JAPANESE-American author and tapestry artist Leo Orii’s epic novel “Sampaguita and Gold Button” is now available at National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose’s Solidaridad bookshop on Padre Faura St. in Manila.
In the novel, Orii uses his detailed and highly visual mode of storytelling to weave a tale of first love and suffering in a Japanese-occupied Philippines during World War II, and how this love survived the brutal years of Martial Law under the Marcos dictatorship.
A tapestry-maker and painter, Orii melds his mastery of the visual arts to shape the narrative of his story of a romance between a Japanese sailor and a comely young woman from Cebu, juxtaposing the tenderness and innocence of their youthful passion against the fumes and flames of war.
Set in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, and in Sendai and Tokyo in Japan, “Sampaguita and Gold Button” offers a very human, and very rare, look at the Japanese perspective of the grand story of the Great War.
It also offers rare insights of the Martial Law years, as seen from the eyes of a Japanese man living in Manila.