History, mystery, and crime in Japan
Author David Peace talks about the novel and two further novels on which he is working, each of which was inspired by real crimes that happened during the American occupation of Japan after World War II. Peace says the second of those two books is based on the Shimoyama incident of 1949, in which the head of the Japanese National Railroad was found dead next to train tracks in Tokyo.
And that's where I felt I'd gained a bit of insight into modern Japanese history. Seicho Matsumoto, the celebrated Japanese crime novelist, wrote non-fiction works about the Shimoyama case, and his novels are marked by train trips and by bodies found under trains.
Peace also talks about the title Tokyo Year Zero and the dual sense it conveys of utter devastation but also of a new beginning. This and the criminal subject matter conjure inevitable memories of Akira Kurosawa's great crime movie Stray Dog.
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Asia crime fiction
Japanese crime fiction