Text : Yoko Tomiyasu 富安陽子
Illustration : Taeko Ohshima 大島妙子
Published : 2015
Personal recommendation : 5 years old and up
As I recently reviewed the book related to the “Hell”, I would like to continue reviewing Hell-related book as well today. 😊 General /Brief explanation of the Hell (=the general image of Hell, which we Japanese people have in mind) is described previously and it can be surely referred. Coincidently, King ENMA “the Demon Master” also appears in this book, deciding which assignment each Demon should go, to in order to torture people. (Remember ENMA’s role is to “judge”, for example, whether the people whom recently passed away should be sent to Heaven or Hell) I guess, the only difference in description of Hell in this book is that those who were judged to be sent to Hell are “Ghost” form, not Human form anymore.
As for book’s stage-setup, this is basically the story about Red Demon who “works” in the hell. Yet, the funny part is that this Red-Demon character is based on middle-aged Japanese “salary-man” in Osaka. (You can tell from his Osaka dialect/accent in the text) I purposely used the vocabulary “Salary-man” here and it needs to be explained. For occupation, we have “the employed” and also “the Self Employed”. “Salary-man” is made-up word “Japan-glish” to describe the general image of “the middle-aged man who works for a company in the office, going thru jam-packed commuter train/bus/subway and doing routine-work at their office and not necessary enjoying one’s own work but rather doing this for a living”. (Different from “Businessman” which includes more enthusiasm for work and spontaneous attitude) So when this wording is used in the text, many Japanese feels somewhat sad/pathetic feeling.. By the way, the direct translation of this book’s original title is “Demon the Salary-man”. If you know all above, this books suddenly becomes to seem quite interesting, right? 😊
OK, this should be enough to enjoy this book and here is the story line.
- Mr. Ken Onigawara (The red Demon) works for Hell Company. He wears suit every day, riding jam-packed commute bus, bringing lunch box his wife made. He had two kids.
- He usually meets up his colleagues/friends at the bus stop in the morning. Riding the jam-packed bus whereas the demos next him stands right next to him (zero distance) and usually other demon’s horn is being poking his back on the bus.
- Once he arrives at the office, he lines up in front of King ENMA to hear his today’ assignment for work. Today, Mr. Ken Onigawara is assigned to be “the lifeguard” of the blood pond where all the ghosts were trapped. Just like Lifeguard at swimming pool, he shouts “Hey, you. No swimming ring allowed here” “Hey, No jump into the pond!”
- Post lunch break after eating his wife’s lunch-box, Mr. Ken Onigawara got sleepy and fell asleep on the Lifeguard’s high chair.
- When he wakes up, he realized all the ghosts (supposed to keep being trapped in the blood pond) trying to run away. There was one long white string hanging from Sky. This string is believed to be leading toward the heaven and the all the ghosts trying to climb this white string.
- “Don’t go up higher any more. You cannot run away. I repeat, Come back here right now! There is no fun in the heaven and you all had better come down!” Mr. Ken Onigawara desperately trying to convince and SNAP! The string was tear off and all the ghosts fell back into the pond of blood.
- Mr. Ken Onigawara was called to come into King ENMA’s office. ENMA said “If you fall asleep again during your work shift, I would give you pay-cut. You understand?” “Yes, sir…”
- Feeling stressed out, Mr. Ken Onigawara decided to drop by his favorite bar stand/stall where all other demons/monsters were hanging out and complaining their boss/work over beer/sake. Feeling tipsy, Mr. Ken Onigawara picked up some small gift for his family and heavily drunk talking to himself, walking back to his home. (End of story)
This book series is quite popular now. This isn’t ordinally “Children’s book”but rather mocking and making fun of typical Japanese salary-man. But the gap between the demon (supposed to be confident/scary/bossy) and its actual pathetic daily life to “work in the Hell” like many Japanese salary-man would feel working for company makes the reader (both Kids and Adults) laugh by reading this book. If you have ever lived in Japan and experience to witness all those “Salary-man’s actual life”, this book will surely give you big smiles on your face😊
You can purchase this book here. 広告はこちら
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