Translation Works
To Japanese
The 2nd Selected Works
Woman on the Other Shore
(Taigan no kanojo)
ENGLISH / Wayne P. Lammers published
Originally Published by:
Bungeishunju (2004)
(2007) (pb)
  • A work that became popular after it was made into a television drama directed by Hideyuki Hirayama that won kudos both in Japan and overseas
Two women so totally different – in their status, their perspectives, the things they had…everything.
Sayoko is a housewife thinking about putting her 3-year-old daughter in a nursery and finding a job. Stuck at home since giving up her job at a film distribution company when she got married, Sayoko has been applying for all kinds of jobs without being particular, and is a bit depressed at remaining unemployed.
At this point, she is offered a housecleaning job by Aoi, a woman her own age who is president of a recently established company. Although her husband condescendingly says that her job is "so simple that anyone can do it," Sayoko finds it very rewarding and works hard at it, earning Aoi's growing confidence as well as her friendship.
Aoi, meanwhile, has had a scandalous past. She was bullied so much in middle school that she became a chronic truant, but moves to her mother's home town in Gunma for high school. Here she becomes close friends with a classmate called Nanako. During the summer after their second year of high school, Aoi and Nanako get jobs along with room and board at a sea-side inn in Izu. When the period of their employment ends, rather than going back to Gunma as planned, they wander around, staying in love hotels. Then one day, they attempt suicide by jumping off the roof of the condominium Aoi had lived in through middle school. The incident became a widely discussed topic on television and in weekly magazines as an "attempted suicide pact between lesbian high school students."
When her colleagues tell her about Aoi's past, Sayoko doesn't know how to treat Aoi, so she temporarily resigns and returns to the life of a housewife. Later, though, she goes back to Aoi and asks to be rehired.
This masterpiece portrays the easily hurt yet strong bonds of friendship between two women determined to protect the things that are most important in their lives – work and family.
GENRE: Popular fiction
AWARDS: 132nd Naoki Sanjugo Prize
(Given for the most outstanding works of popular fiction)