Book review: 『錦繡』by Teru Miyamoto


Title: 『錦繡』(きんしゅう)
Author: Teru MIYAMOTO 宮本輝
Published by 新潮文庫
270 pages

First published in 1982, 『錦繡』is certainly one of Teru Miyamoto’s most popular novels. It was translated into English by Roger K. Thomas under the title Kinshu: Autumn Brocade, and into French, Le Brocart, by Maria Grey.


『錦繡』 is an epistolary novel (only composed of letters). Aki and Yasuaki were once a married couple. They meet by chance, ten years after their divorce and start to exchange letters.

『錦繡』belongs to these books that I loved so much, it is difficult to talk about them. Apart from “you must read it”, I don’t seem to find anything to say.

I cannot remember the last time a novel affected me so much. I kept thinking about the story and the characters even when I was not reading the book. I identified easily with the characters, and I was emotionally involved in the story right from the beginning. Some letters were so full of emotions, it often took me a while to go back to my real life after I had close the book.

This is a short novel, but there are some long descriptions and almost no dialogues. However, it was not as difficult to read as I expected, and it does not belong to the books that I find challenging in terms of Japanese level. Being able to read『錦繡』in Japanese is extremely rewarding to me. I had a look at the French translation (1994) (you can read the first pages on the publisher’s website), and I personally don’t like how it is written in French. I am glad that I can read Teru Miyamoto in Japanese.

I heartily recommend 『錦繡』, I cannot imagine someone reading and not loving this book. If you are not sure whether your Japanese level allows you to read this novel in Japanese, you could read in parallel: use the English translation to help you understand the text, while still enjoying the original version in Japanese.


  1. It’s such a delight when you encounter books that deeply affect you like this one did, isn’t it? I’ll definitely give this a try after reading your review, as soon as I can get a hold of a copy (shipping from Japan is temporarily banned here..).

    Liked by 1 person


    1. Yes, especially in Japanese! I have mainly read books that were entertaining, but seldom books that got me so emotionally involved. I’m glad to hear that you will read 錦繡! Let’s hope that international shipping and the whole situation will improve soon…

      Liked by 1 person


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