The Woman on Everybody's Lips

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The Woman on Everybody's Lips
Author: Hideo Okuda
Specifications: ISBN  978-4103003526
310 pages
13.8 x 19.6 cm / 5.5 x 7.8 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shinchosha Publishing Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, 2012
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In a depressed regional city where there are few decent jobs and old customs die hard, an enchantress wraps wealthy men around her little finger and ultimately rakes in their money.

Although she is not especially beautiful, Miyuki Itoi has a shapely figure that oozes sexuality and turns many a head. She is the daughter of a drinking man who often became violent under the influence and a mother who walked out on him with a paramour. Her half-brother from her father’s second marriage is a yakuza with three convictions on his record. Through high school, Miyuki was among the girls nobody noticed, but once she entered the local junior college she began working in the adult entertainment industry and underwent a transformation in both personality and physical appearance. The story, which is told not from Miyuki’s own point of view but from that of multiple third parties, recounts how during a roughly three-year period beginning when she is 23, she uses sleeping pills to drown three successive lovers/husbands in the bathtub and amasses a small fortune from the proceeds of insurance policies, inheritances, and other means.

At the outset, Miyuki works in the office of a used-car dealership. It is a well-known secret around town that she is the mistress of the president of the dealership’s parent company. When the president suddenly dies, the dealership closes down. Miyuki next joins the staff of a mahjong parlor. Working her feminine charms, she gains the favor of two men?the 38-year-old president of a construction company, and the 65-year-old owner of a realty business. She gets the younger man to bankroll an upscale hostess club for her to operate in the city’s toniest entertainment district, while persuading the older man to make her his third wife. Both men soon die, and Miyuki receives a large payout from her husband’s insurance policy. Having started up a mistress-provider service at her club, Miyuki next attaches herself to Prefectural Representative Inakoshi, who is the grandson of a former yakuza boss and controls the bid rigging among local construction companies. Disturbing questions about Miyuki begin to circulate around town and the police launch an investigation. Then Miyuki disappears with ?200 million in kickbacks Inakoshi has collected from the construction companies . . .

Even more than the cunning and flamboyant Miyuki who wears her ambitions on her sleeve, it is the members of the community around her, especially the small-time crooks?with their blatant sexual come-ons and their schemes for making money without having to work for it even if it means violating the law?who in many ways leave the strongest impression on the reader. Author Hideo Okuda has always excelled at portraying the downtrodden and often slightly ridiculous little guy, and here he is at his best.