Hard cover and Compact book BUNGEISHUNJU 1997

"As I'm existing in your pussy, you can not use it. But no one wants to fuck you, anyway. It is not a problem for you, ha ha ha! "

From the moment he settled in, Mr. Koga has always laughed in scorn at me. But, he is right.

While preparing dinner for him, St-Frances-ko mumbles. "That's right. Unh, uh, yeah..." There is no problem...

No inconvenience.
No trouble.
Even with a human-faced scab between her legs, it caused no problem for her.

Since a long, long before Mr. Koga had settled in, she hadn't felt any problems.

She used to work as a model. She is tall, slender with a voluptuous 40-inch bust, but no one had used her pussy for ages and ages. Besides, she believed "any men who want to fuck me, seem never to come up, and the future looks very much the same."

While singing, "Hopeless, hopeless woman... woman... woman...", she washes herring roe for his dinner.

It might be very tragic, a misery and a pity not to be fucked for women. But St-Frances-ko is not troubled by such feelings any more.
She felt sad at first, but tried to stop this sorrow. Now she forgets to feel sad at all.

Humming a song she says to her crotch, "Shall we have dinner, Koga-san?"

======excerpt from "THE PASSION" ======

"The PASSION" is a story about a woman with a peculiar name St-Frances-ko. She looks young for her age, perhaps 24 years old, but actually she is 30.

Unlike usual young women in Japan, a great economic nation, her life style is very simple, rather austere. Therefore, she is called St-Frances-ko, a parody of St. Francesco, a religious man's name. But being a woman in Japan, where women's name's often end in -ko, like Yo-ko, Nori-ko and Masa-ko, she is called St-Frances-ko.

St-Frances-ko is slim but big chested and resembles an oriental Venus de Milo. She used to work as a model in fashion advertising for shopping malls. It could be said she is beautiful. But she is not attractive to men. And besides her rare modesty, her career as a model was not a success. Now she lives quietly alone in a small old house near the cape of a small town 40km from Tokyo. Her current job is a freelance computer programmer.

One day, she found an odd thing between her legs like a human face and it started talking. It (he?) was a human-faced scab that has been a parasite on "lonely women" all over the world for a long time.

"It is said that if you stay a virgin for a long time, cob webs form in the vagina. Now, it's my turn. I have such a..." she groaned to herself. She named it "Mr. Koga" and they started living together.

Mr. Koga is spiteful and ironic. And he often said, "The worthy woman is one whom man is tempted to have sex with. But you are a worthless woman, it is rather arrogant to feel loneliness." "Don't pretend to be innocent. Face your dirty self."

Although St-Frances-ko is hurt at his words, she accepts that it is true what he said. One day, she redecorated one room in her house and rented it out to many couples as a business. Her purpose was to make the lovers happy. How is her own cohabitation going?

Is the human-faced scab between her legs "the passion" for St-Frances-ko, who truly hopes for other's happiness? This unpredictable story has a surprise ending. The reader will read through the story with tears and laugher, and finally close this book with a feeling of love.

Solitude, loneliness, materialistic desires, envy, Jane Crow (discrimination against women), and men-specific stress...

Not only in modern Japanese society, but also in most developed countries, these are common problems. The author deals with these issues with a lilting and interesting tempo. Readers will not want to put it down. In that respect, this highly philosophical story is quite an innovative one in modern Japanese literature.

This is not an easy-reading detective story thrown away after reading like used toilet paper, nor a boring and narcissistic sentimental love story, nor an abstract story lobbying for a special agenda, hiding behind its specious logic. I want to introduce this exceptional, unique example of Japanese literature to many readers worldwide.

Translation Toshie Takakura

The Passion (Film)


Original novel shortlisted for the prestigious Naoki Prize

A singular deadpan comedy, The Passion tells a story of a young woman raised in a convent named Frances-ko (Mayuko Iwasa), after Saint Francesco. Distressed by not knowing about love and sex, she calls out for a sign from above, but instead hears a voice from below. A human-faced growth speaks to her from between her legs, constantly berating her, calling out "Woman, you are worthless!" Mr. Koga, as she names it, continues the verbal abuse, yet Frances-ko somehow adapts, forming an adversarial yet symbiotic relationship. This bizarre film, based on Kaoruko Himeno's acclaimed 1997 novel of the same name, is skillfully directed by Ryoko Yoshida, lensed by veteran cinematographer Akiko Ashizawa, grounded by Iwasa's show-stopping performance and enlivened by the hilarious Kanji Furutachi, who lends his voice to the chauvinistic Koga. The soundtrack boasts an unmissable eclectic score by legendary experimental musician and composer Otomo Yoshihide.

Japan. 2013. 95 min. DCP, in Japanese with live English subtitles. Directed by Ryoko Yoshida. With Mayuko Iwasa, Kanji Furutachi, Yasushi Fuchikami, Kumiko Ito. 18+ This film is unrated, but may only be viewed by persons 18 years of age and older.

Japan Society New York