London, UK

Rave reviews for Soji Shimada’s ‘English-first’ novella ‘One Love Chigusa’

Copies of paperback edition of One Love Chigusa by Soji Shimada. Photo: Red Circle Authors Limited
One Love Chigusa, a newly commissioned work by one of Japan’s most renowned authors, Japan’s Man of Mystery, Soji Shimada, published in August in English translation before any other language, is getting rave reviews.

The novella translated by Sir David Warren, a retired diplomat and former British ambassador to Japan offers a glimpse into a possible future and questions the very purpose of humanity in a unique way that could only come from the pen of Japan’s master of the postmodern whodunnit.

International reviewers have described One Love Chigusa as: “a mini-masterpiece”… “Electrifying “… “a bullet-like, postmodernist package” and as: ”Blade Runner meets Le Grandes Meaulnes, all wrapped up in a whodunnit written in an elegant and unsettling style”.

One Love Chigusa, an homage to the great artist and creator of Astro BoyOsamu Tezuka (1928-1989)set in a future Beijing is the sixth title in the series Red Circle Minis: a series of short captivating books by Japan’s finest contemporary writers that brings the narratives and voices of Japan together as never before.

Display of the first six books published in the series Red Circle Minis. Photograph: Red Circle Authors Limited
Each Mini is a first edition written specifically for the series and is being published in English first before any other language including Japanese. 

Below are extracts and links to some of the many reviews of One Love Chigusa published to date:

One Love Chigusa is an eerie, strange, and exciting sci-fi novella, and one of the best books published by Red Circle so far’. Books and Bao

‘unreliable narrator…not a usual sci-fic story…technology and the future…While I could guess the ending…made me feel very sad…therein lies Shimada’s brilliance’.  Book Satchel

‘This captivating story skips nimbly from artificial intelligence to immortality to loneliness to a meditation on love that will leave you surprised and moved. A mini-masterpiece’.  South China Morning Post

Blade Runner meets Le Grandes Meaulnes, all wrapped up in a whodunnit written in an elegant and unsettling style. Boy meets girl, or does he… all is not as it seems. Better written and more engaging than a lot of the thrillers cluttering up the charts, this beautiful little book is very much a break from the norm.’ BookBrunch

‘a bullet-like, postmodernist package; taken as a whole it makes a riveting statement as a Frankenstein for our After-Corona age. Electrifying stuff’ The Japan Society, UK

One Love Chigusa contains faint echoes of Pinocchio and Pygmalion’. The Canberra Times.

‘a psychological novella that probes deep into both the not-so-distant future and the human heart…a strange and eerie future…distorted, hellish world…what happens when technology begins to literally creep into our very human hearts..’ The Japan Times

“this book was not only well-written, utterly compelling and a beautiful translation but it is one of the best artificial intelligence stories I have ever read”. Where There’s Ink There’s Paper

‘an unreliable narrator… experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations. Or perhaps they are not hallucinations, but true pictures of what the world is really likeー’ Japan Forward 

‘The story mostly unfolds in a world very much like our own — than in exploring fundamental existential questions and issues — but he provocatively adds one more complicating (cum clarifying) layer to make for a more satisfying (and unsettling) overall picture and conclusion’.  The Complete Review

‘beautifully crafted tale that lingers fondly in the memory…When you’re not sure how much of you is you and not some half-construct of software and extrapolated memories what does love mean?’ Shoreline of Infinity

‘extremely compelling…addresses a number of intimidating and complex questions…often very dream-like and dystopian…divinity and purpose…heavily intertwined…disconcerting yet wonderful’ Asian Books Blog

two misfits exploring what it means to live, love and exist inside a world neither of them really belong…unsettling, thought-provoking and utterly eerie…” The Writer Tom 

‘Full of cynicism – on love, life, and morality – One Love Chigusa dives into the complex relationship between humanity and technology’. Paperback Paris

‘subtle build-up, misdirection and handling of tension…threat of AI judging humanity… elegantly crafted SF plot…hidden psychological depths…Highly recommended” Fantasy Hive
One Love Chigusa by Soji Shimada published 6 August 2020 in the critically acclaimed series of short Japanese books by award-winning authors Red Circle Minis.
  • 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:
    • Soji Shimada
      About Soji Shimada:
      Soji Shimada is the master of postmodern whodunnits who originally wanted to become a painter turned instead to reinventing the art of mystery writing. His debut novel, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, now ranked among the top five best locked-room mysteries published worldwide, became an instant classic, transforming him into Japan’s Man of Mystery and one of the country's bestselling authors.