殺人出産 🤰🔪 Book Club ・ Week 2

殺人出産 ・ Week 2

Week 2 1 May 2021
End page 29
End loc (Kindle) 211
End phrase 発狂しそうになる。
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Vocabulary

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Discussion questions

  1. What sentence/passage gave you the most difficulty? Feel free to request some help, or if you figured it out on your own break it down for the rest of us!
  2. What was your favorite new vocab word from this week’s reading?
  3. Was there any passage that you found particularly intriguing? Did it resonate with you (either positively or negatively)? Was it surprising? Offer any insight or new perspective? Was it just beautifully written?
  4. Have you ever eaten イナゴの甘露煮 or something similar? If so, would you recommend it?

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I literally shrieked when I got to this sentence :joy:

昆虫はね、縄文時代には普通に食べられてたんだよ。

I also loved the seamless transition between Ikuko telling her cousin there was no way her sister was a Birthgiver and then this line:

姉が「産み人」になると言ったのは、姉が17歳で、私が14歳のときだった。中学生だった私は必死に姉を止めた。

I also have a grammar question

いくら『産み人』なんて言葉で美化したって、要は前もって拷問を受けるってことじゃない。

I think I get the general gist of what is being said, but I am having a bit of trouble with it, mostly because of いくら and じゃない. I feel like いくら starts a ‘no matter how much A, B’ clause, but I thought you needed 〜ても or 〜でも for that…? Should I read したって as 慕たって, or is it する plus a って (in which case, what’s that doing there?). And じゃない, is that the “isn’t it?” use of it?

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I’m really interested if there will be any answers to the 4th question :stuck_out_tongue:

Omg, I remember the… food discussions, but not this detail :rofl: Thanks for reminding me.

I liked it too! I actually got fooled (I assumed there’s no reason for Ikuko to lie) and then got confused and thought for a second there’s a problem with my comprehension :stuck_out_tongue:

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The したって is doing the part of 〜ても here. 〜たって is a (casual) version of 〜ても.
See more examples here: ~たって / ~ても(tatte / temo)【JLPT N3 Grammar】 | 日本語の例文

The じゃない is the rhetorical question じゃない?, as you assumed.

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Hehe, Murata does seem to have a favorite time period :joy_cat:

For question 4: No, I haven’t. I‘d somehow like to try, though - maybe together with a trustworthy person who can reassure me :sweat_smile:

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Well it’s not Saturday in my timezone yet, but if you insist, I’ll start reading now :stuck_out_tongue:
Especially that you wrote so many spoilers again and I want to click on them!

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This week was a lot easier than the first. I still don’t really get the 10 children thing, do they get to kill somebody they like once they have their tenth child? Or do they die? I’m kinda confused, I guess I didn’t really comprehend it in week 1. :joy:

I’m pretty sure it’s that they can kill someone after they’ve given birth 10 times. I may have misunderstood but I think they’ve brought up multiple times that it’s admirable because they’re putting their lives on the line - presumably because whoever they wanna kill is going to fight back? This is such a strange concept (who would ever do this??) that I’m not sure if I’m understanding it correctly though haha

I think the risk is just exhausting your body after giving birth 10 times, but I guess we’ll see.

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Yeah that was what I was understanding, too. Just wasn’t entirely sure probably because they didn’t really explain how it’s done yet.

I didn’t even think that far. That’s right. How exactly would they do it? Are they just given a free pass to (try to) kill somebody? :thinking: I’d guess so, but we’ll probably see at some point in the book.

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Maybe it’s as clinical as conception is in their society? State administered lethal injection?

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Here’s my understanding of the system so far:

They get to kill someone! Basically in vitro fertilization became more and more popular and sex came to be more and more for pleasure than for reproduction, to the point where most people choose to be sterilized when they go through puberty. Rapidly declining birth rates forced the government to implement an incentive to bear children, and that incentive was the “殺人出産” system, where anybody (and I’m guessing anybody male or female here due to artificial wombs), can choose to bear 10 children and as a reward get to kill a person of their choice. (It also seems that the sterilization process is surgically reversible).

I believe it’s seen as a noble sacrifice because of the amount of danger and effort associated with giving birth ten times, and the societal need for a larger population. This is where Ikuko seems uncomfortable with the shift in attitude toward murder from the past, because under the 殺人出産 system it’s glorified rather than resented, and the school system seems to indoctrinate young students with this altered morality. I don’t think the manner in which the birth-giver gets to kill their victim has been elaborated yet–I don’t know whether all they have to do is name a person and that person is killed by the government, or if they are just granted legal immunity for committing a murder on their own, or something else entirely.

Additionally, the penalty for committing murder outside the system is (depending on your point of view) even more severe than the death penalty. It’s now a birth penalty, where criminals (even male via artificial wombs) are forced to repeatedly give birth.

Also, birth-givers do not seem to have to raise their children themselves. Instead the they entrust the children to “centers” where they are presumably cared for and can be adopted.

Please let me know if my understanding is off or if I’m missing any key details. I definitely can’t presume I’ve understood it correctly myself.

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Ooh, very elaborate. This clears it up quite nicely, looks like I did understand it after all and I was just confusing myself today for some reason. Thanks! :upside_down_face:

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I think I understood it the same way as you, so that’s already a good sign :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Just one minor detail:

Initially it was not explained well whether they would choose sterilization as teenagers, but later on (when the “birth penalty” was described) I thought it said that a certain “device” got removed for them to be able to give birth again. So I guess maybe it’s like a super-sophisticated (and actually working hehe) version of nowaday’s contraceptive coil or something.

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What a chapter! This is the first (Japanese) book I’ve really read where I’ve had virtually no familiarity with the story beforehand and I’m dying to keep reading just to figure out what happens next.

I don’t know how plausible I find the 殺人出産 system. I mean, why is getting to commit murder the reward someone came up with for increasing the population? Surely there are more practical solutions? But I don’t think the system itself is the point. I think what’s more interesting is how people react to this moral doublethink, where changes in opinion on murder could stand in for any number of other values. So far 育子 seems to be our Winston Smith in this dystopia. Will she hold out?

I’d also like to learn more about how ミサキ, a clearly intelligent child who’s grown up with this indoctrination, views the system. She does mention that she thinks 環ちゃん seems to have been “chosen by God”, and therefore would unsurprisingly choose the life of an 産み人, which is disconcerting.

I have never tried eating イナゴの甘露煮, 蝉 nor any other insect. Last week my friend was raving about some worm ice cream that he ate in Seattle but it sounded disgusting to me. I’m aware that these …unique ingredients can make for healthy, sustainable food options, and I’m willing to try anything once, but I don’t think they’ll become a regular part of my diet anytime soon.

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If I recall correctly, the reason given in the text was that they believed that would be the ultimate motivator to have children. It shows an extremely cynical view of humanity, I think, cause the policy is based on the assumption that surely everyone must want to kill someone. I have a hard time relating to that. Sure, there’s a bunch of people out there that annoy the crap out of me and even some people I am pretty sure the world would be better off without, but that doesn’t mean I want to kill them and it especially doesn’t mean I’d be willing to pop out 10 kids for the privilege lol.

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I think it’s just the other way around. IF you want to kill somebody, THEN all you get to do is bear 10 children and then you can do it legally.
So the murder is not the reward for the 10 children, but the 10 children are the payment for the murder.

Totally valid approach for increasing the population from the point of view of the government: 10 - 1 is still a net gain in population. Also, my biggest worry would be that the society ends up with only children that were raised by murderers / criminals / scumbags (who would pass on their world views to their children), but the “center” system deals with that issue quite elegantly.

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That perspective deals very nicely with my own issues regarding plausibility, because the idea you describe isn’t trying to tempt everyone into giving it a go, but is specifically directed at that small minority of people who were always going to be inclined to murder someone. However, that raises a different issue: how effective is the policy really going to be if your core demographic is so small? If you want to keep the population at its current size, everyone would need to give birth to one baby (assuming both men and women can bear children in this universe). Even if every Birthgiver does succeed at giving birth to 10 kids (which some of them wouldn’t) and then kills one person, you’d need one out of every 9 people to become a Birthgiver to keep the population steady, let alone make up for its past decrease. I really doubt as many as one in nine people would be inclined to murder someone to the point where they’d spend the best years of their life as an incubator :thinking:

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I think you sort of answered your own question in your previous post.
This story is cynical enough to assume that this demographic isn’t that small at all and when it’s a legal thing, even encouraged and praised in certain circles (and certainly in schools), there will be many willing people.
But you’re right that to keep the population at its current size, it would have to be ~11% volunteers, which do sound like a lot.

I guess it depends what your lifestyle is. When somebody likes to travel, party, do a career - it’s true, being pregnant may make these things difficult.
But what if somebody already lives sort of hikikomori-like lifestyle? If all your enjoyment is inside, and all you do is playing games, reading books and such - it isn’t that much of a change.
People are already doing murder-suicides - school shooters, suicide bombers etc. In these cases, murderer is losing life entirely. In comparison, giving birth to 10 people doesn’t sound that bad.
And while for some people living the life holed up at home is a innate thing, for others it’s because they feel like they were hurt too bad by social interactions. It’s not hard to imagine someone like this to be a willing Birthgiver. Especially when it’s something that society applauds. You transform from an outcast to a hero.

I adore ミサキ character precisely because she’s an example of somebody who was raised with these values and considers them normal. She shows how everything is just a matter of mutual agreement.

In コンビニ人間 main character was disturbed by generally accepted norms. For me, 殺人出産 (and other Murata’s what-ifs) is the reversal of this. Reader is suddenly thrown up into a world that seems insane.

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Maybe kind of an odd question but how would you translate the title? Murderous Birth or something? :thinking:

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