Tokyo Ueno Station

Yu Miri


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Tilted Axis Press
22 February 2019
ISBN: 9781911284161

From the publisher

Translated by Morgan Giles

Finalist, the 2020 National Book Awards

Winner, TA First Translation Prize

Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Emperor, Kazu’s life is tied by a series of coincidences to Japan’s Imperial family and to one particular spot in Tokyo; the park near Ueno Station – the same place his unquiet spirit now haunts in death. It is here that Kazu’s life in Tokyo began, as a labourer in the run up to the 1964 Olympics, and later where he ended his days, living in the park’s vast homeless ‘villages’, traumatised by the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and enraged by the announcement of the 2020 Olympics.

Akutagawa-award-winning author Yu Miri uses her outsider’s perspective as a Zainichi (Korean-Japanese) writer to craft a novel of utmost importance to this moment, a powerful rebuke to the Imperial system and a sensitive, deeply felt depiction of the lives of Japan’s most vulnerable people.

‘Deftly translated by Morgan Giles, the novel most effectively conveys its concerns through dense layers of narrative, through ambiguity rather than specific fates. It is an urgent reminder of the radical divide between rich and poor in postwar Japan.’ — Lauren Elkin, The Guardian

‘Yu Miri writes about marginal people with deep understanding and sensitivity, using the location of Ueno Park to challenge the hypocrisies of a society that purports to cherish hospitality, kindness and cooperation. Her writing — laconic, strange, haunting and beautifully preserved in this translation by Morgan Giles — is exceptional.’ — Claire Kohda Hazelton, The Spectator

‘Though set in Japan, “Tokyo Ueno Station” is a novel of the world we all share — not what we expect from a ghost story but frightening all the same.’ — Rumaan Alam, Washington Post