Gail Tsukiyama's The Samurai's Garden is set in 1930s Japan, the theme of war and peace is developed through Character interaction. Characters in the story have very different reactions to the same circumstances. Through the character of Stephen, one can conclude that outside forces do not control a person's life because in life, people can take what has been given to them and do with it what they wish. In other words, life is what you make of it. Even though the war in China is very important to Stephen, he does not let it interfere with his decisions in Tarumi.
Despite his situation, Stephen is able to separate the good from the bad and his experiences benefit him greatly. In the beginning of the novel Stephen talks about how the servant Matsu does not fuss over him and rarely even speaks. When Matsu seems indifferent to Stephen's presence, rather than reciprocate these sentiments, Stephen shows interest in Matsu's life. Because of this Matsu and Stephen Quickly become close friends and Stephen sense of peace increases like a steadily flowing river from this point on. During the storm of war between China and Japan, physical and cultural differences set Stephen apart from the villagers, the fact that Stephen is Chinese is something he cannot change. Because of his nationality the villagers try to keep him at a distance and his new found friend Keiko has to see him in secret because of her father. The more Stephen and Keiko meet, the closer they become, and the more Stephen's sense of peace grows. Being Chinese and living in Japan could have proved to be a problem. As Stephen learns more about Matsu, the Japanese push closer to Hong Kong, but Stephen's optimism about his circumstances makes his experience a pleasant one.
Later on in the story, Matsu decides to take Stephen up to Yamaguchi, the village of the lepers. Stephen is at first nervous about this trip, but loosens when he meets Sachi. Sachi was the best friend of Matsu's sister Tomoko. Ever since...
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