I Want to Kick You in the Back

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I Want to Kick You in the Back
Author: Risa Wataya
Specifications: ISBN  978-4309015705
140 pages
13.2 x 19.0 cm / 5.3 x 7.6 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, Publishers
Tokyo, 2003
Awards: Akutagawa Prize, 2003
Translations: French, Italian, English
Print logo
Country Languages Publisher Title ISBN Translator Affiliate Link
France French Editions Philippe Picuier Appel du pied 9782809700169 Patrick Honnoré
Italy Italian Einaudi Solo con gli occhi 9788806179861 A. Pastore
United States English One Peace Books I Want to Kick You in the Back 978-1935548430 Julianne Neville
Buy now: amazon.co.jp


Hatsu, the first-person narrator, is a freshman in high school and a member of the track and field club. It is June, and two months have passed since school started. As her classmates begin to form cliques, she decides to isolate herself. She is sick of pretending to laugh just to make it look like she has friends. One day, a fellow outcast from Hatsu's home economics class?a boy named Ninagawa?invites her to come over to his house after school. Ninagawa is an otaku fan of Ori-chan, a celebrity model that Hatsu has met before, and he wants to use this opportunity to find out all he can about her. Thus begins Hatsu's ambivalent relationship with Ninagawa. As summer break approaches, he asks her to go with him to Ori-chan's first-ever concert (popular models often become singers or actors in Japan); he already has tickets, and she can bring her friend Kinuyo.

There is an interesting scene midway through the story. Ninagawa is in his room with Hatsu, headphones on, listening to Ori-chan talk on the radio. Hatsu narrates: "I want to kick this sadly curled, vulnerable back of his. I want to see Ninagawa hurt. This novel desire that suddenly sprouted up was like a flash of light, and for an instant it blinded me."

Hatsu then kicks Ninagawa in the back.

This novella is an excellent work that meticulously explores the cool, even chilly thoughts of a girl who longs for some kind of relationship, she just isn't sure what.