Sashite jūyō de nai ichinichi
[A Day of Little Importance]
Kōdansha (Kōdansha Bungei Bunko), 2012. 272 pp. ¥1,400. ISBN 978-4-06-290155-0.
Also published in: n/a
The protagonist generally only appears as “he,” making it difficult for readers to connect a name to the character. Yet in presenting his personality as a “hardworking and energetic nihilist,” the author offers a fresh representation of the many salarymen who support Japanese society. As “he” frets over the watching eyes of his boss and colleagues, particularly the female employees who scrutinize his every move, he struggles to conceal his faults and frays his nerves in making up for work errors. Ultimately, there are perhaps no essential workers at companies, and he may be no more than an interchangeable cog. But salarymen suppress this knowledge, hounded by the deadlines of the work in front of them.
Although the work was originally published toward the end of the boom days of Japan’s “bubble era,” the way of thinking of people who work for companies remains fundamentally unchanged to this day. It seems to be an element in the construction of Japanese identity. (NK)
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