Tokyo, Japan

Hardback edition of ‘The Plastic Prayer’ by Kazufumi Shiraishi published in Japan

The Plastic Prayer, プラスチックの祈り, by Kazufumi Shiraishi, published 7 February by Asahi Shimbun Publications, on sale at a Tokyo bookshop. Photograph: Red Circle Authors Limited.
Asahi Shimbun Publications, the book publishing arm of one of Japan’s oldest and most prestigious national daily newspapers, released a tanko-bon, hardback, edition of The Plastic Prayer by Kazufumi Shiraishi, in February, as part of a special high-profile campaign commemorating the publisher’s 10thanniversary. 

The new 648-page book by Shiraishi, who is known for penning deeply thoughtful books about love, life and the human condition was serialised in several Asahi Shimbun Group magazines over the last few years and is being published in book format for the first time, after receiving excellent feedback. 

Shiraishi’s story about an author who wakes up one day shocked to discover that the heel of his right foot is transparent plastic, was initially published in instalments over 53 issues in Shukan Asahi, a highly regarded weekly magazine.

The gripping tale left readers wanting more leading to a sequel, which was also published in instalments; this time in another Asahi Group magazine, Shosetsu Tripper.The final instalment of the sequel was published at the end of last year concluding Shiraishi’s thought-provoking psychological suspense, The Plastic Prayer.  

The new hardback edition brings the tale about a celebrated author Nobumasa Himeno who turned to drink when his wife Koyuki was on edge of death, together in one volume for the first time.

Himeno’s body starts changing with one part after another morphing into plastic. These sudden mysterious changes force him to question what is real and what is not, and question why his wife died and if he is being punished for her death. 

The author and his publisher challenge readers in their promotional materials to join Himeno on his quest to discover his fate, separate memory from reality, and understand what creates our realities in a non-stop complex gripping narrative, designed to confuse, that forces you to keep reading. 

One reader describes the experience as similar to being pulled into a maze of mysterious phenomena and memory that you can’t put down, despite the book’s length, which at more than 600 pages is unusually long for a single volume Japanese novel.

One of the early reviews online ponders how Shiraishi manages to make it possible to feel such empathy for a fantasy individual whose body is being plasticised, and another reader commenting on Twitter puts it much more simply describing The Plastic Prayer as: “another masterpiece from Kazufumi Shiraishi”.    
  • RedCircle
    About Red Circle:
    Red Circle Authors Limited is a specialist publishing and communications company that conducts bespoke projects on behalf of a carefully selected and curated group of leading Japanese authors. Red Circle showcases Japan’s best creative writing. For more information on Red Circle, Japanese literature, and Red Circle authors please visit:
    • Kazufumi Shiraishi
      About Kazufumi Shiraishi:
      Kazufumi Shiraishi had a successful career, spanning two decades, as a journalists working for one of Japan's highest profile monthly magazines, Bungeishinju, before following in the steps of his father and twin brother becoming a full time author. He is a deeply thoughtful author who writes about love, life and the human condition and is unique in being the only Japanese author to follow in his father’s footsteps by winning the same major Japanese literary prize.