Category: Bullying

Eto Mori:カラフル (Colourful)

The latest addition to my website is Eto Mori‘s カラフル (Colourful). Our unnamed hero has died but has been informed by his angel guide, Prapura, that he has won the lottery, and will be given another chance by entering the body of someone else. The someone else is Makoto Kobayashi, a fourteen year old boy who has just killed himself. Prapura dishes the dirt on the Kobayashi family – mother, father and older brother – and why Makoto killed himself. We learn Makoto was a loner but a talented artist. Gradually, our hero learns what is going on and struggles with his relationships with his family but also with Hiroka, his first love, and Shoko who seems to be attracted to him. However, if he does not recall the cardinal sin he committed in his previous life – and he struggles to do so – it is all going to end badly. While similar in subject to Mieko Kawakami‘s ヘヴン (Heaven), it is far more whimsical but also very much makes its point about the problems Japanese teenagers face.

Mieko Kawakami: ヘヴン (Heaven)

The latest addition to my website is Mieko Kawakami‘s ヘヴン (Heaven). This story is about bullying but it is no Tom Brown’s School Days. Our unnamed narrator is a fourteen year old boy at the start of the novel. He has a lazy eye, is not particularly bright and not good at sports. He is frequently and viciously bullied by a group of boys, led by a boy who is taller, athletic, very bright and very popular. One day he starts receiving anonymous notes and, eventually, an invitation to meet. Fearing the worst, he goes but finds Kojima, a fellow pupil, who is bullied because she is often scruffy. The two become close, but not too close, allies in their victimhood. However, both Kojima and one of the bullies, whom our narrator challenges, give an unconventional view of he bullying. Kojima sees it primarily as a way to bring the two together and feels they are morally stronger than the bullies. However it is does not end well… Kawakami gives a first-class story with an unconventional look at bullying.

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