leaves his family so that they can save money. they had been a family and his mom is angry because he is abandoning her after all the time theyve been together. The herarchy of the theater is the main puppeteer,Yoshida. the books connect because they are all in japan, all have been set all mainly around the same time.

    • Jessica Sherwin permalink
      March 29, 2012 7:11 pm

      I didn’t realize that the timeline for all the books were so similar until you pointed it out.

    • Austin Stein permalink
      April 9, 2012 2:42 pm

      In a sense, I guess they have been all around each’s time periods. I see it with The Master Puppeteer and The Old Man (Possibly the Big Wave Too), skip a few years, then with Bushido, Hiroshima, and Sadako.

  6. Jacob Kosinski permalink
    March 29, 2012 3:24 pm

    I think Jiro leaves because he is ashamed of himself and he wants to save his family money by leaving. He also wants to share the money he makes with them. Jiros mom is angry because she thinks and feels like he is abandoning her. The herarchy tis the main puppeteer, Yoshida, and Mochida, yoshida’s old mentor. This connects with other books because they all take place near the same time.

    • April 23, 2012 7:21 pm

      That’s an interesting point with the fact that they take place around the same time. Of the four books I’ve read for Japan, two of them have been during the Edo period. This does point out an interesting trend in the books that we’re reading. My theory is that these books point to interesting parts of the Japanese culture, mostly the culture and society during feudal Japan.

  7. Nailah permalink
    March 29, 2012 6:50 pm

    Jiro leaves because he thinks that it will save money, he thinks he will be a burden. His mother though in fact gets angry as any mother would because she thinks that he is trying to abandon them. The herarchy of the theatre is the main puppeteer, Yoshida. This connects to the other books because they all explain a point of view. Yes they all take place in Japan but they also all explin the feelings of a character.

  8. Mark Burjek permalink
    April 2, 2012 9:08 pm

    Financial reasons cause Jiro to leave his family. He feels like he’s costing his parents money, and he’s generally in his parents way. His mother, however, feels the opposite. She thinks he is abandoning them, and that he doesn’t appreciate all that his parents have done for them. If I was Jiro, I would feel like poop. The hierarchy at the theatre includes Yoshida, who is the main man (puppeteer), and his former mentor Mochida. Also, Okada is the reciter. This book seems to connect to some of our other books because it it about a young boy trying to solve a problem and/or making the best decisions fro his family, friends, etc.

    • April 23, 2012 7:29 pm

      I think if I was in Jiro’s position, I would have sooner died than have left my family. I would have rather made my father proud by honoring my family and learning my father’s trade.

  9. Nate Zurawski permalink
    April 5, 2012 2:20 pm

    Jiro finally decides to leave his family when he has a realization that he is costing his family money, and that he is causing his parents trouble. When his mother says that he is just abandoning his family and that he doesn’t appreciate all that they do for him. If i were Jiro in this position I would feel worthless and stupid, but I think he is making a good decision. The people of the hierarchy at the theatre are: Yoshida (the main puppeteer), Yoshida’s former mentor Mochida, and Okada who is the reciter of the scripts. This book seems very similar to The Old Man Mad About Drawing and The Big Wave because all of the boys in the books have to make tough decisions.

  10. Blair Tuider permalink
    April 6, 2012 4:35 pm

    Jiro leaves his family because he feels that he is coating them money. Also, he is child that is still alive between his other siblings. Jiro’s mother is angry or upset because she feels that Jiro is abandoning her. With all that Jiro’s family his been through, with him leaving angers his mother. The hierarchy of the theater is Yoshida, the main puppeteer.All the books connect to each other because they all deal with making the correct decision.Troubles and how people over come them.

  11. Austin Stein permalink
    April 9, 2012 2:37 pm

    Jiro leaves his family because he overheard a conversation between his mother and father at night, and from there believes he is a burden to them, being terrible at his fathers skill and just using more and more of his parents money. However, it is his mother that gets upset over this as Jiro is leaving after all that she has sacrificed for him. Irony at it best. Anyways, the hierarchy at the theater goes Yoshida (The Head Puppeteer), Mochida, (Yoshida’s previous mentor), and Okada (The Main Reciter). All the books we have read connect to each other because each has characters facing a impending future they never saw coming to them and making the best out of them (Hiroshima: The 6 and how they faced losing loved ones and dealing with the after-effects of the bomb, Sadiko: Her cancer and how she dealt with it by believing that creating 100 paper-cranes will relinquish her of her sickness, and Jiro: his inability at being a puppeteer in so taking up Yoshida’s offer to be his apprentice.)

  12. Meghan Moreno permalink
    April 9, 2012 8:17 pm

    Jiro wants to leave his family because he is guilty that they have to spend money on him. If he leaves, they will be able to have more money. Jiro’s mom is upset because she thinks her son is just up and leaving her, and abandoning her. The hierarchyof the theater is the main puppeteer, Yoshida. All of the books connect to each other because each deals with problems that are up to them to make the right decision and to take the right path for a good outcome.

  13. Ben Trouvais permalink
    April 11, 2012 5:05 pm

    Jiro leaves his family because he feels bad that they have to spend money on him. He figures with one less mouth to feed, the will be better off. His mom is upset, and angry, because she thinks he is abandoning them. The hierarchy of the thetre includes the main puppeteer, Yoshida, and Mochida, his past mentor. All of the books we have read so far tell about a character who has to undergo change and make big decisions. Most of the books talk about a state of poverty in which the main character lives. Also, there is normally an elder or another person of authority who helps fuel the character’s decisions.

  14. Shane Chetney permalink
    April 17, 2012 8:54 pm

    Jiro leaves because he thinks that it will save money, he thinks he will be a burden. His mother feels the exact opposite though. She thinks he is abandoning them for no reason. The herarchy of the theater is the main puppeter, Yoshida, and the main puppeters past mentor, Monchida. This connects with our other books because many others were about children doing what they thought was best and finding a new adult to teach them by disobeying their family.

  15. DREW BURJEK permalink
    April 22, 2012 12:57 pm

    Jiro wants to leave because he thinks that his family is poor because they are spending too much money on him. Jiro feels guilty about it, and thinks if he leaves to work at the theatre, then he would get money to help his family and he won’t cause his parents trouble. Then, however, irony kicks in and his mother doesn’t want him to leave because of all the sacrafices she had made for him.
    The hierarchy at the theater Yoshida, who is the head puppeteer, Mochida, who is Yoshida’s mentor, and Osada, who is the main reciter. This book connects with the previous books we have read because it is about a character that tried to solve a problem, and an elder takes a major role in the story. The books also seem to take place at relatively the same time.

  16. April 23, 2012 7:15 pm

    Jiro wants to leave his family because of among other reasons, guilt. Without Jiro, his family would have not been so poor. Jiro’s mother views Jiro as just another mouth to feed. But when he leaves she basically views him as a disgrace to the family for not picking up his father’s trade, and leaving without permission. From the bottom up, the hierarchy is the boys, the foot operators, the left-hand operators, and then the chief operator. Kinshi, Itcho, Enzo, and Yoshida lead those groups respectively. This teaching of hierarchy reminds me directly of Bushido, and the teaching of unquestioned submission to authority. This also reminds me of the old man mad about drawing, with the theme of apprenticeship.

  17. Persephone Allee permalink
    May 7, 2012 8:25 pm

    Jiro chose to leave his home so he could provide for his home, what he believes a young man should do. He felt he was being only a nuisance and would be better somewhere else. His mother acted the way she did probably for a few reasons. Whether she was upset her only child was leaving, she would have no more help around the house, or a combination of many things, it influenced her anger.
    The hierarchy at the theatre involves Yoshida (the master puppeteer), Okada (the reader of the scripts), Mochida (the senior left-hand operator), and the rest of the boys that handle the rest of the roles. Each book features the main character, just as many other books, overcoming a major problem in their battles. In Hiroshima, they all must deal with severe emotional and physical trauma from the bombing, in Sadiko, you watch her go through the cancer, and in this book you see Jiro trying to support his family. They all involve some sort of battle that was forced upon them, destruction, disease, and poverty.

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