16 April, Takeru Kaidou

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Witch or Goddess?

My name is Tsuita Senryū. I’m a starving writer.
  The world is clamoring for everyone to stay home. Seizing upon the moment, struggling publishers have stopped holding so-called meetings for the purpose of wining and dining their writers. No doubt it was the perfect opportunity for them to cut off the deadbeats eating and drinking their fill without producing any work. But staying home for a serious writer is business as usual.

No problema

. Now is the time of the true writer, one striving down the righteous path as I am. Fwahahaha!
  So I thought, until just a moment ago when—
  An old man with a white beard appeared like a puff of smoke before me, a paragon of writers.
  I am God, he began. I have determined to obliterate oppressive humankind. But I shall grant you—who have dedicated yourself to the true path of a writer—one last chance. I will say it once, so listen well. As the coronavirus spreads, Prime Minister Saizō Anpo is fixated on holding the Olympics even at an additional cost of 300 billion yen. If he chooses money over life, I shall bring down the hammer over all of humanity. The lone ray of hope is a revolt by the governor of Tokyo, Yoshiko Kohinata; however, the odds that a rebellion will come to pass are fifty-fifty. Like the infantile prime minister, Kohinata has two faces—that of a witch thinking only of her desires, and that of a goddess who loves others. When the final decision over the fate of the Olympics is to be made, there is no telling which face the governor will take up; however, there is one way to discern this. If, in her re-election campaign, she pledges to cancel the Olympics, she is a goddess. If she pledges that the Olympics will go on, she is a witch. Your task is to write a bestseller that alludes to this truth, and bring about the destruction of the witch before a final decision can be made. Hurry. You must publish the work in May ahead of the July gubernatorial election, or the plan will lose potency.
  The bearded old man vanished like a puff of smoke as quickly as he appeared.
  Was it a dream? The old man’s message was imprinted indelibly on my mind. The calendar read April 16. I would have to write the thing in the next two weeks if it were to be published in mid-May. Can I do it? Yes, if I can just come up with a story, I’m capable of writing a hundred pages a day. I’ll do it! For humanity! Why, I’ll dash out a book in no time!
  In the next moment, I went from jubilant to holding my head in my hands. No publisher would put out the work in such a politically censorious nation as the Japan of today. Not to mention, I’d criticized the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare in an essay series for a health and wellness site owned by the Imperial Financial Newspaper group, and had been warned, Delete inappropriate sections, or the piece will not be published. When I refused, the piece was killed. The order to banish me has probably made the rounds to every major newspaper and publisher by now.
  What am I to do? Humanity is headed toward certain destruction.
  Oh, is there no God or Buddha in this world?

Translated by Takami Nieda/Arranged by TranNet KK

Takeru Kaidou
Born 1961. Works as a doctor and a writer. Made his literary debut in 2006 with

Chīmu Bachisuta no eikō

(The glory of team Batista), for which he won the 4th KONOMYS (This mystery novel is amazing!) Award. His

Sakuramiya sāga

(Sakuramiya saga) series has cumulatively sold over 10,000,000 copies. An advocate of digital autopsy, his writings on the subject include

Shiin fumei shakai 2018

(The society with unknown causes of death 2018). Many of his works have been adapted for film, including

Burakku pean 1988

(Black pean 1988),

Jīn warutsu

(Gene waltz) and

Raden meikyū

(Raden Labyrinth). He is currently working on his

Pōrā sutā

(Polar star) series, set in the Cuban Revolution, with

Pōrā sutā 4: Fideru hishō

(Polar star 4: Fidel’s flight) set for publication in July 2020. His most recent work is


(Prison of ice). He also plans to publish a side-story continuation of the Sakuramiya saga series,

Korona mokushiroku

(Corona apocalypse) in July 2020.




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