Wedding Island
Author: Yukiko Mari
Specifications: ISBN  978-4093864756
348 pages
13.4 x 19.4 cm / 5.3 x 7.7 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shogakukan Inc.
Tokyo, 2017
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This is a deeply disturbing suspense story of unsolved serial murders and the sinister history behind a disappearing island.

In 2006, three people are murdered in what comes to be known as the December 1 murders. The victims are Masakazu Ichinose, a young actor, Lily Naoki, a former pornographic film star, and Julie Kunisaki, Lily’s daughter and also an actress.

At 33, Julie is a struggling actress with no claim to fame, her only friend another actress named Ruby. She is dating the charismatic Masakazu Ichinose, a well-known womanizer and son of the famous movie director Akiyoshi Kano.

Ruby and Masakazu are spending the night together at a hotel when Ruby receives a call from her mother, who is despondent and hints at suicide. By the time Ruby gets to the apartment where her mother lives, she has been taken in an ambulance to the hospital. At the hospital, Ruby is questioned by the police. They want to know her relationship with Masakazu, who was found dead right after she rushed out to see her mother. That same day, Julie is found dead in her own condo.

Looming behind these mysterious deaths is the volcanic island of Shūgen, which erupts on the eve of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, forcing survivors to move to Tokyo. Years later, it is as if Shūgen had never existed, but the movie director Kano undertakes to film a documentary about the island. In the process, it is revealed that there once was a reformatory on the island housing children with behavioral problems. These children were subjected to lobotomies to correct their problem behavior.

It turns out that Kano was one of these children, sent to the reformatory for having a gender identity disorder that compelled him to dress as a girl. He has a lobotomy that years later leaves him with multiple personalities. At one point he assumes the identity of Sara Kokonoe, a deceased woman, and later even forges a career as a woman stylist known as Sara Nona.

Another former resident of the island is Lily. Kano approaches her saying he wants to film a documentary about her, but Lily is not interested, choosing instead to pursue a career as a pornography star. At one point Kano and Lily are lovers, but he abandons her when she becomes pregnant. Lily gives birth to Ruby and raises her on her own. Lily resents Kano for abandoning her and attacks him repeatedly on her blog.

Ruby grows up to become an actress, but she struggles, and her agency decides she must undergo a lobotomy. The surgery turns her into Julie, but every so often Ruby makes her presence known and the two personalities converse.

The murders, as it turns out, were committed by Kano, who is actually just one of the split personalities of Akira, the illegitimate younger brother of Yoshishige Shinonome, the plastic surgeon who performed the lobotomies. Julie and Masakazu are, in fact, Kano’s children, and their relationship is therefore incestuous. Kano murders them to ensure he will have no descendants with deviant sexual behavior. He also kills Lily whose constant berating has become bothersome.

The story ends with the aging Yoshishige holding an icepick in his hand as he prepares to perform a lobotomy on Akira, who has begged him to erase once and forever the troublesome personality of Akiyoshi Kano.