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Kazufumi Shiraishi’s latest work, a love story with a twist, is an important addition to the canon of Japanese robot fiction

Cover of Stand-In Companion by Naoki Prize-winning author Kazufumi Shiraishi published November 2018. Image: Red Circle Authors Limited

Stand-In Companion, a new work by the Naoki Prize-winning Japanese author Kazufumi Shiraishi is being released today. This powerful short story is an important addition to Japan’s rich and long history of robot literature, which stretches back to at least the 1920s, when the word robot was first coined – and perhaps even further. 

Stand-In Companion is a touching and powerful exploration of infertility and relationships set in a future world where humans aren’t quite what they seem.

It is the first title to be published in an exciting new series of short Japanese books entitled Red Circle Minis; and is also Shiraishi’s first published work that falls within the definition of science fiction. 

Stand-In Companion, translated by Raj Mahtani, explores the struggle to find love, companionship and meaning in life. In any society, relationship dynamics are complex. And as Hayato, a Japanese industrial designer will discover in this clever and absorbing tale, this remains the case in a future world enriched by technology, AI and androids.

This is a love story with a twist in which Hayato and his wife, Yutori, face deeply human challenges in a world where science has solved almost every problem. 

Launched today, Red Circle Minis is a series of short, captivating books by Japan’s finest contemporary writers that brings the narratives and voices of Japan together as never before.

Each book in the series is a first edition written specifically for the series and is being published in English first.


  • 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.