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Hiroko Oyamada

  • Original Title: KOJO
  • Publication date: March 2013
  • Country: JP
  • 250 print pages
  • Fantastic/Urban Fantasy


  • Epoch: Historical
  • Time Period: 21st century
  • Location setting: Japan
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing life, Identity crisis, Facing failure, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Ecology, Modernization, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social relations, CHARACTERS, Animal


Three workers tell us about their experiences working in a factory whose products seem less and less concrete as time goes on. A vivid, sometimes surreal, portrait of the absurdity and meaninglessness of modern life, with hints of Kafka and unexpected moments of humor.


Translation rights sold: US (to be published in October 2019), offers from France and Poland

Winner of the Shincho Prize for New Writers
Nominated for the Yukio Mishima Prize
Selected by Publishers Weekly as a writer to watch

The novel was drawn from the author's own experiences working as a temp for an automaker’s subsidiary.

Hiroko Oyamada (born 1983) is a Japanese writer. Her novel ANA (The Hole) won the Akutagawa Prize.


In an unnamed Japanese city, three seemingly normal and unrelated characters find work at a sprawling industrial factory. They each focus intently on their specific jobs: one studies moss, one shreds paper, and the other proofreads incomprehensible documents. Life in the factory has its own logic and momentum, and, eventually, the factory slowly expands and begins to take over everything, enveloping these poor workers. The very margins of reality seem to be dissolving: all forms of life capriciously evolve, strange creatures begin to appear… After a while - it could be weeks or years - the workers don’t even have the ability to ask themselves: where does the factory end and the rest of the world begin?

Told in three alternating first-person narratives, THE FACTORY casts a vivid - if sometimes surreal - portrait of the absurdity and meaninglessness of modern life, with hints of Kafka and unexpected moments of creeping humor.

Report available
Non-final English translation available

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