"Moe Yo Ken" -- the samurai epic chronicling the life of Hijikata Toshizou, the Vice-Captain of the Shinsengumi in the last days of the Tokugawa Period.
This book is full of romance, epic duels, and lots of history concerning the Bakumatsu, so if any of that is of interest to you, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Also, this book does not pull its punches, so be prepared for a darker, grittier Japan than you might be used to. Here's a sample from the first chapter:
As he made his way out of the main town, an acquaintance called out to him from the fields.
"Hey, Toshi, where are you going?"
He didn't answer, though.
It's not like he could say that he was going to rape a woman.
Tonight was the Rokusha Myoujin Ceremony. In more colloquial terms, it was known as the Darkness Festival.
Toshizou's mission tonight was to take advantage of the darkness during the festival and sneak in. There, he would strip off the kimono of one of the girls visiting the shrine, push her down, and violate her. Then, he would take off his own yukata and lay it across the grass, moist with evening dew, to keep the woman from getting wet as she slept. The reason he was wearing a judo gi was for preparation in case a fight broke out between any male companions.
Toshizou wasn't the only criminal.
That was the nature of the festival.
The story is located here: "http://moeyoken.blogspot.com
Hope you enjoy the story. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.