The Refugees’ Daughter

The Refugees’ Daughter

by Takuji Ichikawa

Translated by Emily Balistrieri
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In a society rife with conflict and a world on the edge of extinction, who should we turn to for answers: society’s strongest or weakest? This is the question Takuji Ichikawa, one of Japan’s most imaginative and unusual authors, poses in The Refugees’ Daughter, a magical modern parable for our troubled times.

Through this terrifying and dreamlike dystopia, a young girl is amongst those fleeing their homes and seeking safety.

From Ichikawa, a Japanese author whose books sell in the millions, comes a thought provoking piece which addresses themes of humanity, responsibility and the need to have a place to call home.

Exploring power, patriarchy, strength and freedom, this vision of a frighteningly familiar world asks vital questions.

Translated by Emily Balistrieri, The Refugees’ Daughter is a powerful, poignant and utterly relevant tale that will resound in the minds of everyone who has ever searched for hope.


‘It’s a short, engaging sci-fi tale with a pointed message: the world’s refugees are not a threat, a danger, or anything to fear – they are the hope for our collective future…Ichikawa’s work is a masterful allegory that reminds us refugees are not our enemy; they are the future. They represent our best hope.’


‘In Takuji Ichikawa’s high-concept The Refugees’ Daughter (translated by Emily Balistrieri) a sixteen-year-old-girl and her family are trying to find an ominous “gate” to reach safety on the other side of a post-apocalyptic world.’


‘a short dystopian work set in a sadly recognisable near future… challenge anyone to finish the book without thinking that Ichikawa’s main conclusion here is that the meek will inherit the Earth.’

Tony’s Reading List

‘In a dystopian world in which human suffering knows no bounds, Takuji Ichikawa gives us a glimmer of hope. One immediately thinks of the Gospel of Matthew: ‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.’ With its moral undertones, this esoteric tale is apposite for our deeply divided society.’

Alex Pearl, author of Sleeping with the Blackbirds

‘The power of his storytelling is due to the candour of the feelings expressed. As if, confusing reality, somewhat magically, is what makes literature compelling giving it the power to delight and please.’

Le Monde

‘I felt it in my heart, and it shook my soul.’

Kiyoshi Kodama, actor and former presenter of a popular Japanese television book review programme, commenting on Be With You

‘Reading this sent me into a trance. I discovered what love really is from this book.’

Ryoko Hirosue, Japanese actress best known outside Japan for her roles in Departures and Wasabi, commenting on Love’s Photographs

  • Takuji Ichikawa
    About Takuji Ichikawa:
    Takuji Ichikawa is an author who ignores traditional boundaries, and is impossible to pigeonhole; whose positive fantastical narratives touch the soul through storytelling that not only 'transforms and heals', but also sells in the millions.

    A full list of the author's publications can be downloaded here as a PDF file.