半落ち Reading Club

Finished week 2!

I also found that evidence really weak? He could have just passed by 歌舞伎町 and some 客引き gave him the tissues. Just because you carry tissues with an ad to a 個室ビデオ place doesn’t mean you go there regularly… and to instantly assume that 梶 has suppressed views about sex was a bit too sudden for me. Although I found the general analysis interesting in that part.

They specifically mentioned that at 20, he would have his 成人式, a pretty formal event in Japan (once a year in January) to celebrate adulthood. It has now been renamed to 二十歳の集い because obviously as of recently the 成人式 does not coincide with becoming a 成人 anymore.
梶 also mentioned that his wife would have loved to take pictures of her son at his 成人式, so
here are some impressions:




Just finished week 3 - and with that chapter 1.

I’d been looking forward to finally finishing the first chapter after so long. :sweat_smile:

The tension is still there, even with everything going not as planned for anyone, really. That scene in the 取調室 with 梶 begging to leave it at that at the end… Wow. And 志木 getting emotional was really nicely done imo.

It feels like things are moving at a pretty organic pace, with no thought given to making the plot nice and sequential for the reader. I like that! No stopping to give closure for anything.

I have no idea how things are going to keep moving from here, which is a nice change of pace. The only thing I’m sure of is that that was no 完落ち, and we will be seeing more of 梶.


Very good first chapter. I wish I had read it in one go, because from one week to the next I would forget who was who - and while the character list helps, I didn’t always remember the personal relationships between everyone.

That’s for sure! I wonder, when he talked about 完落ち at that moment, did he really believe it?

I have some questions though. I don’t really get why the press would go so crazy over those two days. As if a high ranking police officer committing murder wasn’t news enough. Nor do I get why the police absolutely had to give satisfactory answers to that question to the press in the first hours of the investigation. Shouldn’t a “this is still under investigation” suffice? And a possibly more important question: There are only handwritten notes during the interrogation? No voice records? You can just tear up the notes and change the testimony?

I’m also not sure whether 志木 was about to be dismissed from the case, of from the force altogether. I think 梶’s heartfelt “confession” at the end saved him, but he still was dismissed from the case? Maybe just because it now goes to the prosecutor? In any case, what a tense scene that was! You could feel the tension in the room, and read everyone’s thoughts in tiny gestures. 志木’s internal battle was something to behold.

And of course our protagonist’s personal life is not rosy either. What was that about his wife never speaking to him? Does she resent him? Is there something wrong with her? And his father destroying his mother’s book and his private shelter when he was a child - that was brutal.


I think I missed that part. The only reference I noted to this wife was the line about how she decides his dinner while watching the evening news. She gave him a whole fish(!) because the arrest of the pedophile didn’t go well.


Was it his shed though? It was called 農具入れの小屋はバラバラに壊されていた so a shed of farm tools. It also didn’t seem clear to me that it was his mother’s book, although he did tell 志木 to ‘be nice to his mother’. The scene read more to me like the father might be planning suicide / leaving them somehow, if anything, but it felt very purposefully left open to interpretation.

This reading was a bit more challenging for me than the last one, so more notes than before:



Was the medicine(?) that effective? He was nervous (cautious) from the sound of his footsteps entering to the sound of his racing pen

考えあぐねていた — to be at a loss


Deciding the ‘falling place (confession point)’ before hand and slowly narrowing the path until they fall (confess) there.

青天の霹靂 - a sudden, unexpected event. A thunderclap on a sunny day.

織田信長 - military commander from the 1500s. Looks like he only lived to 48

書道歴は二十五年になるとか I think this is 志木 saying that 梶 has been doing calligraphy for 25 years

県警幹部揃って腹切りもんだぞ → huh, how many years of reading Japanese before I finally saw 腹切り in the wild.

検察とて身内ではない。→ Even in prosecution there are no friends. とて == ~even (in/if). This came after the sentence talking about 佐瀬 (検事) talking to the press

日頃抱いている不信感がそうさせたが、結果としてそれは、伊予の意に添った情報操作であったと、受話器を置いてから志木は思った → As Shiki put down the receiver, was it his habitual sense of distrust , as far as results go, it was in line with Iyo’s information massaging (manipulation).

釘を刺す→ あとで言い逃れや間違いなどが起きないように,あらかじめ念を押す。

佐瀬は言外に匂わせていた→Sase gave off the scent of unspoken words??? Is this an idiom? Yes.



どのみち梶につくのは国選だ → Whatever path Kaji takes is the choice of the state (I don’t think this sentence is wrong, just a really weird thing to say)

まさか、向けて調べろって言うんですか →You can’t possibly be telling me to investigate in that direction (to that conclusion)


However, in this present state of deadlock,

婉曲に → indirectly

志木の意図 を伝えて→ tell Shiki’s intentions

梶に気づかせる → Make Kaji realize

ことのほうが → is more

「向ける」ことより → less

さらに卑劣な手段に思える → seems like an even more nasty method

→ However, in this present state of deadlock, indirectly making Kaji realize Shiki’s intentions seemed like an even nastier method than (more directly) pointing him. [I don’t know really how I should be translating 向ける here although the meaning feels clear enough]

くべた → there is a verb for throwing things into a fire. TIL.


It’s this part, but now that I look at it, it’s possible this is a vision of his mother, and not his wife at all.


It’s mentioned in a previous part of the chapter too (end of 1.6), when he’s daydreaming while in the car (again about a クリの木. His mother had died and his father had remarried. He missed his mother (confusingly, the Japanese seem to call “mother” anyone in that role, mother and stepmother alike), and hid away in that tool shed reading a book she had given him. That’s the shed and book the father destroyed, presumably wanting him to make an effort with his new family.


I took that as his actual mother, but perhaps hinting she also had Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.

:eyes: I need to go do a reread, I totally blanked on that. Figuring out what the status of the various mothers is now important. Could the woman in the hallway be his wife’s mother? Would you call your partner’s mom お母さん?

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I think you might call your own wife お母さん. It’s pretty common when you have children? His daughter is almost grown up though, so I’m not sure. You’d use a different kanji for your mother in law I’m pretty sure (looked it up: お義母さん). As for his stepmother, I find it hard to believe that she lives with them, or that he’d be reminded of that tree in his childhood yard when looking at her. It seems to be connected to his biological mother in his memory. Well, that part is more mysterious than I had initially thought. :sweat_smile:

Replies to notes

This is about 栗田, who was exceedingly noisy and clumsy the last time around. I believe it says (free translation):

It may be that he took his medicine/his medicine had an effect, but compared to before, from the sound of his feet as he entered and exited, to the sound of his racing pen, he took much more care (to be quiet).

I wondered if he’s joking about him needing some kind of medicine that he didn’t take before, or whether it just means metaphorically “learned his lesson”.

:joy: I too did a double take!

佐瀬 didn’t talk to the press, did he? He saw the newspaper, and called 志木。And 志木 didn’t tell him all details (喉元まで出かかったが、梶の外出の件は伏せ、自殺未遂のじけんだけを告げた) because “the prosecution is not family/one of us”. That’s what the next sentence is about too. Because of the habitual distrust between police and the prosecution, 志木 ended up giving information in line with Iyo’s wishes. At least that’s what I understand from this scene.

国選 seems to specifically refer to a defense lawyer appointed by the state. So, "in any case Kaji’s defense will be state-appointed. "

向けて seems to be a term they’re using to show that they’re controlling the direction of the interrogation, leading the suspect.

Basically, Shiki believes (correctly) that leading the suspect into a (false) confession is wrong. However, indicating implicitly what he wants him to confess so that he complies (Kaji is willing to do so), is even worse.

Note replies

Oh wow, whoops. I read the Japanese definition only (国が選任すること) but misinterpreted what 選任 meant!

I’d have to go back and reread but didn’t he say something about 佐瀬 being drinking buddies with the press?

I think this sentence was so hard for me because that logic doesn’t make sense to me. :sweat_smile: Unless I suppose the ‘even worse’ is in regards to implying it when he (Shiki) doesn’t even want it is worse, I suppose :thinking:


My impression is that 志木 and 佐瀬 are occasional drinking buddies, but even so, the prosecution is not to be treated as “one of us” as far as sensitive information is concerned.

Shiki doesn’t want to “lead” the interrogation (as in, push the suspect into a specific confession through the way he asks the questions), he wants to get to the truth. However, he’s receiving pressure to do so. He hates leading the interrogation, but he hates “telling” the suspect what to say even more.That’s what I understand.

replies to week 3

The ‘medicine’ is 志木 giving him a good (rather violent) talking to.

This is an entry on goo:




I took the 朽ちたクリ to be referring to his (step) mother also


I didn’t realize week 3 had started already! Reading all your spoilered comments, I of course had to read it asap, caught up now!
I also couldn’t quite remember who was „friend“ or „foe“, but I didn’t want to spend time on figuring it out either.

I also thought this scene was talking about his wife. I don’t recall anything about their mother-in-law or stepmother living with them. But all the talk about クリの木 is really confusing, so I’m unsure now :joy:

I had completely forgotten about that and was wondering what that flashback was all about. It makes a lot of sense now!

I also thought it was more methaphorical.

I found this sentence funny and also a bit sad


The things you end up thinking about as a policeman, I guess.


Hey all, just a quick heads up that I decided to shelve this book for now :persevere:
I mulled over it quite a bit but all in all my reading progress is so slow that I feel it’s more worthwhile for me to read a book where I can make faster progress right now (i. e. prioritizing quantity over quality). Having said that, the book is definitely super-interesting and I’m a bit jealous that you all get to read it right now, but I feel like it can’t be helped at the moment :woman_shrugging:
I’m sure I will follow in the wake of this thread again in a year or two :wink:


Aw, sorry to hear that… We’ll miss you here.


:sob: I’ll miss y’all as well :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I hope I can make up for this in some of the other book clubs :sweat_smile:


Read 2.1. This bit felt quite dense again. So we change perspectives as we follow the case. Interesting. Wasn’t 辰巳 supposed to take over the child abuse case? Now he signed 朗’s statement? So 志木 was taken off the case after all? I guess he at least gets to keep his integrity this way.

Only one new name so far

And we now know 佐瀬’s first name:


Read 2.1 and 2.2. I started wondering last week if 梶 had a secret daughter in Kabuki-cho or something? I don’t think it’s a prostitute, that would be too simplistic, I feel. I’m expecting more complicated family dynamics for sure.

I also can’t be bothered to track all the names. I know we’ve heard about 辰巳 and 栗田 before but I’m too lazy to double-check who they were. I’m just going with the flow.

佐瀬 is one 鋭い prosecutor for sure! I hope 伊予 etc. get to regret their actions.

I‘m also learning a lot about criminal justice procedures that I’ve never really thought a lot about before.


Read 2.2
I must say that 佐瀬’s interrogation was a little cleverer than 志木’s. I’m surprised the 看守 had any kind of opinion on the content and length of the interrogation.

I had the exact same thought. Or maybe a protégé of some sort, someone who is depending on him. I wonder why he would need to live exactly one more year for her sake.

辰巳 is the one who was supposed to take over 志木’s case so 志木 could deal with 梶. And 栗田 is the one with the puppet-like shiny face (so funny that both 志木 and 佐瀬 commented on it), who got chewed out by 志木 for being noisy and barging in. The one who was planted to keep an eye on procedures so that they are to the department’s liking.

Edit: Read 2.3 too. And I wanted to continue as it ended on a mild cliffhanger. So we learn that 梶 was probably in Tokyo, based on the weather he described. And that 伊予 has already made his move to try and ensure that this case gets as little attention as possible and is settled quickly. 佐瀬 sees no ally in the 次席検事, so he turns to the「オヤジ」, namely the 検事正.

One more name



Thanks for following up on the names! Reading only one day a week and then taking a break makes this quite difficult. I might just speed up if I find the time :speak_no_evil:
2.3: Cliffhanger! When 佐瀬 saw that 伊予 was there… and when 鈴木 said 「快晴」… the tension.

Looking forward to meeting オヤジ, and I’m also gonna need some more 梶 interrogation. And I want 志木 and 佐瀬 to meet asap!

Also, every time a new person is introduced and their age mentioned, I start to count the years they have left until 50. :smiley: 人間五十年


Names and titles in the top post if it helps! Will be adding the new ones shortly.

I was quite late to the reading this week as work has been exhausting. I’m on PTO next week in theory but I suspect I’ll end up working a bit each day due to the current project anyways :melting_face: so hopefully can be on time for next one.

Not a ton of notes, but I did have some confusing sentences for sure! Any thoughts on the tricky grammar is appreciate :pray:


向こうは三時間も遅らせやがったんだ → they made me 3 hours late (I think it means this, but がったんだ is a weird ending)

安い身柄ではない。→ Not a cheap person (but this doesn’t really make sense in context…? I looked to see if 安い has any meanings I’m missing as 身柄 seems pretty straightforward and got:

  • 男女が親密なのを,うらやみからかっていう語。
  • 心が穏やかだ。悩みがない心境だ。
  • 気軽である。

The last meaning here seems most likely.

県警の動きを封じるべく手を打ったのだ。→ He took measures to prevent the prefectural police from moving (ie, doing the thing he doesn’t want)

なめた真似をしやがって → he’s basically saying this is a load of crock, but the use of なめる every time it’s used to mean anything other than ‘lick’ never quite clicks for me. Any helpful hints appreciated.


Not totally clear how に対し is being used here. In opposition/defiance of him? The police are, contrary to order, delayed in sending the prisoner and not only that, they fabricated his testimony. あろうことか seems to be a set phrase expressing disgust

玉虫色 google these they’re so pretty (bugs though)


the use of あれば here threw me, but I suppose it’s being used like ‘this possibility exists, but…’

あてがう means ‘to allocate’


高を括る to make light of

その一言に検察の魂が宿ると信じている → Sase believed the soul of prosecution dwelled in that word (呼べ).

「呼んだ」からには敗北は許されない。→ Once they were ‘called’ defeat was unacceptable.

I feel like I understand these grammatically, but they don’t really make sense to me meaningfully. But maybe I am mistaking the grammar!

連れ合い will I never stop coming across new words for domestic partners?

筒抜けは覚悟の上だ。→ he was prepared to be overheard? I don’t quite get this sentence at the 「の上」piece.

後追い自殺 my dictionary gives this as ‘following someone’s example and committing suicide’ which leaves it open to some interpretation, but googling it a bit in Japanese it seems to be basically the same meaning as the English phrase ‘copycat suicide’. That said, ‘copycat suicide’ doesn’t make sense in this sentence:


明後日の方向に頭を垂れた→ is there a direction for 明後日? What does this even mean?

横紙破り → acting illogically

General thoughts:

I loved Sase. He seems sharp. Very curious how his appointment with Shiki will go. Also wonder what that flashback about the woman was about…

I entertained briefly the idea that Kaji’s wife hung herself and he was hiding that for some reason, but I checked and the word used on the autopsy report is specifically for ‘hands or arms’ for strangulation.



This chapter was a lot of fun to read when I got to it, but it’s a tease for details! I know so much more about the politics of this justice system, but so little from Kaji…