JAPAN SINKS by Sakyo Komatsu


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A few years ago, when Japan had surged to third place among the world's economic powers and was still growing, the runaway best seller in the archipelago was this dire prevision--as if the Japanese, inured to hardship and struggle, could not survive success. . . . It is the near future and ""Japan seems to be very, very shaky"" a crack appears in the wall behind a water fountain, volcanic activity mounts, an island some 200 feet high sinks in a single night. Maverick scientist Tadokoro cries danger and, through the intercession of an elderly eminence, Watari, Plan D is implemented to investigate--with Onodero of Sea Floor Development in command of the deep-sea sub. Within the depths of the Japan Trench, something is churning, writhing forward under pressure; back home, a plague of earthquakes levels whole sections of Kyoto and leaves Tokyo in ruins. What Tadokoro suspects, a simulation model confirms: because of a change in the mantle convection pattern, the Japanese archipelago is sinking beneath the sea. In ten months Japan--industrial behemoth, homeland of 110 million people--will forever disappear. Who will take in the Japanese, ""energetic, earnest, and well-educated workers"" that they are? Without a Japan, can this most insular of peoples endure? A chillingly plausible projection and one of the rare Japanese imports with a popular reach.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row