Author: Tomoyuki Hoshino
Specifications: ISBN  978-4087746419
232 pages
13.8 x 18.8 cm / 5.5 x 7.5 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
Tokyo, 2003
Awards: Noma Prize for New Writers, 2003
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In this collection of three novellas, the title story is set in Japan the day before the 2005 general election. Nagata, a politician who started out as a soccer player and is now chairman of the popular Urawa Reds team, has given up his post as governor of Saitama Prefecture to stand for prime minister. Nagata's campaign adviser is Oikawa, a former teammate with experience playing soccer in Europe who also created the A-League?a single league for all of East Asia?by tapping Chinese capital to build football pitches and futsal courts throughout the region. Nagata and Oikawa use the success of the A-League as a platform to appeal to young voters with policies like throwing off American influence and encouraging the free movement of people inside Asia. That day, Oikawa and Nagata visit a futsal court where Ñ, a young woman who works in a sporting goods shop and is an amateur soccer player, is busy practicing. The ball skills of the two political operators blow Ñ and her friends away, and their determination not to vote for Nagata starts to waver. Ñ returns home in a state of excitement only to be subjected to a sermon on the dangers of Nagata's populism by Ryuji, her live-in boyfriend. Her confusion deepens. The next day they decide to split up, with Ryuji moving out and Ñ voting for Nagata. This experimental work takes a sharp look at the dilemmas young people feel today about politics and national identity. The other two stories in the collection are Suna no wakusei (Planet of Sand) and Haiwei suta (Highway Star).