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Popular Hits of the Showa Era: A Novel

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  1,094 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
In his most irreverent novel yet, Ryu Murakami creates a rivalry of epic proportions between six aimless youths and six tough-as-nails women who battle for control of a Tokyo neighborhood. At the outset, the young men seem louche but harmless, their activities limited to drinking, snacking, peering at a naked neighbor through a window, and performing karaoke. The six "aunt ...more
Published January 31st 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1994)
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K. A. O'Neil
Dec 20, 2011 K. A. O'Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I never would have thought so just by looking at it, but I believe this is what I've been looking for.

It's offbeat and familiar and hideous and alluring in perfect balance.

It's the literary love of my life.

When I showed Scott Fitzgerald the divorce papers, he was like "Really, Katie? For a 200-page Japanese novel from 1994?"

"It was just translated to English last year," I told him, a single tear sliding down my cheek.

Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
This is a really fun read, yet very different to the other Ryu Murakami book I have read, Piercing. PHotSE sits further toward the "light entertainment" end of the spectrum, but I enjoyed it very much all the same. The storyline centres around two groups of very dysfunctional people: a group of young men who are socially...... retarded, and a group of catty, self-absorbed 30-40ish women (oba-sans). In both cases, the members are disconnected from each other as well as society. When war erupts be ...more
Richard Derus
The Book Report: Six dreadfully bored, dreadfully sociopathic young twentysomething men find each other, and for want of anything better to do, start hanging out. They drink, they eat, they talk at but not to each other, and no one bothers to listen because no one has anything to say that means any-damn-thing in the others' solipsistic brainiverses.
Six dreadfully bored, dreadfully ugly and unloving, unloved thirtysomething women find each other, and for want of anything better to do, start hangi
Leo Robertson
This book is awesome!

I picked it up expecting a daft switch-off read, and that's exactly what I was provided with, and a whole lot more :-)

Best way to describe it:
Best way to define this book.

The only other Ryū Murakami book I read was Piercing, which is more of an intimate psychological study, whereas this book is clearly overblown fun and contrasting the two books really shows his versatility as an author.

Funny, crazy, and better yet, probably some parable for modern Japanese society that I don't really care to investigat
Razvan Zamfirescu
”Numai criminalii mai au sens în zilele noastre” - spune un personaj care tocmai ce și-a înfipt cuțitul într-o mătușică de treizeci și ceva de ani.
Această crimă pornește conflictul dintre tinerii iubitori de karaoke în aer liber care râd din senin și a proasta și mătușicile de 30 și ceva de ani, divorțate, cu pielea fleoșcăită, cu viețile în pioneze și cu apetitul sexual uitat prin vreo plasă la un supermarket.
Aceasta este intepretarea lui Ryu Murakami la războiul dintre generații. Adică război
I think that I have read enough Ryu Murakami at this point to safely consider myself a connoisseur without sounding like too much of an asshole. This Japanese horror writer always manages to tickle my gag reflex or give me school bus giggles. He is lurid. He is inventive. He is hilarious.

However, if I wasn't a Murakami-sseur, I'm not sure his most-recently translated to English novella "Popular Hits of the Showa Era" would inspire the sort of supple roots, oaky after taste-style of fandom I've
Đorđe Bajić
Mar 11, 2015 Đorđe Bajić rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, humor
Ovo je bilo baš zabavno! I krvavo, bogme. Mirikamija sam zavoleo zahvaljujući romanima "U miso supi" i "Audicija". "Karaoke strave" su me razonodile, mada, da se ne lažemo, roman ima u sebi i dosta toga istinski uznemirujućeg. Posebno mi je zanimljivo što Murakami u ovom romanu ima kolektivnog junaka. To se retko sreće.

Za City Magazine sam napisao prikaz, pa pročitajte:
Sep 01, 2012 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"They always say that when human beings are extinct, the only living thing left will be the cockroach, but that's bullshit. It's the Oba-san" (Oba-san refers to middled aged women in Japan)

This totally irreverent, violent and somewhat bizarre novel has some incredibly funny moments. A group of young males, misfits in their own right, gather weekly for a party in Nobue's apartment to drink, giggle hysterically, munch on snacks, lust after a woman in an apartment across the street and put on costu
Nov 15, 2010 Carlos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of transgressive fiction
Shelves: read-2010
Popular Hits of the Showa Era is the story of surreal conflict between two groups of the marginalized in the Japan of the late '80s. It starts as the tale of a group of dissolute young men, who have taken to gathering together once a week for what might charitably called parties, at which they interact very little yet still feel some sense of camaraderie. A chance encounter on the streets leads to a conflict with another group of outcasts. These are six women in the thirties, all divorcees, who ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2013 Hesper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I initially had this dim notion the review would be some sort of thing about societal abandonment and meaning, blah blah, replete with A Clockwork Orange references, blah blah blah, but with as much forthright and hilarious nihilism as this novel has, I just can't.

It would be criminal.

Instead, I offer you the soundtracks to the first and final chapters: "Season of Love" and "Until We Meet Again".

Oh, Ryū Murakami, I think I love you.

Feb 08, 2011 Josh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Honestly: Just sort of a stupid, seemingly pointless little novel-- and crass to boot. The prose is clumsy, and the story-- about a group of terminally bored Japanese who turn to shocking acts of violence and terrorism as their one source of real engagement with the world-- fails to make any substantive point or even be entertaining, feeling instead like a sort of "exploitation" story, only devoid of any style or humor. To give you an idea of how dumb this book is: There are multiple scenes that ...more
„Karaoke strave“ je treća (ostale su „Plavo, gotovo prozirno“ i „U miso supi“) i po mom mišljenju najbolja knjiga Rjua Murakamija (Onog Drugog Murakamija, kako volim da ga vikam) koju sam do sada pročitao.
U pitanju je snažan i satiričan prikaz savremenog (japanskog) društva, sa veoma britkim i duhovitim opaskama kako samih junaka tako i naratora. Elem, roman prati grupu od šestoro momaka, mi bi rekli luzera (i očiglednih pičkopaćenika), koji ne mogu da pronađu bilo kakav smisao svoga postojanja.
Jul 13, 2012 Darryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an absurd comic novel and cultural satire set just after the completion of the Showa Era, which refers to the reign of Emperor Hirohito from 1926-1989. The first set of main characters are six young men, who are each nihilistic misfits that have been largely abandoned by their families and the larger society, but find common ground in each other and a shared interest in mindless violence and an elaborate and somewhat disturbing karaoke ritual. If you can visualize a group of Beavis & ...more
Apr 01, 2012 Romain rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
D'habitude je suis client des romans de Ryū Murakami. Ils se déroulent souvent dans un japon désenchanté en proie à la violence gratuite. Il ose choquer et raconter des histoires sordides qui font réagir. Ce roman n'échappe pas à la règle puisque la violence est à peu près le seul thème du livre. Le vide laissé volontairement à côté de celle-ci met en exergue le non sens de l'existence, du nihilisme pur. Pour en revenir à l'histoire, il s'agit pour schématiser d'un gros règlement de compte entre ...more
Jan 18, 2013 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book. The writing is really well done, from the character buildup, to the noticeable changes in style to go along with each character's personality (especially the crazed Ishihara), to the vivid descriptions, to just the overall concept of an escalating blood feud between a group of thirty-somethings Japanese housewives and a group of twenty-somethings apparently deranged and lunatic deadbeat guys. Oh and it's a feud that ends with an entire city being burned. What's not to love about ...more
Feb 18, 2011 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frankly, I'm not quite sure how I feel about this one. On one hand the lurid absurdity of the entire epic battle between 6 male 20-somethings and 6 female mid to late 30 y/os does appeal to my love of over the top shock fiction. However, it is almost too ridiculous in its unbelievablity that its comment on social groups leaves nothing to be analyzed. Granted that very well be the point. It certainly pushes stereotypes to the limits and beyond.

I'd be hard pressed to say I didn't enjoy it and hon
Jan 09, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese
Translated by Ralph McCarthy in an arrestingly stilted, surreal way (with an almost fansub-like reliance upon, and reference to, Japanese honorifics, pet names and the occasional bit of leftover vocabulary that I managed to take in stride but I could imagine being a little off-putting to someone unfamiliar with the language) this might be the strangest Ryū Murakami book I've yet read. The back of the American edition, at least, holds rather massive spoilers, considering the book is fairly short, ...more
Peguei o livro para ler por tédio ou por querer ver mais coisa da literatura japonesa, não lembro. A prosa deste Murakami é um pouco diferente e me foi difícil de acompanhar no começo, mas logo fui entendendo o enredo e a proposta e não parou mais. Achei surpreendente. O conflito das obasans com os jovens delinquentes foi algo que não esperava, os personagens são interessantes e simpáticos (mesmo quando não são) e a escrita diferente do Ryu Murakami é bem única. O final realmente me impressionou ...more
Jul 10, 2015 Ray rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Puerile and violent. Should be five stars from me then.

The plot is an absurd face off between six nerds and an equal number of "aunties" - unmarried ladies in their thirties -which descends into a maelstrom of death and chaos. The action escalates until a fuel air bomb takes out a whole district of Tokyo.

Not sure why but this just didn't grab me. I think it was because Murakami tries too hard to be wacky. It may be the translation - who knows.
Philippe Malzieu
Sep 25, 2014 Philippe Malzieu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A true novel of Murakami Ryu, full with noise and fury. The history is completely improbable. 6 thirty year old women make the war with 6 post-teenagers. That finishes with blow of bazooka in a quasi destruction of Tokyo.
It is a kind of exercise of style, a literary manga often (involuntarily) funny.
Murakami is able to write in a classical way with success as in Raffles hotel. But it is in excess and baroque disproportion he takes all his scale.
This novel is one of his best.
Dejan  Vesic
Uh, ne znam šta da kažem :-)

Likovi su toliko "pomereni" da sam s vremena na vreme imao problem da ih prihvatim :-)

I radnja je više nego čudna, posebno kraj.

U svakom slučaju, ako hoćete nešto drugačije - čitajte.
Sep 15, 2014 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark comedy done right. Witticism bordering on nonsense interweaved with gore - this read was almost self-indulgent for me.
Sam Reader



      Okay, the rundown is as follows: This is a wonderful satire of two groups of disaffected people who somehow find their way in the world through karaoke and murdering each other. While this is well-written, it's more about the relationships between the two groups, whose dwindling members are experiencing life and bringing each other closer by slowly picking off the other side. The murders are a very small part of it. The characters are overly-cartoonish and sociopathic, but
Dec 26, 2010 Layne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
Ridiculous plot, not as scary or suspenseful as his other works.
Rating: 3.5 of 5
I initially found Popular Hits of the Showa Era through a review by Arria Cross@Fujinsei–which you should go read right away, because it’s excellent and information and also fun. One of the things Arria mentions about this book is the dark humor of it, and I can totally see that it is written to appeal to a dark sense of humor. Personally, I didn’t find it funny (sorry), but I can very much appreciate that there are people to whom this book would be absolutely hilarious in a dist
Mirko Liang
Two groups of people dance and laugh and play in the suburban Tokyo of the mid 90s. Young Weirdos on one side, The Midori Society of elder ladies on the other. Out of the blue, one of youngsters on a sudden rampage kills one of the ladies. Boy, that escalates quickly.
I thought this was a very funny novel, filled with dark comedy and satire. Like he often does in his novels, Murakami doesn't miss the chance to stash some small digressions and comments here and there about the state of Japanes
Hamish Gibb
This follows the Ryu Murakami formula with cartoonesque characters and violence which is described in its mechanical detail but is viewed by the reader in all its grizzly detail.. The world inhabited by the characters is really two dimensional but the absurdity of the plot and it's manifest deaths and revenges of ever increasing severity remain quite gripping all the same. The surreal bordering on the fantastical also allow the reader to be carried along by the author in this short novel.
John Dolan
This is a somewhat off-the-wall crazy novel depicting an unlikely war between six aimless young men and a gang of hard-nosed women. Parts of it are positively surreal. While it lacks the tension of Murakami's 'Piercing', there are some genuinely funny (if rather brutal) sections, and one of the minor characters - the junior college girl who acts as a catalyst to the revenge antics - is a work of comic genius.
Unknown Reader
Je pense, juste, que c'est la lecture la plus bizarre que j'ai jamais faite. Je reste perplexe et préfère alors ne pas noter le livre en étoiles.
****** Mon avis complet sur : ******
C'est mon premier roman de Ryu Murakami. Son style cru et trash ne m'a pas totalement déplu, car ça m'a aidé à imaginer cet univers sale où sont baignés les protagonistes. Et malgré la violence, le sexisme et la vulgarité qui enrobe le récit, j'ai retrouvé de
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Ryū Murakami (村上 龍) is a Japanese novelist and filmmaker. He is not related to Haruki Murakami or Takashi Murakami.

Murakami's first work, the short novel Almost Transparent Blue, written while he was still a student, deals with promiscuity and drug use among disaffected Japanese youth. Critically acclaimed as a new style of literature, it won the newcomer's literature prize in 1976 despite some ob
More about Ryū Murakami...

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“Words themselves aren't that important. Even if somebody says words that shock you, or make you want to kill them, or make you tremble with emotion, the words themselves you tend to forget in time. Words are just tools we use to express or communicate something.” 24 likes
“Oba-sans, to put it in somewhat difficult terms, are life-forms that have stopped evolving. And anyone can turn into an Oba-san. Young women, of course, but even young men, even middle-aged men —even children. You turn into an Oba-san the instant you lose the will to evolve.” 6 likes
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