Book Recommendations for Japanese Books

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13階段 by 高野和明
tsubasa_en11 wrote in japanesebookrec
Okay, where should I start talking about this awesome, marvellously riveting piece of work? For someone who loves to read any works involving criminal setting, this really hits me in the spot. 13階段 exposed me to the Japanese justice system, particularly over the capital punishment, leaving me strong impact that I had to ponder over what justice really means and if the system really does justice to the victims.

I'll put the synopsis of it here too, in case anyone is interested to pick up this book:

A criminal on death row who lost his memory on the moment of crime. In order to vindicate the criminal, Nangou, a prison officer, paired up with Mikami, a young man with previous conviction for murder, to investigate the case. However, the only clue the criminal could provide was nothing but "stairs" that he managed to call to mind. The limited time until the execution, could the two of them save this innocent man?

I love the way the author described the feelings and thoughts of both leads on the capital punishment and who should be considered as a vicious criminal beyond salvation. The last chapter exposing the truth of murder of Mikami also got me completely rivetted and I had to finish it in one shot. Granted, for readers with clear minds, the novel doesn't have much twists as it appears to have. Being distracted by my own thinking on justice system, though, I was surprised to find how the story unfolds. What I can tell is, after reading this, I'm so gonna be a fan of 高野和明 and if any of you guys have read his other works before, do recommend please!

As usual, I'll leave some sentences from the book that touched me as well as to show its difficulty (and to intrigue some :D).





This book was published in 2001 and was the debut work of 高野和明. Back then I was just a beginner in Japanese language and I didn't even know of this book. I did however watch its movie adaptation in 2003 starring 反町隆史 though. Even before reading this book, the movie left an impressive impact on me and it's now still on my bookshelf as one of my favourite movies. As such, I was surprised to find this book in 2012 when I was at Kinokuniya. It's highly recommended from me if you like to read criminal works with serious food for thought. Granted, though, this book was published in 2001 and the justice system might have changed since then; however, I believe the core and argument in this book would not age ever. :)


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