Tokyo Ueno Station - Yu, Miri,1968-author.

Jacket Image
4th Mar 2019
Tilted Axis Press
192 x 176 x 9mm

Kazu is dead. Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Emperor, his life is tied by a series of coincidences to the Imperial family and has been shaped at every turn by modern Japanese history. But his life story is also marked by bad luck, and now, in death, he is unable to rest easily, haunting the park near Ueno Station. It is here that Kazu's life in Tokyo began and ended, having arrived there to work a labourer in the run up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics before ending his days living in the vast homeless 'villages' in the park, traumatised by the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and enraged by the announcement of the 2020 Olympics. As a work of post-tsunami literature and a protest against the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, this novel is of utmost importance to this moment, a powerful rebuke to the Imperial system and a sensitive, deeply felt depiction of the lives of Japan's most vulnerable people.

A Japanese author of Korean descent, Yu Miri is the winner of Japan's most prestigious literary prize, the Akutagawa, and several of her novels have been bestsellers - as has her multivolume autobiography, of her colourful life running away from school to join a theatre troupe and falling in love with its much older director. Writing openly about the discrimination received by her ethnic Korean community, though, has also meant criticism and even death threats from ultra-conservative Japanese. After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, she relocated to Fukushima, the site of the disaster, where she currently hosts a radio show interviewing survivors.