Advanced Japanese Book Club // Next: アンダーグラウンド


Author: 金原ひとみ
Page count: 124 (hardcover)





Describing a world as amoral and fascinating as the landscapes of Less Than Zero and Trainspotting, this novel about a young woman living in the violent world of Japan’s underground youth culture is both shocking and strangely beautiful.

Enchanted by the snakelike forked tongue of a stranger called Ama, nineteen-year-old Lui takes a walk on another side of life. Following Ama home the night she meets him, Lui straightaway moves in with him and begins making plans to have her own tongue pierced. Determined to push her boundaries further, she asks Ama’s strange friend Shiba to design an exquisite dragon tattoo for her back. But when Lui and Shiba begin an affair, Ama’s jealousy is stirred and the situation becomes explosive.



Personal Opinion

This book is described as a cult classic, very controversial, but also an Akutagawa Prize winner. I’m interested in Japanese counterculture, which this book promises a lot of. Also, it’s a short read, and it’s not a mystery novel. The language also doesn’t seem too difficult from the few pages I looked at, so it seems like a quick and intriguing read to shake things up.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Quick and easy
  • Akutagawa Prize winner
  • Not a mystery
  • Famous cult classic


  • Some twisted/disturbing/S&M content?


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters