Translation Works
To Japanese
The 1st Selected Works
Embracing Family
(Hoyo kazoku)
ENGLISH / Yukiko Tanaka published
FRENCH / Elisabeth Suetsugu published
RUSSIAN / Maria V. Toropygina published
GERMAN / Ralph Degen (The 2nd) published
Originally Published by:
Kodansha (1965)
(1988) (pb)
  • A masterpiece that powerfully portrays Japanese society during the rapid-growth era, which is when the novel was first published
I think it is good for a household to be harmoniously affectionate
University professor Shunsuke Miwa notices that his wife, Tokiko, has been a bit strange recently. Despite her love of neatness and cleanliness, she doesn't notice how lackadaisically their maid Michiyo has been cleaning the house. She simply doesn't do the button sewing he has asked her to do for him. Then Shunsuke learns from Michiyo that his wife had a physical relationship with an American soldier called George.
George is a young American soldier who has been invited to stay at the Miwa home since a month ago in the hope he would befriend their children. Shunsuke is badly shaken by the news of Tokiko's affair with George, and this sets off the collapse of the Miwa household.
Shunsuke makes an effort to somehow repair his relationship with Tokiko. He tries a big housecleaning project with his children, decides to rebuild his house in Tokyo's Setagaya district, and when the relationship repair campaign begins to make headway, Shunsuke one day discovers a lump while caressing his wife's breast. It is breast cancer.
Tokiko has a mastectomy and is soon discharged from the hospital, but it is not long before the cancer recurs and she is sent back to the hospital. Shunsuke makes daily visits to his wife, who is rapidly becoming extremely emaciated, and his determined bed-sitting efforts include all-night vigils when necessary. His efforts are in vain, however, and Tokiko never gets to leave the hospital again before drawing her last breath.
Originally published in 1965, this novel presents a vivid portrayal of Japan during that period in its history, but the soundless collapse of subtle marital and household relationships is surprisingly contemporary. The subject of occasional commentary even today, this book has been widely acclaimed as Nobuo Kojima's masterpiece. It won the Tanizaki Prize a year after its publication.
GENRE: Popular fiction
Awards: 1st Tanizaki Prize
(The Tanizaki Prize: Given to excellent novels and dramas that are representative of the contemporary era.)