Monday 25 September 2017 6:45pm

The Swedenborg Society
20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St)
London WC1A 2TH

For a PDF map of the venue please click here

Free – booking recommended
Book here

One of the regulars of the legendary alternative manga monthly Garo in the magazine’s heyday of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Susumu Katsumata (1943-2007) has the curious distinction of having risen within the world of political cartooning and literary comics while studying toward a graduate degree in nuclear physics in Tokyo.

While best known for his stories about life and myth in the Japanese countryside, Katsumata also drew frequently about political and social issues since the mid 1960s, including numerous satirical strips about nuclear arms and the influence of big science within Japanese universities. After the anti-nuclear power movement gelled in Japan in the late 70s, Katsumata began illustrating critical science books about the history and dangers of nuclear power. He also drew frequent humor strips on related topics, as well as moving stories about the “nuclear gypsies” who maintained Japan’s nuclear plants under oppressive work conditions.

This talk will survey Katsumata’s work on the subject of nuclear power, which is the largest, most diverse, and most trenchant such oeuvre in Japanese visual art prior to the 2011 meltdowns in Fukushima. The talk will serve as a preview of two forthcoming publications, a collection of Katsumata’s manga titled Fukushima Devil Fish (SISJAC and Breakdown Press) and a history of antinuclear thought, protest, and cartooning in Japan around Katsumata’s career, titled No Nukes for Dinner: How One Japanese Cartoonist and His Country Learned to Distrust the Atom (publisher TBD).

Ryan Holmberg is an Academic Associate of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Culture. As a freelance art historian and critic, he is a frequent contributor to The Comics Journal, Artforum International, and Art in America. As an editor and translator of manga, he has worked with Breakdown Press, Drawn & Quarterly, Retrofit Comics, PictureBox Inc, and New York Review Comics. He is also the author of Garo Manga: The First Decade, 1964–1973 (Center for Book Arts, 2010) and No Nukes for Dinner: How One Japanese Cartoonist and His Country Learned to Distrust the Atom (forthcoming).

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk.

In association with:

sisjac-75

 

 

Saturday 23 September 2017    7:00 for 7:30pm

The Horse Hospital
Colonnade, Bloomsbury
London WC1N 1JD

£15 advance ticket
£18 on the door (Please note that only cash will be accepted on the day)

Book here
Advance booking deadline: Wednesday 20 September 2017

Japanese folklore and literature take to the stage in a one-time performance of Ayakashi, a double bill of ghost storytelling and staged reading, specially picked to match the dungeon-like beauty of The Horse Hospital in Russell Square. In collaboration with theatre company Doubtful Sound, the Japan Society is pleased to present this unique show in which actors from London and Tokyo collaborate in adapting and reading Japanese modern stories and traditional legends on stage.

The evening will start with storytelling of Japanese folktales from Yamagata and Ishikawa. Doubtful Sound has chosen some of the darker tales from their repertoire for this event. Growing private parts, snake wives, dancing necromantic cats, and ‘the woman who wouldn’t eat’ all feature in these tales from rural Japan. Japanese folk songs performed by SOAS Minyo Group will animate the stories.

Following the storytelling, Japanese actress Kisato Nishi will perform a staged reading of Natsume Soseki’s The Tower of London. The story combines Natsume’s real observations of the Tower of London while he was living here in the early 1900s with fictional visions the tower conjured up.

The show runs approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, including one 15 minute interval. Language: English & Japanese (with English subtitles).

Players:
Shinako Wakatsuki
Kisato Nishi
Gavin Harrington-Odedra
Katie Turner
Andrew Wakatsuki-Robinson

Doubtful Sound is a bilingual theatre company from Tokyo, now based in London. They create theatre works inspired by traditional Japanese stories and folktales from around Japan. For their main work, Yama – Tales of Shonai, Doubtful Sound worked closely with the Poet, Hiroshi Hatakeyama to turn the folk-tales he had collected during the 1960s and 70s from the Shonai area of Japan into a production for the stage. After their research and performances in Tohoku, Doubtful Sound has performed bilingual versions Yama – Tales of Shonai in Tokyo, London and Surrey, and will be curating a new event in Stockholm in April, 2018.

Kisato Nishi studied at the Faculty of Letters Gakushuin University, graduating with an MA in Cultural Studies on Corporeal and Visual Representation. She currently works at the Drama Studio of the New National Theatre in Tokyo. She has produced a number of staged reading performances at Nerima City Public Library, and often works as a dramaturg and translator for theatre groups in Tokyo.

Shinako Wakatsuki is an actress and co-founder of Doubtful Sound, working with both the Tokyo and London troupes. She trained in Nihon-buyo from the age of three, and graduated from Royal Holloway with an MA in theatre studies. She has performed Beckett’s Rockaby at the Dublin Fringe Festival and the Thission Theatre in Athens; Ionesco’s The Lesson, and Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love in Tokyo; and was an actor in Madame Butterfly at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007, 2011, and 2015. She has worked on and off with Kisato Nishi for years; starting by translating into Japanese, and performing Phaedra’s Love together, and later collaborating in Nishi’s staged readings in Tokyo.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk.

In association with: Doubtful Sound

 

record-of-a-night-too-brief

Record of a Night Too Brief 
by Kawakami Hiromi
Pushkin Press (2017)
ISBN: 9781782272717

Review by Harry Martin

Kawakami Hiromi’s writing is well known for its original and detailed descriptions of everyday life portrayed with splendid artistry and trade-mark, off-beat style in her most famous novels, The Nakano Thrift Shop and Strange Weather in Tokyo. Her fascinating explorations of secret lives and relationships and the often nocturnal and crepuscular activities of her characters capture the imagination and draw readers into a world unique to Kawakami’s work. Record of a Night Too Brief is a late addition to her translated works, having only been released to the English speaking world in 2017 despite its Japanese publication in 1996, over 20 years ago! Originally released under the Japanese title Hebi wo fumu (A Snake Stepped On), the book incorporates three short stories of an abstract and surreal nature which the translator Lucy North has managed to capture in this well thought-out and ambitious translation.

The three stories are distinctly different from one another but follow a unifying theme of yearning, desire and longing in the minds of young women in three very different states. The first story (Record of a Night Too Brief) is a surreal, complex journey through the dreams and subconscious thoughts of a young woman who follows a mysterious and ethereal being through interwoven dream worlds where animals talk and objects and people have no defined mass or state. The delicate textured prose transfers the reader from dream to dream with seemingly no relevance or connection between them other than the driving force of the protagonist’s lust and desire. The second story (Missing) explores the complex emotions and effects of grief, focusing on a sister’s desire to see her lost brother again; and the third (A Snake Stepped On) is a profoundly unique story of a girl’s relationship with a shape-shifting snake who infiltrates her life, incorporating an almost biblical theme of temptation and enticement.

Fans of Kawakami’s other works may find these stories somewhat removed from her more familiar focus on the everyday and often mundane aspects of suburban life, as these seem to draw much more heavily on traditional Japanese folklore, mythology and superstition. The notion of shape-shifting is very prominent in Japanese myths, as is the personification of animals and natural objects which play recurring and important roles in this work. In all three stories transformation, whether from human to animal, physical to abstract or large to small, features heavily and contributes largely to the intangible nature and dreamlike feel of the book.

A Snake Stepped On seems the most traditional and endemic in its inspiration, as snakes adopting female form is a widespread mythology through much of Japan; however, its setting in a contemporary Tokyo context creates a delightfully anachronistic aspect and contrast. Missing adopts a far more universal theme and can perhaps relate to a wider audience as it covers grief and longing in a way which transcends cultural boundaries. The loss associated with the change in human state from physical to spiritual may be universal, but Kawakami still manages to infuse a uniquely Japanese slant by setting the sense of loss among the complex negotiations of traditional wedding arrangements between families. The first story is perhaps unique in this theme, as there is a multitude of shapeshifting beings which seem to have been drawn from Japanese mythology yet also Kawakami’s own imagination. There is something almost Alice in Wonderland-like about the abstract and disjoined fantasy and anthropomorphism of horses, moles and monkeys.

In some ways this is a typical Kawakami work, with the expected eccentricities any fan is likely to enjoy; but in other ways the work stands apart from her others, and with characters continuously changing form, shape and size, this is a truly fantastical story which requires thorough reading, yet rewards with rich imagery that will challenge anyone’s powers of imagination.

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I Want to Kick You in the Back 
by Wataya Risa
One Peace Books (2015)
ISBN: 978-1-935548-88-1

Review by Eluned Gramich

‘We were leftovers,’ says Hasegawa Hatsumi of her and her enigmatic friend, Ninagawa Satoshi. ‘Every time our classmates laughed, we grew another year older.’

Written by a nineteen year old student while she was still at university, the bestselling I Want to Kick You in the Back is a slim, deceptively simple tale about teenage life and love. It won Wataya Risa the biannual Akutagawa Prize in 2003, making her the youngest ever recipient of Japan’s most prestigious literary award. Skilfully translated by Julianne Neville, this is the first time Wataya has been made available to an English-speaking readership, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

That the author was so young when she wrote this novel comes as no surprise. The story follows a young girl, Hatsumi, as she moves into Middle School and struggles to adjust to her new environment. She knows nobody apart from her best friend, who has found a new friendship group that Hatsumi doesn’t approve of. As a result, she spends her lunchtimes on her own, avoiding other people and complaining about her life. A boy in her science class, the quiet Satoshi, also chooses to avoid socialising with his fellow classmates. They become friends and Hatsumi finds out that he is a super fan of the teen idol, Oli-chan. Very soon, Hatsumi gets sucked up into Satoshi’s fantasy world, his lust and obsession for an unattainable celebrity girl who pretends to be younger than she is. Hatsumi puts it this way: ‘She (Oli-chan) was an intrinsically young person, a person good at being young. And then there was me, actually young but terrible at it.’ Hatsumi’s tone is intimate, natural and entirely believable as Wataya succeeds in capturing the mixture of insecurity, defensiveness and put-on bluster of a thirteen year old.

The type of the ‘creepy’ super-fan is not new to Japan and perhaps partly explains why the novel did so well with readers there. It taps into the contemporary “fandom” phenomenon, famously typified by the legions of male fans who follow the teen pop group AKB48. In Japan, unlike in the UK, this is the terrain of (usually single) men. Wataya approaches this subculture, not by trying to speak from a male standpoint, but by using Hatsumi to voice the confusion and worries that readers might share. Like many women, she fails to understand why Satoshi is more interested in a distant celebrity model than in the living, breathing girl sitting beside him.

The obsession for teen idols embodies so much of what it means to be young: the desire for a role model, the need for guidance and instruction. It’s a place where you can put all your feelings: desire, love, loneliness, lust. More than anything the novel is about sexual awakening. This is somewhat hidden at first by the misleadingly innocent and child-like language and setting. Far from being part of a teenage tantrum, Hatsumi’s desire to kick Satoshi in the back is bound up with the intensity of his sexual fixation on Oli-chan. It unleashes her ‘violent desires… inspired by a feeling stronger than mere love or affection.’ At one point, Hatsumi discovers something shocking, stomach-churning, locked away in Satoshi’s ‘fan’ box: this discovery hails the start of a new kind of longing in her. Even her female friendships begin to glow with sexual tension, because for her, a girl on the verge of becoming a woman, everything is lit up with a new energy she barely understands.

This short novel is the sort of book you can read in one sitting: the sort of book which sends you into another world, another person’s life, for however brief a time, and does not let you go afterwards. The first person voice is seductive through its honesty and strength. In the intersection of violence, obsession, and sex, Wataya has caught the whirring-headed confusion of two teenagers who have a lot yet to learn.

 


Horses horses cover

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure
by Furukawa Hideo
Columbia University Press (2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0231178693

Review by Alice French

In declaring Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure to be ‘a tale that begins with Fukushima’, Furukawa Hideo sets himself a mammoth task. How to do such a defining event in modern Japanese history justice in just 140 pages? Furukawa certainly seems aware of the enormity of the challenge, and remains until the end torn between tackling it with fact or with fiction. Whether the responsibility is a privilege or a burden, the multi-prize winning author does not take it lightly, putting, as he writes, his ‘integrity’ on the line in this attempt to provide some sort of closure (‘definitive salvation’ in the book) not only for himself (he was born in Fukushima) but also for an entire nation in mourning and to keep the disaster alive in people’s memories.

Horses, Horses was first published in the Shinchō journal in July 2011, and therefore can be read as an almost immediate autobiographical response to the 3.11 tragedy. As a Fukushima native whose farming family were in the Tōhoku region at the time of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the disaster had a personal as well as national significance for Furukawa. He was on business in Tokyo at the time and so could only watch events unfold from afar along with the rest of the population, distancing him from the reality of the destruction. This part-novel, part-essay follows his trip to the disaster zone and provides a ‘real-time’ account of his reaction to the devastation. In an attempt to express the inexpressible, Furukawa defines this period as ‘spirited away time’, conveying his struggle with the overwhelming mixture of emotions through his jumps between past and present, fact and fiction and first and third person. There is no doubt that his writing style is difficult to follow at first, in fact it remains perplexing until the final line, however in time it reveals itself to be nothing short of brilliant.

Furukawa is known for playing with genre in his novels, however Horses, Horses does not read as though it is deliberately experimental; rather it unfolds as a natural train of thought. Furukawa interrupts himself with memories and side notes and gets distracted from the main narrative by an apparent urge to put everything into wider historical perspective. As a result, the novel is studded with discerning and very quotable, if sweeping, lines such as ‘our history, the history of the Japanese, is nothing more than a history of killing people.’ At the risk of sounding clichéd, Furukawa truly does give his reader a glimpse into the inner workings of his thoughts as he attempts to come to terms with the obliteration of his hometown. With wonderful irony, the confusing narrative makes the narrator’s cocktail of emotions (guilt, grief, disbelief) crystal clear. At times, Furukawa is reluctant to address the issue of 3.11 directly, focusing on the effects it has had on the region’s wildlife rather than discussing the human impact. He even resorts to writing about the writing of novels in order to avoid the task of writing a novel about Fukushima. The text is full of such riddles and nods to metafiction, the elegance and eloquence of which must partly be attributed to Doug Slaymaker’s translation.

Overall, Horses, Horses, in the end the Light Remains Pure is an emotional, historical and, above all, literary triumph that really must be experienced first-hand. Although Furukawa himself recognises his inability to provide any sense of closure for the victims of 3.11 (he admits in the last line that ‘at this point my essay ends, and begins’), his prose should not be viewed as anything less than a masterpiece. In fact, it would not be hyperbolic to say that, in these 140 pages, Furukawa is able to convey comprehensibly the immediate emotional reaction of Japan just weeks after it experienced the most powerful earthquake in the nation’s history. Therefore, if you have the patience for the rather jumbled narrative, this is an absolute must-read.

 


Tokyo Decadence: 15 Stories
by Murakami Ryū
Translated by Ralph McCarthy

Kurodahan Press (2016)
ISBN-10: 4902075784

Review by Chris Corker

There was a time when writing about sex was a taboo, authors treading the line with innuendo-laden prose about as adept at concealment as Adam and Eve’s fig leaves. Nowadays, everyone’s aunty has read Fifty Shades of Grey and, to their younger relations’ horror, finds it a bit dull. The boundaries have been well and truly pushed, for better or worse, and what we are left with is a society that is as desensitised to sex as it is to violence. In fact, the recent success of a certain book-come television series goes to show that a little titillation and dismemberment can be just what the sales doctor ordered.

Of course, it goes without saying that between the period of suggestive whispers and the current ‘it’s nothing I haven’t seen before’ generation, there was a transitional phase. Even when the envelope seems to be pushing itself, on closer scrutiny there are a group of disgruntled, disenfranchised individuals urging it forward with all their might, if only to see what might happen. We tend to call these individuals pioneers, and there is no doubt that Murakami Ryū was one such man. In a conservative 1970s Japanese society that didn’t always see much merit in deviating from the norm, it was inevitable that characters like Murakami and indeed director Miike Takeshi, who filmed Murakami’s novel Audition, would spring up like weeds through Japan’s finely-raked rock garden, bringing with them an extreme approach poised to challenge preconceptions and cause disharmony.

A rebellious youth, Murakami was placed under a three-month house arrest for barricading the roof of his high-school, before later dropping out of college to focus on his rock band and 8-millimeter film making. Many of his books are heavily-autobiographical, dealing with drug-use, a rejection of the establishment and the cultural abrasions caused by US military bases. His first novel, Almost Transparent Blue, an account of a vicious cycle of sex, drugs and rock, was first published in 1972, when Murakami was still at university. It went on to the win the Akutagawa Award, Japan’s most prestigious literary prize. It is telling that while critics accused the author of decadence and condemned his work, others hailed the book as a stylistic revelation. Murakami had been moulded by the times, and was supported by a strong counter-culture current. Being a man of the times, however, can be a double-edged sword. The question that formed in my mind as I began reading Tokyo Decadence’s collection of short stories was whether Murakami Ryū was still relevant in an age for which the original revolution is a distant speck on the horizon.

After reading the first stories of this collection, connected by topics of prostitution and unusual sexual proclivities, my initial conclusion was that their intention was simply to shock. From a trucker that enjoys self-emasculation and dressing up as a woman to the lurid details of a prostitute’s clients, Murakami seems at pains to lay everything out, warts and all. In fact, given his cross-oeuvre penchant especially for sex and the sex trade, some of the stories can feel a little familiar. There’s something to be said for linking stories through a theme, but when synergy becomes repetition, it’s clearly a detractor.

Throughout the book there are moments when it feels as if the author has gone out of his way to be extreme, only to then lose a little bit of the gritty realism that is his domain. (‘In eighteen months Kimiko had aborted three pregnancies, slashed her wrists twice, had sex with countless black GIs, and got herself arrested twice and rushed to hospital with heart failure once.’). You feel that the desire to shock is always at the forefront of the author’s mind. There is sexual mutilation reminiscent of American Psycho; one character tries to recall a quip about a dead baby, while another opines that ‘people who suffer all the time shouldn’t be allowed to live.’ But the question here must be whether or not a sustained current of the extreme doesn’t lessen the impact. Often the most shocking elements of story-telling are nestled between soft, fluffy pillows of serenity or cool understatement.

Comparisons with his namesake, Murakami Haruki, are unavoidable given their joint prominence in Japanese literature. Beyond this, there are also further similarities of topic. Both authors deal frankly with sex, write extensively about jazz and seem equally obsessed with baseball. Even their favoured backdrops have a habit of overlapping, most conversations taking place in either run-down or swanky bars in Shinjuku, and other central Tokyo locations. And while Murakami Haruki’s forte is, to borrow the title of Jay Rubin’s book, ‘the music of words’, where the humdrum is elevated to something beautiful, Murakami Ryū is more of a pragmatist, preferring to slap you around the face with the soiled condom of truth than romanticise. Whether admirably truthful or tactless, that’s just the way he writes. Although, it is hard not to cringe at lines like: ‘…penetrated my frazzled brain and body like a vibrator.’ And cringe I did at other lines suitable for a man who at times thinks he is far more hip and daring than he now appears.

The second half is stronger. Yes, it deals with sex but also with human relationships beyond the bedroom. Written later in Murakami’s career, these stories feature the autobiographical elements of working in the film industry and the author’s passion for Cuban music. Three stories in particular, each featuring the recurring character of Meiko Akagawa, stand out from the rest with their tragically flawed characters searching fruitlessly for their dreams. Also evident here is the unique ennui born of living in one of the most technologically advanced and comfortable countries in the world.

‘In this country it’s taboo even to think about looking for something more in life [...] something significant is missing, and that’s something Japan never had.’

This extract is from the strongest piece, ‘Historia de un Amor’, a story about the fluxing vividness of life, and one that considers whether being first-world necessarily means being first-rate. Murakami’s descriptions of Cuban music are also most prevalent here, and his love for the genre radiates from the page.

So my question from earlier still stands: Is Murakami still relevant for readers in our desensitised age? Is an author, whose modus operandi is to shock, but no longer has the power to do so, still serving a purpose? Like a politician I will answer these with a few questions of my own. Are you a fan of what is often termed ‘Asia Extreme’? Are you keen to see the – sometimes exaggerated – darker side of Japanese life, hidden beneath Hokusai postcards and pictures of monkeys in hot springs? Are you willing to forego some pretty shameless attempts to shock in order to discover the finer points of a clearly talented author? If you answered yes to these questions, you will find plenty to like in this collection, and perhaps we can allow the revolutionary to reign for a little longer, before he too is dethroned by another.

 

Six Four
by Yokoyama Hideo, translated by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies
Quercus (2016)
640 pages

ISBN 978-1848665255

Review by Charlotte Goff

That the film adaptation of Yokoyama Hideo’s Six Four is to be released in two parts gives us some idea of its size – ‘bulletproof’ is one way that I’ve heard the eighty-one-chapter thriller described. Not trusting cinema-goers’ ability to recall the enormous cast and intricate plot, parts one and two will be screened in Japanese cinemas just a month apart. Six Four requires commitment. While fiction two-timers and commitment-phobes will likely end up confused and disappointed trying to recall just who was Arakida, and what exactly was his relation to Akama, or Akikawa, the dedicated reader will be rewarded with a plot that is gripping, fast-moving and with a twist which, true to the blurb’s promise, ‘no reader could predict’.

January 1989 saw Japan move from the Shōwa to the Heisei era, as Crown Prince Akihito succeeded his father as Emperor. It is in the closing days of Shōwa that the novel’s first victim, seven-year-old Amamiya Shoko, was kidnapped and killed. The ascension of a new Emperor should have been a cause for celebrations across Japan but it instead underlined the failure of the police force in ‘Prefecture D’ to find the murderer; national newspapers which rejoiced the new Emperor poured criticism on the bungled investigation in equal measure. Police officers gave the case the code name ‘Six Four’ – a promise that the killer, despite ‘disappearing into Heisei’, would be dragged back to account for crimes committed in the sixty-fourth and final year of Shōwa.

Fourteen years have passed since the kidnapping, and Mikami Yoshinobu is surprised to hear the case’s secret code name spoken again. Once a detective on the original Six Four team, Mikami has since found himself reassigned as Press Director of the police’s Media Relations wing. He spends much time wrangling with his conscience: do his true loyalties lie in the criminal investigations department where he trained, or the administrative department in which he now finds himself? He struggles, too, with the sudden disappearance of his own teenage daughter and the silent phone calls that follow.

Mikami’s conflicting loyalties lead him to act part-detective, sniffing around for clues to the mysterious Six Four ‘Koda memo’ and shadowing his colleague and former kendo club rival Futawatari, while striving to maintain relations with the local reporters. Fighting the police’s tight-lipped attitude towards information, an increasingly agitated Press Club begin to question police accountability: if all the case information you give us is anonymous, how can we be sure that ‘Person A’ even exists?

Almost as absorbing as the plot itself is the window that Yokoyama (who worked as an investigative journalist for 12 years before beginning as a crime writer) opens onto the workings of the Japanese police force. It is overwhelmingly men that populate both the police departments of Yokoyama’s fiction and their real-life counterparts; Six Four was published in Japanese in 2013, just one year after the National Police Agency’s 2012 White Paper on Crime pledged to raise the proportion of women in the force from 6.8% to 10% by 2023. We see Mikumo, the one female member of Mikami’s staff, struggle to make a meaningful contribution to the department. Much of this world of work takes place outside the office, in bars and karaoke booths, and Mikumo is at one point ‘commanded’ to stay at home. Following Mikumo’s travails, (‘She’s just here to lighten the mood a little’, says one colleague) was one of the book’s frustrations and, later, pleasures.

The first of crime writer Yokoyama Hideo’s works to be translated into English, Six Four is his sixth novel and the second to secure top spot in Japan’s ‘Kono Mystery ga Sugoi!’ annual ranking of the country’s best crime fiction. In just six days after its release, over a million Japanese people bought the Japanese original. Not knowing this before reading it, I came to the novel with just two thoughts about it. The first, ‘It’s huge’ remains true. The second, ‘This will take a while’ was, happily, wrong. It is a testament to Yokoyama’s storytelling that (accounts of Shoko’s kidnapping aside) a book which uses over 600 pages to recount seven days’ events at no point felt slow. The plot and its flawed (and therefore all-the-more-likeable) protagonist gave the book an addictive quality. I could have read more. In the meantime, Japanese speakers can look forward to the film. The less said about the cheesy NHK dramatization the better.

 
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