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Authors: Haruki Murakami

Underground

BOOK: Underground
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CONTENTS

Map of the Tokyo Subway

PART ONE
UNDERGROUND

Preface

T
OKYO
M
ETROPOLITAN
S
UBWAY
:
    C
HIYODA
L
INE

Kiyoka Izumi:
Nobody was dealing with things calmly

Masaru Yuasa:
I’ve been here since I first joined

Minoru Miyata:
At that point Takahashi was still alive

Toshiaki Toyoda:
I’m not a sarin victim, I’m a survivor

Tomoko Takatsuki:
It’s not even whether or not to take the subway, just to go out walking scares me now

Mitsuteru Izutsu:
The day after the gas attack, I asked my wife for a divorce

Aya Kazaguchi:
Luckily I was dozing off

Hideki Sono:
Everyone loves a scandal

T
OKYO
M
ETROPOLITAN
S
UBWAY
:
    M
ARUNOUCHI
L
INE
(Destination: Ogikubo)

Mitsuo Arima:
I felt like I was watching a program on TV

Kenji Ohashi:
Looking back, it all started because the bus was two minutes early

Soichi Inagawa:
That day and that day only I took the first door

Sumio Nishimura:
If I hadn’t been there, somebody else would have picked up the packets

Koichi Sakata:
I was in pain, yet I still bought my milk as usual

Tatsuo Akashi:
The night before the gas attack, the family was saying over dinner, “My, how lucky we are”

Shizuko Akashi:
“Ii-yu-nii-an
[Disneyland]”

T
OKYO
M
ETROPOLITAN
S
UBWAY
:
    M
ARUNOUCHI
L
INE
(Destination: Ikebukuro)

Shintaro Komada:
“What can that be?” I thought

Ikuko Nakayama:
I knew it was sarin

T
OKYO
M
ETROPOLITAN
S
UBWAY
:
    H
IBIYA
L
INE
(Departing: Naka-meguro)

Hiroshige Sugazaki:
“What if you never see your grandchild’s face?”

Kozo Ishino:
I had some knowledge of sarin

Michael Kennedy:
I kept shouting, “Please, please, please!” in Japanese

Yoko Iizuka:
That kind of fright is something you never forget

T
OKYO
M
ETROPOLITAN
S
UBWAY
:
    H
IBIYA
L
INE
(Departing: Kita-senju; Destination: Naka-meguro)

Noburu Terajima:
I’d borrowed the down payment, and my wife was expecting—it looked pretty bad

Masanori Okuyama:
In a situation like that the emergency services aren’t much help at all

Michiaki Tamada:
Ride the trains every day and you know what’s regular air

T
OKYO
M
ETROPOLITAN
S
UBWAY
: Hibiya Line

Takanori Ichiba:
Some crazy’s probably sprinkled pesticides or something

Naoyuki Ogata:
We’ll never make it. If we wait for the ambulance we’re done for

Michiru Kono:
It’d be pathetic to die like this

Kei’ichi Ishikura:
The day of the gas attack was my sixty-fifth birthday

T
OKYO
M
ETROPOLITAN
S
UBWAY
: K
ODEMMACHO STATION

Ken’ichi Yamazaki:
I saw his face and thought: “I’ve seen this character somewhere”

Yoshiko Wada, widow of Eiji Wada:
He was such a kind person. He seemed to get even kinder before he died

Kichiro
and
Sanae Wada,
parents of
Eiji Wada:
He was an undemanding child

Koichiro Makita:
Sarin! Sarin!

Dr. Toru Saito:
The very first thing that came to mind was poison gas—cyanide or sarin

Dr. Nobuo Yanagisawa:
There is no prompt and efficient system in Japan for dealing with a major catastrophe

B
LIND
N
IGHTMARE
: W
HERE
A
RE
W
E
J
APANESE
G
OING
?

PART TWO
THE PLACE THAT WAS PROMISED

Preface

Hiroyuki Kano:
I’m still in hum

Akio Namimura:
Nostradamus had a great influence on my generation

Mitsuharu Inaba:
Each individual has his own image of the Master

Hajime Masutani:
This was like an experiment using human beings

Miyuki Kanda:
In my previous life I was a man

Shin’ichi Hosoi: “
If I stay here,” I thought, “I’m going to die”

Harumi Iwakura:
Asahara tried to force me to have sex with him

Hidetoshi Takahashi:
No matter how grotesque a figure Asahara appears, I can’t just dismiss him

About the Author

Other Books By This Author

Also By Haruki Murakami

Map of the Tokyo subway showing the lines targeted in the gas attack, Monday March 20, 1995

PART ONE
UNDERGROUND

Preface
*

Leafing through a magazine one afternoon, I found myself looking at the readers’ letters page. I really don’t remember why; I just probably had time on my hands. I rarely ever pick up
Ladies’ Home Journal
or the like, much less read the letters page.

However, one of the letters caught my attention. It was from a woman whose husband had lost his job because of the Tokyo gas attack. A subway commuter, he had been unfortunate enough to be on his way to work in one of the cars in which the sarin gas was released.

He passed out and was taken to hospital. But even after several days’ recuperation, the aftereffects lingered on, and he couldn’t get himself back into the working routine. At first, he was tolerated, but as time went on his boss and colleagues began to make snide remarks. Unable to bear the icy atmosphere any longer, feeling almost forced out, he resigned.

The magazine has since disappeared, so I can’t quote the letter exactly, but that was more or less what it said. As far as I can recall, there was nothing particularly plaintive about it, nor was it an angry rant. If anything, it was barely audible, a grumble under the breath.
“How on earth did this happen to us … ?” she wonders, still unable to accept what had out of the blue befallen her family.

The letter shocked me. Here were people who still carried serious psychological scars. I felt sorry, truly sorry, although I knew that for the couple involved my sympathy was irrelevant. And yet, what else could I do?

Like most people, I’m sure, I simply turned the page with a sigh.

But sometime later I found myself thinking about the letter. That “How on earth … ?” stuck in my head like a big question mark. As if it weren’t enough to be the victim of purely random violence, the man had suffered “secondary victimization” (everyday corporate violence of the most pervasive kind). Why could nobody do anything about it? That’s when I began to piece together a very different picture.

Whatever the reason, his colleagues had singled out this young salaryman—“Hey, there’s the guy from that weird attack”—it couldn’t have made any sense to him. He was probably quite unaware of their “them-and-us” attitude. Appearances were deceptive. He would have considered himself a dyed-in-the-wool Japanese like everyone else.

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