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Risuko Chapter Study Guide

Chapter Study Guide

Risuko, by David Kudler

Chapter 1—“The Left-Hand Path” pp. 5-10

  1. Why does the narrator’s mother call her “Risuko?”
  2. Why is Risuko frightened of the old woman who comes looking for her in the woods?
  3. Who is this old woman and what does she want with Risuko?
  4. The old woman is traveling in a “palanquin”. What is a “palanquin?” You can use the dictionary.

Chapter 2—“Into the Circle” pp.11-16

  1. Why had Risuko’s mother sold her to Lady Chiyome?
  2. Risuko and her captor stop at an inn to give her new clothes and something to eat. There she meets three other children: Toumi, Aimaru, and Emi. What are your first impressions of each?

Chapter 3—“Flying” pp. 17-20

  1. Why does Risuko have such a violent reaction to Toumi?
  2. How does Risuko feel about her violent reaction?
  3. Who are the Little Brothers?

Chapter 4—“The Edge of the World” pp. 21-26

  1. What is the reason for Lady Chiyome’s party’s taking an alternative road?
  2. Who are the two opposing parties at war with each other?

Chapter 5—“The Mt. Fuji Inn” pp. 27-34

  1. How does Toumi once again anger Risuko?
  2. What skills does Lady Chiyome request Risuko to demonstrate?
  3. To what extent is Risuko able to display those skills successfully?
  4. What does Lady Chiyome ask Risuko to draw?

Chapter 6—“Tea and Cakes” pp.35-40

Describe the great battle that ensues and how the Little Brothers and Mieko save the day.

Chapter 7—“Wind” pp.41-44

  1. Why is Risuko disturbed to realize that they’d been saved by the Takeda cavalry?
  2. Who is the single casualty of the day?
  3. What hint do we get of Lady Chiyome’s plans for the three girls?

Chapter 8—“The Mountain” pp. 45-48

  1. Emi says about Mieko,  “I can’t decide if she’s really nice or kind of scary.” What impression do you have of Mieko?
  2. Risuko comes to learn from Lt. Masugo that Lady Chiyome’s intention is to train her to be a miko. What is a miko?

Chapter 9—“Worth” pp.49-52

  1. What special skill does Risuko exhibit to Lt. Masugu?
  2. What important information does Risuko learn about her father from Lt. Masugu?

Chapter 10—“Dark Letter” pp.53-60

  1. How do Risuko and Toumi happen to fall into the hands of bandits?
  2. How does Risuko succeed in warning the rest of the party about the bandits?

Chapter 11—“The Full Moon pp. 61-64

The party finally arrives at their destination, where Lady Chiyome puts the three young people in the care of Fuyudori. What is unusual about Fuyudori?

Chapter 12—“Novices” pp. 65-70

  1. What is a “novice”? Use dictionary.
  2. What is an “initiate?” Use dictionary.
  3. What does Fuyudori reveal to the girls about why they’ve been brought to Mochuzuki?
  4. What kind of work will the three novices be doing under Kee Sun?

Chapter 13—“A Banquet” pp.71-76

  1. What is your impression of Kee Sun? Why?
  2. Why is there an empty seat saved in the place of honor beside Mieko?

Chapter 14—“A Squirrel on the Roof” pp.77-80

  1. What is the meaning of the word “succulent”? Use dictionary.
  2. For what kind of lesson are the girls scheduled the following day?

Chapter 15—“The Music Lesson” pp.81-86

  1. Why does Toumi get bean curds instead of eggs for breakfast?
  2. What instruments do the girls start learning to play at the music lesson?

Chapter 16—“Blades” pp.87-90

  1. How come Emi, the slowest long bean chopper, ends up with the largest finished pile?
  2. What are some of the exercises and activities that begin to occupy the three novices’ days?

Chapter 17—“Moon Time at Mochuzuki” pp.91-96

  1. What is meant by “Moon Time”? How do the women of the court observe it?
  2. What particular incident brings Risuko to tears and how does Lt. Masugu go about comforting her?

Chapter 18—“A Fly” pp. 97-100

  1. For what reason does Fuyudori wake Risuko in the middle of the night?
  2. Why is the mission dangerous?
  3. What does Risuko overhear?

Chapter 19—“In the Web” pp. 101-106

  1. How does Lady Chiyome discern that Risuko is eavesdropping?
  2. Why does Lady Chiyome support the Takeda forces in her hope for a united Japan?
  3. What question does Lady Chiyome leave unanswered for Risuko to solve?

Chapter 20—“Smelly Work” pp. 107-112

  1. What smelly work do the three girls learn to perform?
  2. What enormous task does Kee Sun set before them?

Chapter 21—“Lessons in Dance” pp113-118

  1. In what ways does the dance Mieko teaches differ from other dances?
  2. What is Risuko’s reaction to this dance lesson?

Chapter 22—“Feather Soup” pp.119-122

  1. While the girls have been working in the kitchen, what kind of work has Aimaru been doing?

Chapter 23—“Poppies in Winter” pp. 123-128

What lessons in the use of herb did you find most interesting? Why?

Chapter 24—“Visitors” pp.129-134

  1. On her first climb up the hemlock tree after the long snow, what does Risuko spy from the top?
  2. How does Risuku manage to save Lt. Masugu’s life?

Chapter 25—“To Roost” pp. 135-140

  1. What new task does Lady Chiyome demand of the novices, and how does Risuko react to it?
  2. For what reason does a very angry Lady Chiyome assemble the entire group?

Chapter 26—“Climbing the Walls” pp. 141-144

  1. Trying to track down the source of a strange sound outside, whom does Risuko discover in conversation in the Retreat?
  2. How would you describe the conversation between the two?
  3. What herb does Risuko discover missing in the kitchen?

Chapter 27—“Poppies in Winter” pp. 144-148

  1. What does Risuko dream and what does she learn from it?

Chapter 28—“Broken Dishes” pp. 149-154

  1. What kind of harm has befallen Lt. Masugu?
  2. Whom does Lady Chiyome send to attend to him?

Chapter 29—“Proper Duty” pp. pp. 155-160

  1. What does Risuko discover about the relationship between Mieko and Lt. Masugu?
  2. Of what act do Mieko and Lady Chiyome suspect Risuko?

Chapter 30—“Battle of White and Scarlet” pp. 161-166

  1. What surprising object does Risuko discover in the guest house?
  2. How does Lady Chiyome deduce that Risuko was not the spy who’d been searching her rooms?
  3. What startling news about her father does Lady Chiyome reveal to Risuko?

Chapter 31—“Taking Up the Blade” pp.167-176

  1. Why does Risuko resist taking up the sword?
  2. Why do the sword positions in her first lesson come so naturally to Risuko?

Chapter 32—“Chicken Soup” pp.177-182

  1. On what new mission does Lt. Masugu send Risuko?
  2. What is the cause of the bitter undertaste in the chicken soup?

Chapter 33—“Smoke and Stone” pp.183-188

  1. What effect does the Corydalis have on everyone who ate the chicken soup?
  2. What does Risuko find hidden in the roof chimney?

Chapter 34—“Falling Fast” pp. 189-198

  1. Why has Fuyudori turned on Lady Chiyome and her people?
  2. What does Fuyudori reveal to Risuko about Lt. Masugu’s identity?
  3. How does Risuko escape Fuyudori’s vengeance?

Epilogue—“On the Ground”

  1. What does the prized scroll turn out to reveal to the four young people?

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