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Literature / after the quake

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after the quakenote  (Japanese: 神の子どもたちはみな踊る, kami no kodomo-tachi wa mina odorunote ) is a 2000 collection of short stories that take place after the Kobe Earthquake of Japan in 1995, by author Haruki Murakami.

The stories are "ufo in kushiro", "landscape with flatiron", "all god's children can dance", "thailand", "super frog saves tokyo", and "honey pie". All stories contain characters affected by the Kobe Earthquake in one way or another, and contain Murakami's trademark moments of the occasionally inexplicable.


The short stories contains examples of:

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: "all god's children can dance". Yoshiya went as far as patronizing a porn shop to avoid his mother discovering his erections when she slept in his bed with him.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Junko and Junpei both have "Jun".
    • Yoshiya got "Super Frog", on account of his dancing. Possibly an unintended reference to "super-frog saves tokyo".
  • all lowercase letters: The title lacks capitalization, and all the chapter titles are in lowercase, too.
  • Author Appeal: Jazz music, especially in "thailand". Satsuki's father used to play his records and force her to listen to them, giving her candy if she got the performers right.
  • Central Theme: How a disaster makes people reexamine their lives, even if they are not directly affected by it.
    • "ufo in kushiro": Komura comes one step closer to realizing how disconnected he was from his emotions after the quake, which hadn't affected either him or his wife.
    • "landscape with flatiron": Junko's friend Miyake had someone in Kobe when the earthquake struck, and he doesn't want to bring it up any further than he has to.
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    • "super-frog saves tokyo": Frog seeks to save Tokyo from a coming earthquake, one worse than the one in Kobe. Hard to say how much of this happened, though...
    • "honey pie": Sala has nightmares about a man and a maw that will swallow her up. Likely a result of seeing the quake through the news.
  • Follow That Car: "all god's children can dance". Yoshiya tells a taxi driver to tail the car that the man he thinks is his father is in. He lies about being in a company that wants him, and that companies really do scramble over people like that.
  • Inciting Incident:
    • In "ufo in kushiro", Komura's wife leaves him five days after the quake, leading him to head to Hokkaido for a trip.
    • In "super-frog saves tokyo", Katagiri enters his apartment to find a six-foot-tall frog in his home.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: "landscape with flatiron". Junko, a girl who's a bit past highschool-age; and Miyake, a man in his mid-forties.
  • Japanese Christian: "all god's children can dance". Yoshiyo, his mother, and his mentor.
  • Market-Based Title: The collection is titled "all god's children can dance", after Yoshiya's story.
  • Oddball in the Series: "super-frog saves tokyo" is the only short story of the collection that has overtly supernatural and inexplicable elements.
  • The Runaway: "landscape with flatiron". Junko ran away from home in her third year of high school.
  • Titled After the Song: "honey pie", for a song by The Beatles.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: "honey pie". Sayoko ended up marrying Takatsuki, and Junpei was the best man. Takatsuki has a mistress and Sayoko is distressed when she finds out, because they have a child (Sala), as well. Takatsuki apologizes but says that he couldn't help it and encourages Junpei instead, since Sala likes him and he knows he always loved Sayoko, too. At the end, Junpei finally decides to propose to Sayoko.


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