Boeken

Underground

Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche (アンダーグラウンド Andāguraundo, 1997–1998) is a book by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami about the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. The book is made up of a series of interviews with individuals who were affected by the attacks, and the English translation also includes interviews with members of Aum, the religious cult responsible for the attacks. Murakami hoped that through these interviews, he could capture a side of the attacks which the sensationalist Japanese media had ignored—the way it had affected average citizens. The interviews were conducted over nearly a year, starting in January 1996 and ending in December of that same year.

The interviews highlight many intriguing aspects of the Japanese psyche. Work was a high, if not central, priority for most of the interviewees. Isolation, individualism, and lack of communication were also strong themes which were common throughout many accounts of the attacks. Many of the interviewees expressed disillusionment with the materialism in Japanese society and the sensationalistic media, as well as the inefficiency of the emergency response system in dealing with the attack.

The book also includes Murakami's personal essay on the attacks, "Blind Nightmare: Where Are We Japanese Going?" In this essay, he criticizes the failure of the Japanese to learn from the attacks, preferring to dismiss it as the extreme act by a group of lunatics rather than analyze the true causes and prevent similar events from occurring in the future.

Both the Japanese original and the English translation were well-received, despite the former being criticized as being "one-sided," and the latter being severely abridged.

 

€ 15,99