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Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 4. September 2003

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  • Taschenbuch: 320 Seiten
  • Verlag: Vintage; Auflage: New Ed (4. September 2003)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0099461099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099461098
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 2 x 19,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 60.390 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

Mehr über den Autor

Haruki Murakamis Karriere begann 1974 an einem warmen Frühlingstag: Während eines Baseballspiels kam ihm die Inspiration zu seinem ersten Roman. Es war der Start einer beeindruckenden literarischen Laufbahn des 1949 in Kyoto geborenen Autors. Nach seinem Abschluss an der Waseda-Universität in Tokio betrieb er zunächst eine kleine Jazzbar. Später verbrachte er mehrere Jahre als freier Schriftsteller und Dozent in Princeton, USA. Murakamis Leidenschaft für die Literatur kennt, im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes, keine Grenzen - übersetzt er doch auch berühmte Kollegen wie John Irving ins Japanische.



On Monday 20 March 1995 the Japanese Aum cult released a deadly cloud of Sarin nerve gas into the Tokyo underground. 12 people were killed and an estimated 3,800 suffered serious after-effects. Haruki Murakami, one of Japan's leading novelists (considered by many to be one of the most important writers now writing), was both shocked and fascinated by the awful event. Murakami's response was to interview as many of those affected as he could (only 60 victims were willing to be questioned), interested as he was in the stories created by this one awful event on so many lives. He also interviewed a number of members of the Aum cult: "I'm sure each member of the Science and Technology elite had his own personal reasons for renouncing the world and joining Aum. What they all had in common, though, was a desire to put the technical skill and knowledge they'd acquired in the service of a more meaningful goal ... that might very well be me. It might be you". The result is Underground his first work of non-fiction. Murakami writes complex, sometimes overbearing and dense novels but he here makes very little intervention into his text, simply presenting a background sketch of each before allowing the victims and cult-members to speak freely for themselves through the transcripts. They present an intricate, rounded and cinematic view of day that none of us should ever forget. --Mark Thwaite -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


"Murakami shares with Alfred Hitchcock a fascination for ordinary people being suddenly plucked by extraordinary circumstances from their daily lives" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Not just an impressive essay in witness literature, but also a unique sounding of the quotidian Japanese mind" (Independent)

"A scrupulous and unhistrionic look into the heart of the horror" (Scotsman)

"The testimonies he assembles are striking. From the very beginning Underground is impossibly moving and unexpectedly engrossing" (Time Out)

"There is no artifice or pretension in Underground. There is no need for cleverness. What Murakami describes happens to ordinary people in a frighteningly ordinary way. And it is all the more bizarre for that" (Observer)

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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von klute72 am 26. Oktober 2003
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a very fascinating book, especially the interviews with former members of the Aum sect. It definitely throws light on what kind of personalities are drawn to sects. Both the victims and the perpetrators really opened up to Murakami and I think this must have to do with his interview style, which is most of the time neutral and never judging. It was kind of eerie to see how the Aum members were mostly highly intelligent people, maybe a little lonely and definitely with a tendency toward depression, but not the kind of wackos you would expect when you think of someone attacking people on the subway with sarin. The majority of the book actually consists of interviews with victims of the attack, which give an interesting insight into Japanese mentality and culture. The only part I didn't like were Murakamis attempts at interpretation. Some of it was a little too sentimental and contrived for my taste.
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Von Amazon-Kunde am 19. Juni 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
read this while sitting in the tokyo metro, which definitely added athmosphere... the book offers very personal insights, often described almost businesslike and gives a complete different view at japanese everydays culture as the travel guides do.
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0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Georgia Williams am 3. März 2013
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Murakami ist ein faszinierender Autor, den man einfach lesen muss. Man lernt in seinen Büchern auch das moderne Japan kennen.
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0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von H. Kaluza am 15. Oktober 2010
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Der moderne Mensch lebt nicht mehr in und mit der Natur, sondern in einer gut ausstaffierten Nische. Diese relativ neue Erfahrung bringt den Menschen in ihn überfordernde Situationen - und nicht nur in Japan - so dass wir mit unvorhersehbaren Reaktionen bis auf weiteres rechnen müssen.
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Amazon.com: 68 Rezensionen
70 von 72 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Perfect. 14. Februar 2001
Von Monkey Knuckle Asteroid - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
"Underground" is a strange animal. Murakami is known for his fiction, which is the stuff of seemingly straightforward stories interlaced with strange jaunts into the supernatural, the superreal and the just plain odd. From the historical and subterranean epic of "Wind Up Bird Chronicles" to the science fiction netherworld of "Hard Boiled Wonderland" to the intertwined, haunted love stories of "Wild Sheep Chase" and "Dance Dance Dance" to the seemingly straightforward "Norwegian Wood" and "South of the Border", Murakami has staked out a territory all his own, and erected an aura of genius that no one can penetrate. So, from out of the blue, he turns from fiction and gives us this document of the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack and does it in such a way that it all but confirms his place as one of the most valuable writers working today.
"Underground" documents the coordinated efforts of members of the Aum cult to release Sarin gas on several subway trains in the midst of rush hour. Murakami takes what seems to be a roundabout approach and turns it into the very heart of the matter. Instead of clinically documenting each cult member's actions and the statistics of how many wounded and how many dead in a linear, start-to-finish timeline, Murakami tracks down those who were affected, from the relatives of the dead to those with minor side-effects, and interviews them not only about the attack and the effects it had, but how people reacted, how it changed their views on life and government and religion, and mostly, about the people themselves; where they work, what they do for fun, what kind of people they are. Murakami turns a true-crime document into a snapshot of Japanese life.
Make no mistake though, this is a discomforting and, at turns, horrifying portrait of a seemingly pointless terrorist act. By not just focusing on the relatives of the dead or those left crippled or comatose, he shows us the downstream effect of this one act, of people who still can't avoid their blinding headaches, who cannot sleep without raging nightmares, who still cannot re-adjust to their normal lives because of the intrusion of these few moments. From train conductors to businessmen to students to himself, Murakami explores how all facets of Japanese life reacted to this crime and how it came to shatter people's idyllic visions of a calm and placid society free from the pointless violence that plagues the rest of the world.
In the second half of the book, Murakami interviews former cult members and people who are still members and tries to understand what drew them into the cult in the first place. Exploring the roots of their disillusionment and the kernel of interest that drew them into Aum, Murakami explores their progression into the Aum cult as well as Aum's progression in Japanese society; how it grew from a few members to hundreds, how it expanded its operations and how it quickly imploded after the attack. Murakami does the seemingly impossible feat and allows us to see these members as people, first and foremost, and not just as a part of a faceless mob.
"Underground" is distinctive in how effortlessly it reads, how seamlessly it blends from one story to the next, and how casually it draws lines of connection from one story to the next. Faceless bystanders and samaritans in one account can show up pages later to give their own point of view. Stories are corroborated and contradicted and the picture that emerges in the end is one with as much confusion and untold stories as the incident itself spawned.
Murakami tells of how he was at home during the attack, how he found out through a TV broadcast, and how he came to write the book. What we're left with is a story of cultures, of ideologies, of opinions and observations. It's a rare book because the victims are allowed to tell their stories, even when they protest that their stories are not as important as others', because Murakami does not intrude with theories or arguments or condescending empathy, because people are treated as people, and not just as casualties or cult members. In the end, Murakami's book works so well because, to him, everyone's story matters, and every piece of information is another facet that constructs a life, a society, a crime and (cliched though it may be) the human condition.
I don't think I've read a better book to come out this year....I don't think you will either.
27 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Masterpiece of Multiple Perspectives... 6. August 2001
Von Carl Malmstrom - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
The Tokyo subway sarin gas attack of 1995 is an event that continues to baffle and anger the Japanese. However, as Murakami points out in his book, it is also something the Japanese would prefer to condemn and move on from rather than analyze and try to understand. Murakami's approach is to interview survivors of the attack, relatives of those that have died, and members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult that, while not involved with the gas attack, were members of Aum at the time the attack occurred.
The first two-thirds of the book are dedicated to the survivors and relative interviews. While touching, shocking and surprising, after the first dozen or two, they begin to take on a numbing quality. So many of the stories share so many themes ("I had to get to work...", "I'm not so much angry as confused", etc.) that, in retrospect, they run together. In fact, the two things about the attack that stand out most in my mind are that (a) while some of the survivors and family members are incredibly angry over the situation, most are not so much angry as confused and hurt, and (b) while almost everyone agrees that the situation was handled incredibly poorly by the emergency services and lives were lost as a result, no one wants to sue. They merely wish to get on with their lives.
Where the book really shines, though, is in the Aum interviews. Murakami profiles members of the cult who came from different backgrounds, had different aims in joining Aum and saw different sides of it as members. In this section, we begin to see the breakdown of the "salaryman phenomenon" in Japan at a personal level. People who joined were mostly intelligent, if highly misguided, and wanted more from their lives than office work could give them. Between the two groups, Murakami begins to show a Japan wtih serious social issues straining below the surface of an otherwise quiet and conformist society.
Admittedly, this sort of classification may be a little premature for Japan, but it does indicate the Japan faces the same problems today that many others (like the US) face. I recommend this book not just for those interested in the gas attack and the people were that committed it, but also for the political scientists and the social anthropologists wanting a look at the problems and difficulties facing Japan as a country. While, as Murakami himself says, he is primarily a novelist and this is his first real attempt at nonfiction, I hope he revisits this format in the future when looking at other modern problems in Japan.
23 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A disturbing must-read... 27. Juni 2001
Von Zentao - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I'm a fan of Murakami's fiction so I decided to try out Underground for something different. I came away rather shaken and convinced that the man is a definite genius.
The book centres around the Tokyo subway gas attack that was perpetrated by members of the AUM "cult". They created a special "Science" division with some rather prominent people that, under the cult leader's directions, produced Sarin for the attack. Sarin, originally used by the Germans in WWII, was placed into plastic sacks that were then wrapped in paper. AUM specialists were trained to puncture these packages with specially-sharpened umbrellas on the subway line during morning rush hour. They then escaped at predetermined locations leaving the sacks (rapidly leaking their contents across subway car floors) in the subway.
A scary amount of effort by some rather intelligent people; a very interesting commentary on the complex interweaving of a moral-less science with a horribly-twisted psyche. The death toll was a lot less than it could have been considering the circumstances...
Murakami's genius lies in the fact that the reader is presented with the rather "simple" stories taken from interviews. Only a few interviews does Murakami actually intervene; everywhere else you have only the first person.
The emptiness of modern Japanese life that Murakami potrays so brilliantly in his other books hits home with disturbing force in these oral histories. People walk, much like robots, passed dying people in order to make it to work on time. People who are obviously suffering from the gas (partial blindness, breathing difficulties, etc.) "must get to work" and carry on as if the day was like any other. Scary. I'm not sure who I would pity or who I would feel angry at based on this book since the ordinary citizens seem to be at least as warped as the AUM cultists.
An excellent book that fully exposes the rotten core of modern society. Read it and pass it around...
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very Well Translated to My Satisfaction 5. Dezember 2004
Von Momoko - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Japanese being my first language, this is the only Murakami's book I have read in English. I have read several of his books in Japanese, the original language Murakami's books were written in. The only reason why I read this in English was because a friend of mine gave it to me on my birthday. I usually find translated books not as good as the ones in the original language, but this book impressed me to the extent that I even forgot it was a translation while reading it.

Having read the book, I wondered how many writers, in the whole world, are capable of writing people's life stories like Murakami did in this book. He wrote those reports of people's experiences concisely as though they are beautiful music pieces. Murakami is not a typical Japanese person. He is different in that he is capable of viewing Japanese people and culture as an outsider. Yet he is not an outsider. He is as Japanese as other Japanese. "Underground," however, is beyond the scope of being Japanese or non Japanese. It is in the scope of humanity. I believe only Murakami could possibly write a book like this one. Also, this book differes from other books of Murakami's in that "Underground" is a unique form of a documentary whereas others are considered novels or journals.

One of the most talented writers alive in this era put his version of humanity in a book that could not have been written by anyone else in any other time. That's "Underground."
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Underground in All of Us 30. Mai 2002
Von vanishingpoint - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
If you are looking for the end-all account of the sarin gas attack, you're not going to find it here. Reading this book is akin to hearing highly subjective, deeply personal interviews about the attack. You might find it repetitive (every victim story seems to start with, "My eyes got dim...I couldn't breathe..."), but for me, it never got old, maybe because each reaction belonged to a living person. I never tired of their stories, and Murakami's introduction to each interviewee was a nice deft touch.
The second section is slightly different -- interviews from the perpetrators (the Aum cult), and this time, Murakami often interjects with questions, trying his best to sort out his own feelings as he wrestles with the tragedy. At times it seems as if he's attacking these people, so it's not exactly an unbiased interview. Still, I found this section illuminating. It's amazing how alike all thse Aum people were, and how they were not entirely unlike some people I know, some people I consider my friends.
If you enjoy this book, check out Studs Terkel's "Work," which is where Murakami got his idea for the interview style. And if you like "Work," check out "Gig," an updated version of Terkel's book.
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