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Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche
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Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  7,631 ratings  ·  548 reviews
It was a clear spring day, Monday, March 20, 1995, when five members of the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo conducted chemical warfare on the Tokyo subway system using sarin, a poison gas twenty-six times as deadly as cyanide. The unthinkable had happened, a major urban transit system had become the target of a terrorist attack.

In an attempt to discover why, Haruki Murakami
ebook, 384 pages
Published August 11th 2010 by Vintage (first published March 13th 1997)
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Amazing, thoughtful compilation of interviews conducted by Murakami. While the accounts of the gas attack itself are both shocking and fascinating, it also gives invaluable insight into what it means to be Japanese and the life that is expected of you. In fact, when reading the rigid and all-prevailing work ethic of the commuters on their way to work on the doomed trains, the sense of entrapping routine makes you wonder how 'crazy' the interviewed Aum members are for wanting to escape it. A cul ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
There was a terrorist attack in the Tokyo subway system carried out in 1995 by a religious cult called Aum. They released poison gas, called sarin, during rush hour on several different train lines, killing 13 people, and injuring hundreds of others.

This book contains interviews of people caught in the attack, as well as interviews of members of the Aum cult, although none of them were perpetrators of the attack.

As a reader from another country, I feel like I'm missing a lot. I read the book fe
This is actually two books. Part I (1-223), titled "Underground" (Andaguraundo) was published in 1997; Part II ("The Place that was Promised") was written and published separately the following year.

Part I consists of interviews with the victims (see updates; this section is too long and is tedious). Part II consists of interviews with members and former members of Aum Shinrikyo.

And this is where things get really weird....

The members of this cult -- who r
Jan 18, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in cults
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: the library shelf
The bestselling novelist Haruki Murakami gives a Studs Terkelish treatment to the Tokyo sarin gas attacks of 1995 which killed 12 and injured hundreds. There's a great deal about Terkel's methods to like (when Terkel uses them), but they fall flat here. I don't think the oral history treatment works well in this instance, in which every victim is in the same location (the subway system) and is subjected to the same assault; the approximately 30 victim accounts are extremely repetitive, which bec ...more
The rain that fell on the city runs down the dark gutters and empties into the sea without even soaking the ground.
The sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995 were perpetrated by Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese religious cult, and attracted wide media attention. Aum emerged in 1984 when previously strict measures by the Japanese government against new religions were relaxed. During the post-war American occupation and in the years following, this laxness was an attempt to show that the new pol
I still remember the first time I came across this book at the local used-book store. I was about to check out with my purchases when I noticed a book with Murakami written on its spine behind the woman at the counter, so I asked her for it & quickly looked up the book on Goodreads. But I wasn't really keen on non-fiction back then, someone on my friends' list had given it a one-star rating & I being short on cash conspired together & I didn't buy it. Bad judgement on my part, now th ...more
On March 20, 1995 a Japanese religious cult, called Aum Shinrikyo released sarin gas onto five subway trains during the morning rush hour. Cult members entered trains near the front with two or three newspaper-wrapped packets of sarin, piercing the packets with sharpened umbrellas the members were able to get off the train with minimal injury due to the gas.

In Japan, this book was published as two: the first being interviews with sarin survivors that had been affected in some way, even just havi
This a collection of interviews with the victims of the Tokyo subway gas attack, in the first part, and with some (ex)members of the cult that did carry out the attack. Although I did find the latter part more interesting, the first one is very revealing as well. Murakami sets out to show how the event was felt by those directly involved in it. What exactly happened that very morning? What did people do? Who reacted how? And the answers are very surprising, at times unbelievable. One of the most ...more
Thanh Hằng
Đọc Ngầm, tôi sợ. Tôi thấy mình cứ yếu đi dần dần với mỗi chân dung người hiện ra. Chưa có quyển sách nào của Murakami lại khiến tôi sợ đến vậy.

Thường sách của Murakami sẽ khiến tôi hơi khó hiểu chỗ này chỗ kia, bối rối và mệt mỏi truy tìm ý nghĩa một chút. Ngầm thì là sách phi hư cấu, nhưng lại khiến tôi sợ kinh khủng. Không phải nỗi sợ mơ hồ những điều không đoán định được như ma quỷ, mà vì những điều tăm tối nhất trong con người (cả con người tôi, nhất là con người tôi), vốn bị nén chặt ở tầ
Seth Hahne
Murakami's Underground was by turns devastating and intriguing. There were moments I wanted to abandon humanity in a wastebin behind an abortion clinic and others when I sat there dumbfounded, thinking Wow, humanity, you're like the most interesting people on earth. Love to hate to love to hate. Again and again.

That's what books about patent insanities do to me.

Underground chronicles the psychological aftermath of Aum Shinrikyo's 1995 deposit of Sarin nerve gas across several of the mass-transit
Thomas Hübner

“The date is Monday 20 March, 1995. It is a beautiful clear spring morning. There is still a brisk breeze and people are bundled up in coats. Yesterday was Sunday, tomorrow is the Spring Equinox, a national holiday. Sandwiched right in the middle of what should have been a long weekend, you’re probably thinking “I wish I didn’t have to go to work today.” No such luck. You got up at the normal time, wash, dress, breakfast, and head for the subway station. You b
I read it to get a better understanding of 1Q84. I wouldn’t say it’s essential reading for it, but it's very helpful to understanding the book’s themes and characters. Underground is a non-fiction account of Aum Shinrikyo’s sarin gas terrorist attack in the Tokyo subway in March, 1995. Aum Shinrikyo was a doomsday cult and the attack happened to fulfil its leader’s prophecy that a gas attack in Tokyo was to start the Third World War and lead to Armageddon. The attack killed 13 people (the last o ...more
Chelsea Szendi
This book proves two things I've long suspected about Murakami Haruki. One is that he'd be a lot more interesting if he'd deny his own ego every once in a while, and the second is that he is not very skilled at analysis. This book of Murakami's is nonfiction and almost entirely the compiled testimonies of survivors of the March 20, 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway.

At first the experiment is absolutely absorbing. In his prologue, Murakami promises to explore the kind of "double victimization
Jee Koh
I'm planning to visit Japan in August and so when I found Haruki Murakami's work of journalism Underground at Kramerbooks in D.C., I bought it immediately, for who can resist a book subtitled "The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche"?

The first, and bigger, part of the book consists of interviews with the victims of the gas attacks, and the family of those who died. These interviews are ordered according to the subway lines on which the Aum attack on March 20, 1995, a Monday, took place. Di
Knar   Avetisian
A book of Murakami about Tokyo gas attack, that left only 12 people dead but 1000s were intoxicated.

The first part of the book includes a number of interviews of injured people, their memories and feelings about all of it.

The second part of the book includes the interviews with members and formers of the attack. I haven't read this book till the end as it was written in a very boring way. But i was able to make my mind about it and get that there was nothing special about this book, except the
Một quyển sách rất bổ ích, nhưng mà tui hông thích bàn luận tôn giáo và những khái niệm trừu tượng trong này. Thấy nó rắc rối tợn :(
A 20 de março de 1995 eu tinha 11 anos e é estranho que não me lembre de ver na televisão imagens do atentado em Tóquio. O nome Aum Shinrikyo também não me dizia nada, por isso este livro foi para mim, em vários aspetos, uma revelação. Conhecer os contornos de um ataque com gás sarin no metropolitano mais movimentado do mundo e tentar perceber melhor a mentalidade japonesa foram argumentos suficientes para me entusiasmar.
Esta edição junta dois livros que foram publicados no Japão em anos diferen
Did you know that there is an article on Wikipedia entitled, "List of people claimed to be Jesus"? I suppose I shouldn't be excessively surprised; Wikipedia is the Amazon of information, containing tons and tons and tons of stuff while simultaneously engendering mistrust or negative feelings. Personally, I don't think Amazon is the devil--especially since I just ordered, received, and used the new OPI Glitter-Off Base Coat (yes! This stuff is the best!) when Ulta didn't have it--but they do have ...more
Dimitris Hall
I find it very interesting reading non-fiction by writers that are generally better known for their novels. I like taking a sneak peek at how they perceive and document real events and whether their love for the imaginary can affect the way they tell a story.

For some reason I have connected Murakami with magical realism, even if I've only read one other book of his and that not one of his most well-known. This book, then, didn't feel like Murakami - possibly because I have no clear idea of what

I started to read this book when it came out. After 130 pages I was bored and put it on my shelf where it laid for eight years. I don't like unfinished business and it was bothering me to have an unread book in my room, so I picked it up two weeks ago to finally finish what I started so long ago.

Underground is a series of separate interviews Murakami conducted with 60 victims of the gas attacks in the Tokyo subway and 8 members of the Aum-sect, descriptions of how the attacks were carried out.
The effects of terrorism on individuals as diverse as one could imagine. Old, wealthy, poor, young, from city and rural and more. Individual non-fiction interviews in which Murakami uses no voice other than those who were impacted by the The Tokyo Gas Attack. The impact on each survivor and those close to them is told in a way that I found at times to be dry and then five minutes later I would cry. What we get here is the truth with no embellishments by the author. Read this if you want to feel ...more
This was not the typical Murakami. Because it's non-fiction. Because most words are not Murakami's. Regardless, it's a Murakami book. It took me a few pages to understand this, but then testimony by testimony I savoured it slowly.

Underground is a glimpse onto Japanese society in face of a major disaster, the sarin attack in Tokyo's metro. This was perpetrated by Japanese people, on a weekday during rush hour and inflicted onto Japanese people. Almost unthinkable on the days before it took place.
‘The date is Monday 20 March, 1995. It is a beautiful clear spring morning. There is still a brisk breeze and people are bundled up in coats. Yesterday was Sunday, tomorrow is the Spring Equinox, a national holiday. Sandwiched right in the middle of what should have been a long weekend, you’re probably thinking “I wish I didn’t have to go to work today.” No such luck. You get up at the normal time, wash, dress, breakfast, and head for the subway station. You board the train, crowded as usual. No ...more
I know the subway line in Tokyo that the AUM attacked very well. It goes through the 'posh' or expensive areas of Tokyo - as well as some leading tourist sites - the Ginza, Roppongi. Then the unthinkable happened - especially in Tokyo. The gas attack.

Murakami and an assistant interviewed everyone who was on that train line that morning - so the reader gets slightly different versions what happened on the subway line. All the victims talk about their bad health after-affects of course, but what i
When I first started reading this book, I must admit: I was bored. However, I forced myself to keep going and keep reading, and I'm glad that I did. My favourite part is when Murakami interviewed the Aum followers. Reading about Aum, it really made me think about the media: and how it twists stories to whatever they like... it makes me feel differently about listening to the media all the time. Aum believers think of themselves as out of this world, when really in my opinion they are only feelin ...more
Mi Camino Blanco
El 20 de marzo de 1995 la secta japonesa Aum llevó a cabo un atentado en el metro de Tokio, liberando gas sarín en cinco puntos de ese laberíntico trazado. El autor japonés Murakami se convierte en un mero intermediario en este libro para hacernos llegar la voz de algunos de los protagonistas de aquél día, víctimas afectadas en la primera parte y adeptos o ex – adeptos de la secta en la segunda. El mismo cuenta al principio que no hay más elaboración en los testimonios que la necesaria para hace ...more
I really liked this book, but it suffered from what I thought was a pretty glaring flaw - at no point does Murakami or any of his interviewees, which include current and former members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, discuss the motive for the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. I think that would have gone a long way toward an understanding of the Aum cult, which Murakami tries to provide in the latter part of the book.
Allora, sono a pagina 150 circa.
Trovo che questo libro sia molto interessante, intanto tra i libri di Murakami che ho letto è quello in cui si vedono di più le differenze tra la nostra cultura e quella giapponese.
È strano vedere come le singole persone hanno vissuto a modo loro gli attentali, come hanno agito sul momento, come successivamente li hanno elaborati.
Sono bellissimi i capitoli su Shizuko e suo fratello, Murakami è entrato in sintonia con loro, e riesce a coinvolgerci in questa "unione
I would give an additional .5 of a star, if I could.

A fascinating look into the human psyche, memory, and society. Murakami's conclusions about society's failure to offer many people meaning, and how this can lead to isolation and the seeking of community in cults that can lead to dangerous activities, is especially poignant in the wake of another public shooting spree in the U.S.

I'm glad Murakami provided interviews with both people affected by the gas attack and those involved in the cult tha

Underground is Murakami's way of "figuring" out the 1995 Tokyo sarin gas attack. The way he decided to do this was by first interviewing some of the survivors and, in some cases, the relatives of the deceased, and second - just to give us a glimpse of the other side of the coin - interviewing some of the Aum cult followers. There was a brief Murakami piece - I struggle calling it an analysis - between the two sets of interviews. This brief interlude in the middle is, in my opinion, the weak
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Haruki Murakami (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am
More about Haruki Murakami...
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“The rain that fell on the city runs down the dark gutters and empties into the sea without even soaking the ground” 15 likes
“If you lose your ego, you lose the thread of that narrative you call your Self. Humans, however, can't live very long without some sense of a continuing story. Such stories go beyond the limited rational system (or the systematic rationality) with which you surround yourself; they are crucial keys to sharing time-experience with others.

Now a narrative is a story, not a logic, nor ethics, nor philosophy. It is a dream you keep having, whether you realize it or not. Just as surely as you breathe, you go on ceaselessly dreaming your story. And in these stories you wear two faces. You are simultaneously subject and object. You are a whole and you are a part. You are real and you are shadow. "Storyteller" and at the same time "character". It is through such multilayering of roles in our stories that we heal the loneliness of being an isolated individual in the world.

Yet without a proper ego nobody can create a personal narrative, any more than you can drive a car without an engine, or cast a shadow without a real physical object. But once you've consigned your ego to someone else, where on earth do you go from there?

At this point you receive a new narrative from the person to whom you have entrusted your ego. You've handed over the real thing, so what comes back is a shadow. And once your ego has merged with another ego, your narrative will necessarily take on the narrative created by that ego.

Just what kind of narrative?

It needn't be anything particularly fancy, nothing complicated or refined. You don't need to have literary ambitions. In fact, the sketchier and simpler the better. Junk, a leftover rehash will do. Anyway, most people are tired of complex, multilayered scenarios-they are a potential letdown. It's precisely because people can't find any fixed point within their own multilayered schemes that they're tossing aside their own self-identity.”
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