The Occupation had a hangover, but still the Occupation went to work. Tokyo, July 1949, President Shimoyama, Head of the National Railways of Japan, goes missing just a day after serving notice of 30,000 job losses. In the midst of the US Occupation, against the backdrop of widespread social, political and economic reforms - as tensions and confusion reign - American Detective Harry Sweeney leads the missing person''s investigation for General MacArthur''s GHQ. Some men go mad, some men go missing . Fifteen years later and Tokyo is booming. As the city prepares for the 1964 Olympics and the global spotlight, Hideki Murota, a former policeman during the Occupation period, and now a private investigator, is given a case which forces him to go back to confront a time, a place and a crime he''s been hiding from for the past fifteen years. Some men do both . Over twenty years later, in the autumn and winter of 1988, as the Emperor Showa is dying, Donald Reichenbach, an aging American, eking out a living teaching and translating, sits drinking by the Shinobazu Pond in Ueno, knowing the final reckoning of the greatest mystery of the Showa Era is down to him.
Ryuosuke Akutagawa was one of Japan's great writers. He lived through Japan's turbulent Taisho period, including the devastating 1923 earthquake, only to take his own life at the age of just thirty-five in 1927. Inpsired by Akutagawa's stories, essays and letters, David Peace has fashioned an extraordinary novel of tales. An intense, passionate, haunting paean to one writer, it also thrillingly explores the act of writing itself, and the role of the artist, both in public and private life, in times which darkly mirror our own.