Translation Works
The 2nd Selected Works
The Kareki Sea
RUSSIAN / Yura Okamoto published
Originally Published by:
Kawade Shobo Shinsha (1977)
(1980) (pb)
  • A monumental work that has earned the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award and Ministry of Education Art Encouragement Prize
An overwhelmingly stirring portrayal of boiling passions of love and hate among blood relatives
The setting is the Kareki Nada coastal region of Wakayama Prefecture, a desolate area sandwiched between mountains and ocean. The protagonist, Akiyuki, is born out of wedlock and raised here, in an impoverished village populated by the minority group referred to as burakumin.
His mother, Fusa, had four children with her late husband. After giving birth to Akiyuki, she marries Shigezo Takehara and brings only Akiyuki with her to her new home. Left behind, her oldest son, Ikuo, continues to curse the mother who deserted him until he is 24, when he hangs himself. Akiyuki feels that this is his fault.
When he is 26, Akiyuki goes to work as a laborer for a construction company established by his stepfather. Physically straining to move dirt around, Akiyuki feels relief and freedom from his kinship-related conflicts, and he becomes fond of his hard work as a laborer.
It is rumored that his real father, Ryuzo Hamamura, has made a fortune by setting fire to the barracks behind the train station. A giant of a man known as "Lord of the Flies" and held in contempt by locals, Ryuzo has fathered children with two other women besides Fusa, so Akiyuki has several additional half-brothers and half-sisters. He notices that one of these half-brothers, 19-year-old Hideo, has been giving him hostile looks.
Considering Ryuzo the source of all the evil in his life, Akiyuki conceives a hate for the half of his blood that he has inherited from his father. He follows him, thinking that a confrontation with him will help to free himself from the curse of his blood relations. However, on the night of the first obon holiday following the death of his uncle, Akiyuki gives in to a violent impulse and kills his half-brother Hideo.
This monumental work portrays the struggles of blood relatives living in a ghetto and seeks to elucidate conflicted feelings of love and hatred evident in human archetypes.
GENRE: Literary fiction
AWARDS: 31st Mainichi Publishing Culture Award
(Given for published works that have broad-based support among readers and contribute to the uplifting of publishing culture standards)
28th Ministry of Education Art Encouragement Prize
(Given to writers who have established outstanding literary records and pioneered new dimensions of literature)
2018 International Translation Forum on Contemporary Japanese LiteratureJLPP Translation Workshop 2018