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[Earthlings] Sayaka Murata: This world is a factory for making human beings. Working tools and reproductive organs

earthlings
This article can be read in about 13 minutes.

In the previous post, I described my impression of Sayaka Murata’s novel “Convenience Store Man” and she recommended that I read “Earth Alien” which is also interesting! and I immediately read it.

When I read the same author’s work in succession, I still have memories of the previous work, so I compare it with the previous one,

It was easy to get into my head, “Is this writer interested in social issues or this part of human relations?” or “Is this point common in style and writing expression?” I felt it was good to continue reading the same writer’s works.

Earth Alien was released after Convenience Store Man, and I got the impression that he had already taken the discomfort of “normal” in society, which he had already confronted in Convenience Store Man, to the extreme.

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Summary

Unable to accept the world that forces her to fall in love and reproduce, 34-year-old Natsuki lives in a sexless marriage with her husband, whom she found on the Internet. When she and her husband visit a relative’s house in the countryside, she meets her cousin Yu again. When they were in elementary school, they believed themselves to be a magical girl and an alien and were secret lovers. But as an adult, Yoo is almost brainwashed by the common sense of “Earth aliens. ……

This world is a factory for making human beings: working tools and reproductive organs

In this work, as with the convenience store people, the main character, Natsuki, who does not fit in with the “normal” values of society, considers herself an alien and looks at this world from the bird’s eye view as follows.

This place is a series of nests and a factory for making human beings. I am a tool in this city in two different ways.
One is to study hard and become a working tool.
One is to work hard at being a girl and become a reproductive organ for this city.
I am probably a failure in both senses.

Earth Alien] Sayaka Murata

Normal here seems to focus more on two things: working and being productive, and having children for procreation. This work consistently raises questions regarding these two points.

I have never felt uncomfortable about this “normal,” but that is because I happened to be born with a gene that does not make me uncomfortable about these two values, or I have already been brainwashed with the values of “normal,” and if I had not been so, I might have had the same values. If not, you might have had the same values.

Curious as to why Mr. Murata consistently and sharply questions this “normal” to this extent, I scoured through her interview articles and found a few.

『コンビニ人間』の芥川賞作家・村田沙耶香に聞く、いま読むべき1冊。「刷り込まれた幸せ」の外側へ
小説『コンビニ人間』で知られる芥川賞作家の村田沙耶香さんに、今読むべき「おすすめの1冊」を聞きました。村田さんが「生きづらさを抱えている人」に紹介したい作品とは──。GWの終盤、村田さんと共に「幸せ」について考えます。

As was the case in my childhood, my mother told me that she wanted me to be a girl who would be admired (miso) by men. I naturally felt as if the whole world was demanding that I be able to do household chores, be girly, be an excellent tool for bearing children, and be a person who would serve the family.

Earth Alien] Sayaka Murata

Parents have a great influence on their children, and Murata-san is aware, even as a child, of the expectations of his parents and the imprint of what they consider to be natural values, and he probably projects his own discomfort with these expectations into his novels.

Certainly, even now, there are many people around who want to get married and have children, but with other forms of entertainment increasing rapidly as technology evolves, and birth rates steadily declining in developed countries in general, it will be interesting to see how people who pick up this book for the first time 40 years from now will feel after reading it.

South Korea already has a fertility rate in the 0.7 range, below 1. In 20-30 years, Japan may well have a reversal in the eyes of those around them, saying, “So you are getting married. How rare!” There is a great possibility that the view of those around us will be reversed. Marriage itself is a loss of freedom due to restrictions, and there will naturally already be those who think that it makes no sense to go to the trouble of imposing crippling restrictions on oneself, even though there are so many entertainment options that can be enjoyed by one person.

Forty years from now, there may be a novel about a protagonist who struggles against getting married and having children because of the “normal” imposed on her that she must be alone.

Inorganic representation of the earth

While I found the five senses and the expression of the inorganic nature of the convenience store people interesting, I also enjoyed the expression of the earth aliens, who view the earth as a factory, with terms scattered throughout that describe human activity in a robotic, inorganic manner—some pickups.

Everyone believes in, is brainwashed by, and follows the Factory.
Every once in a while, I come to check on the Factory.
My husband and I, our uterus and testicles are quietly watched over by the Factory.
We are parts bound together by our bodies.
Parts that only continue to make children and carry genes into the future.
We instrumentalize the organ of the womb.
Love is a brain drug, a mere anesthesia, created by humans to reproduce.
The “alien eye” has been downloaded.

Earth Alien] Sayaka Murata

Recognition is the last resort.

Natsuki, whose self-esteem has been lowered since childhood due to verbal abuse even by her parents, uses her stuffed animal, Pyuto, as a talisman and the only person she can talk to for self-protection.

After being forced to engage in sexual acts due to the proclivities of his cram school teacher at a young age, he is forced to defend himself, and the brain expression is depicted when he murders the teacher, which is also when the brain conversation with Pute takes place.

Your magic turned the world pink. I’m sure you can beat the witch now. Come on, come on, come on!
Pute’s voice sounded so loud that it might have echoed throughout the house. I had a cancerous headache because of the loudness of Pyut’s voice. I held my head and walked up the pink stairs.

Earth Alien] Sayaka Murata

Listening to this conversation alone, it is a schizophrenic auditory hallucination and delusion and would be perceived as such by a “normal” person.

On the other hand, it can also be seen as a result of self-protection by changing cognition when excessive stress or stimuli are applied to humans.

In “Night and Fog” by Viktor E. Frankl (author ), psychiatrist Frankl, who was sent to a Nazi concentration camp and experienced extreme conditions, describes his own experience that the human spirit was free even in extreme conditions.

Life in the camps itself shows that there was “another way” for people to be. There are plenty of examples of this. There were many examples of people who overcame emotional annihilation or suppressed their emotional outbursts, and there were many examples of heroic people who did not lose sight of their last remaining spiritual freedom, that is, their “I,” regardless of their surroundings. Even in seemingly uncontrollable extreme situations, such things did happen.

Night and Fog” Victor E. Frankl

I thought it was amazing that the way he tried to rouse himself by altering his thoughts to defend himself, his frustration, and his fear when he murdered his teacher, even though he was very young, was beautifully expressed in the form of a brain conversation with Pute.

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