“KYOKO” is the story of Ryu Murakami, himself.

I thought the story of “KYOKO” was like my story. KYOKO and I overlap, and I shed tears in various scenes in the work.

But one morning, when I woke up, suddenly I felt like I wanted to replace “Ryu” with “KYOKO”. Then, strangely, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. That’s how it felt.

About 10 days later, I received “All the Essays of Ryu Murakami 1987-1991” (Kodansha Bunko). The last part of the book was a conversation with a literary critic named Masashi Miura, and Murakami said to him that it is “a story of myself.”

From  “All the Essays of Ryu Murakami 1987-1991” (Kodansha Bunko)

After creating the story, I realized that the main character is a stripper but it’s my story.

She was born in Fussa. She is an illegitimate child, the illegitimate child of three generations. 

She was bullied, and one day, when she was little, she met a black soldier behind a barbed wire fence. When the black soldier asked the girl,” Why are you crying?” The girl didn’t understand, but he was dancing and the dance was funny and interesting. And she laughed because she thought he was funny. That was her first laugh. She saw him several times, and he taught her dance. He said  “Shake your butt.” 

It was so much fun when she danced with him, so she kept playing with him. It was just dancing.  “Look, in my country, things like this,” he said.  And then all sorts of images came to her mind.

So, when he said goodbye, he gave her his address and said, “I’ll be in New York, so come visit me when you’re grown.” She puts his address into a rocket necklace, and she lives off that address rather than her teacher or parents. In short, she lives her life with the pleasure that her body feels as her priority. So she becomes a stripper. She makes a living doing something like a porn show.

From then on, by the time the movie was completed, the story of KYOKO had changed to resemble a growing creature.

The beginning of “KYOKO”

Prologue | Monologue Kyoko

Barbed wire.

The endless barbed wire fence, taller than I am, covers my memories

My parents died in a traffic accident when I was four.

My aunt and uncle took me in and raised me. 

I grew up in a town with an American Army base.

I walked to kindergarten and school right next to the barbed wire.

On the other side of the barbed wire fence, I could see camouflaged military aircraft, a lawned U.S. military housing area, and the American flag.

And this is the final part.

I like Cuba very much, but perhaps I am sure that it is not my final goal.

The moment I tell myself: that I have reached the goal, the future disappears.

When I am on the path of life’s journey, and I am enjoying it, I can have my future in my hands.

Even dying is not the goal (it’s like an accident) and fundamentally nothing has changed since my childhood, since I was a child when I walked along a barbed wire fence.

But, now, the barbed wire fence that I carried inside me at all times has disappeared.

So, in other words, I no longer have that feeling of being permanently away from what is most important to me.

I could find José in New York and the feeling had disappeared during the journey that carried him towards Miami.

It’s not just José, I met many people during this long journey, talking to them, and laughing with them, and then the feeling disappeared.

I can’t speak Spanish and my English isn’t very good, so I am not sure we understood each other.

We met, we crossed paths, that’s all. I was pursuing my goal and my path just crossed theirs.

I may be always on my way somewhere in my life.

It’s unsettling and unstable while I’m on my way somewhere, but I think it’ll probably work out.

Because the dance that José taught me is there, in my body, he lives in me.

The barbed wire has disappeared

From “KYOKO”’s afterword” (Shueisha)

While writing this novel, I kept remembering how I felt twenty years ago. Exactly twenty years ago in the fall, I was writing my debut novel called Almost Transparent Blue.

I remembered how I felt at that moment, which I had long forgotten.
There is no sex, SM, drugs, or war in this novel. Since my debut work, I have used these motifs as a way to blow away my self-consciousness, but in this work they were unnecessary.


Around the time I finished editing the film, I wrote the novel “Kyoko.”
As I was writing, I kept thinking back to when I was writing my debut novel.
I wrote Kyoko as if I was writing a novel for the first time in my life.
That’s different from “with a fresh mind.”
I felt myself returning to the”spirit” I had when I wrote “Almost Transparent Blue.”

I don’t know if that’s why, but the word “rebirth” appears frequently near the end of the novel “Kyoko”.
These lines appear as a line from a character named Jose, who is dying of AIDS, and as I was writing them, I felt like I was reborn as a novelist myself.
Rebirth is not just about coming back from the dead.
In this case, perhaps it would be better to call it evolution.
In other words, my amount of information has increased dramatically and explosively.
I say “information,” but some people call it “the world.”
I was always hungry for information, and I still am.
The information I’m talking about isn’t in Newsweek, CNN News, or the Internet.
It’s not education or reporting.
Basically, it’s a physical experience, a kind of practical philosophical material for survival.

“……I insert a pink rotor into her anus, turn on the switch, vibrate it, and have sex with a vagina, and the vibrations of the anus are transmitted to my penis…”
The current situation in this country is that people read something like this in a magazine and think, “I see.”
A novelist’s maiden work contains all the information he had until he wrote his first novel.
Since then, information has continued to increase and technology has improved, but it is often said that nothing will surpass the first work.
I don’t think that “KYOKO” has surpassed “Almost Transparent Blue” as a work.

If I say that the work that goes beyond “Almost Transparent Blue,” “Coin Locker Babies” is more than enough.
“Kyoko” is a sequel in the spirit of “..Blue” and has acquired the lyricism of my debut work.
The fact that I returned to my debut work, but not strategically, means that the information I have input over the past 20 years has exceeded the amount of information I had accumulated when writing my debut work.
I think this is an expansion of her capacity as a novelist, which would not have been possible if she hadn’t continued to make films.