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  • Published: 14 January 2021
  • ISBN: 9781784704247
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $24.00

Three Tigers, One Mountain

A Journey through the Bitter History and Current Conflicts of China, Korea and Japan

China, Korea and Japan are the neighbours who love to hate each other. 'The next Bill Bryson' (New York Times) travels there to find out why.

'The next Bill Bryson' (New York Times) explores international relations past and present between three East Asian countries – Japan, South Korea and China – in this lively, absorbing travelogue.

‘Two tigers cannot share the same mountain’ Chinese proverb

China, Korea and Japan are the neighbours who love to hate each other. But why?

Europe has forgiven Germany’s war crimes, why can’t Japan’s neighbours do likewise? To what extent do the ongoing state-level disputes about island ownership, war history, controversial shrines and statues, missile systems and military escalation reflect how the people of these countries regard each other? They have so much to gain from amicable relations, so why do they seem to be doing their level best to keep the fires of hatred burning?

The Chinese, Koreans and Japanese are more than neighbours, they are siblings from a Confucian family. They share so much culturally, from this ancient philosophy with its hierarchical, bureaucratic legacy, to rice-growing, art, architecture, chopsticks, and much more which has been passed down from China over millennia. China has modelled much of its recent industrial and economic strategy on Japan’s post-war manufacturing miracle, and adores contemporary Korean popular culture. Yet still East Asia festers with a mutual animosity which frequently threatens to draw the world into a twenty-first-century war.

In his previous international best-seller, The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Michael Booth set out to explore the Scandinavian tribes and what they think of each other. In this new book, which blends popular anthropology, history, politics and travel, the subjects are these Asian tigers that have endured occupation, war and devastation to become among the richest, most developed and powerful societies on Earth.

  • Published: 14 January 2021
  • ISBN: 9781784704247
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $24.00

About the author

Michael Booth

Michael Booth is the author of six books, including the international bestseller, The Almost Nearly Perfect People, winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers award for Book of the Year, and Sushi and Beyond, which won the Guild of Food Writers award.

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Praise for Three Tigers, One Mountain

In this enjoyable and information-packed travelogue…[Booth] is a terrific observer… his chatty style disarms his subjects and entertains the reader. It is a hard act to pull off when dealing with tragedy. His deft, accurate summaries of the contentious history in each place work well.

Michael Sheridan, Sunday Times

Three Tigers, One Mountain is a fine summary of East Asian cultures and conflicts, with a chummy, affable tone and profound interest in its subject… useful, fact-packed and readable.

Mike Cormack, Spectator

In this entertaining travel book…[Booth] becomes our genial host on a tour of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China… It’s a credit to Booth’s skill as a writer that he keeps us both entertained and informed in every chapter.

Jasper Becker, Literary Review

[Booth is] an engaging travel companion. Not only is he serious about his reportage, but he is also a fine descriptive writer… the journey [in Three Tigers, One Mountain] is well worth the ticket.

Christian Tyler, Oldie

Four years after Booth exploded the myth of the Scandi utopia, he enhances his reputation for getting to the truth of societal attitudes with this exploration of why, despite sharing much, the giants of East Asia - China, Japan and Korea - just don't get on.


History and politics are at the heart of Three Tigers, One Mountain, with Michael Booth cannily navigating the endless enmity between China, Korea and Japan.

Tom Hawker, Wanderlust *Book of the Month*

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