Translation Works
To Japanese
The 1st Selected Works
The Hundred-Yen Singer
(Hyakuen shinga gokuraku tenshi)
ENGLISH / Tom Gill published
RUSSIAN / Tatiana Redko published
Originally Published by:
Kawade Shobo Shinsha (1997)
(2001) (pb)
  • A wild-yet-pure world that could only be portrayed by someone like the author, with her background as a cartoonist, hostess, and enka singer
Surviving the vicissitudes of a stormy, dramatic life filled with conflict between dreams and reality
Rinka Kazuki is an itinerate singer of enka traditional Japanese ballads. Together with the other members of her production team—the Kenjiro & David duo—she travels throughout Japan to sing at rural health centers, cabarets, bars, and other venues. They present two shows a day for just ¥18,000. Her booking office is able to arrange gigs only four or five times a month. Appearance fees combined with tips from customers are barely enough to survive. Rinka and her partners make light of their poorly paid profession by calling themselves hundred-yen singers.
One day they cannot get in touch with the president of their booking agency. Rinka and her partners hurry to the office and find that the president has fled, leaving cheap hand towels used for marketing promotions in place of their appearance fees. Their touring schedule had already been arranged several months earlier but, without appearance fees, Rinka's group will have to survive on tips alone during this tour.
After their booking agency goes bankrupt, Rinka and Kenjiro find different new agencies to represent them. The monthly number of Rinka's bookings is small, but she is getting good at performing and continues taking life one day at a time. Some people recommend other kinds of work, but Rinka likes singing, and she likes the feeling she gets when the spotlight is focused on her alone and the cells throughout her body spontaneously begin wriggling. Sometimes she gets carried away by her sweet dreams and is deceived, but she thinks this kind of life is not so bad.
This is an autobiographical novel portraying the author's infatuation with music and permeation with popular culture along with her previous down-and-out lifestyle.
GENRE: Autobiographical fiction