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Literature / The Golden Demon

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Admit it, you're most likely just reading it for this.
A.k.a. that book with a dude kicking a chick on the beach.

Konjiki Yasha (金色夜叉), best known in the English-speaking world as The Golden Demon, is a romance novel by Kōyō Ozaki serially published on Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper from January 1, 1897 until May 11, 1902 when it was Cut Short when the author Died During Production in 1903. It tells the story of diligent orphan student Kan'ichi Hazama set to marry the beautiful Dude Magnet Miya Shigisawa, whose family is generous enough to let him live under their roof. The affection is mutual, though Miya also harbors a desire to marry someone well-off… then along comes Tadatsugu Tomiyama, a wealthy banker's son with a penchant for unabashed wealth-flaunting, whose riches get Miya's parents to break off her betrothal with Kan'ichi so she can marry him instead. This leads to a tearful breakup where a heartbroken Kan'ichi decides to put an end to his squeaky-clean diligent student path and renounce his humanity. Fast-forward 4 years later, the novel follows the exploits of Kan'ichi, now a ruthless Loan Shark, and Miya, now Miyako Tomiyama, who leads a miserable marriage with an abusive and unfaithful Tadatsugu, and the two's reunion…


One of the poster boys of Meiji literature, it's remembered as a sobering cautionary tale about the dangers of pursuing money over love or human connection… or just the book with the dude kicking the chick.

Trope lists may change, but money never does:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Miya is called Mī-san by Kan'ichi.
  • All That Glitters: The story isn't called The Golden Demon for nothing; the whole point is to warn about the consequences of letting the pursuit of wealth trump human relationships.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Featured heavily as part of Ozaki's writing style in general. The language used in the original text is highly archaic and poetic, to the point where there exist modern Japanese translations to help a modern reader base not unlike, say, The Tale of Genji.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Kan'ichi can come off as an entitled "nice guy"; his girlfriend is kind of a Gold Digger and is on the verge of leaving him without telling him, but that hardly justifies ranting at her about how he's the only one who can make her happy and kicking her so hard she can't stand up, then running off to become a hardened criminal. Despite this, he still gets another hot girl all over him, and in the end gets back with the first girl.
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  • Betty and Veronica: Between the two women romantically interested in Kan'ichi post-timeskip, Miya is Betty to Mitsue's Veronica.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kan'ichi uses the money he collected in his loan shark days to pay Arao's debt and help him go to France, the son of the arsonist woman elopes with his lover, Mitsue is freed by the death of her husband and goes to France with Arao, and finally Kan'ichi reconciles with Miya and they live in Atami – but Miya never fully recovers from her insanity.
  • Break the Cutie: Most of the novel's duration is a big one for Miya – she gets married to a rampantly cheating bastard, loses her firstborn child, gets rejected by Kan'ichi whom she still pines for, attempts suicide and finally goes stark raving mad.
  • Broken Ace: Kan'ichi at the start of the story is a dutiful student with a promising future laid ahead of him, but has a depressingly bleak worldview and all but states outright to Miya she's the only reason he's still alive, which makes her betrayal of him later hit him that much harder.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: The entire plot of the book wouldn't have happened if Kan'ichi wasn't orphaned at fifteen – he wouldn't have been adopted by the Shigisawa household and would have never met Miya.
  • Cut Short: The original novel only had its sixth volume out when Ozaki died. His student Fūyō Oguri wrote the last volume.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Since Kan'ichi is already pretty deep in despair before his betrothal is broken and has Miya as his only light of hope, her betrayal is the final shove pushing him past this and making him declare That Man Is Dead.
  • Dismissive Kick: It just won't be this book without the infamous Atami beach breakup scene…
  • Distracted by the Luxury: All over the goddamn place and it majorly screws up the lives of characters involved.
    • Tomiyama disrupts a new year game by simply being there, drawing everyone's attention to the expensive ring he wears.
    • Miya's case of this sets the plot in motion – she loves Kan'ichi, but her underlying desire to marry a rich man causes her to not object to her parents' decision to wed her to Tomiyama.
    • Mitsue is even worse – she didn't like her Arranged Marriage at first until her husband's wealth blinds her and she becomes just as bad a Loan Shark as the others.
  • Dude Magnet: Miya. Paragraphs are spent describing how pretty she is in comparison to other women and how many guys want to have her hand in marriage, including her teachers. Tomiyama falls for her instantly as soon as he sees her, and Kan'ichi even gets congratulated for how lucky he is to be betrothed to her.
  • Femme Fatale: Mitsue is known for using her beauty to get her job done.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Beautiful Mitsue Akagashi is helplessly head-over-heels for post-breakup Kan'ichi, but due to his disastrous relationship with Miya, he's lost interest in women – as well as other human beings – entirely.
  • First Girl Wins: It's Miya who gets to be with Kan'ichi in the end.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: You most likely don't expect someone called "Beauty Cream" to be a renowned Femme Fatale Loan Shark.
  • Gold Digger: Not that Miya doesn't love Kan'ichi, she just really wants to marry a rich guy…
    • Mitsue is none too pleased about her Arranged Marriage to pay off her family's debt at first, but then she starts falling in love with her husband's wealth, becomes greedy and engages in wealth-flaunting by way of flamboyant dress and accessories.
  • Happily Adopted: Kan'ichi in the beginning by the Shigisawa family.
  • Heroic BSoD: Near the end, Miya completely snaps to the point where she's only capable of repeating Kan'ichi's name, gets committed to a mental institution, and afterwards never recovers.
  • Humans Are Bastards: According to post-timeskip Kan'ichi, the world is a wretched hive filled with greedy bastards in love with money and acting only for their own self-interest.
  • I Have No Daughter!: Mitsue's father to her once she develops Stockholm Syndrome for the man who later becomes her husband.
  • Meaningful Name: Tadatsugu Tomiyama's name roughly sounds like "has nothing going for him outside of inheriting a mountain of wealth".
  • Posthumous Collaboration: The last volume was written by the author's student after the author's passing, closing the novel on a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Punny Name: Mitsue Akagashi's nickname "Beauty Cream", a play on the word for Loan Shark (kōrigashi) and a homophone meaning "ice cream".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The novel started on New Year 1897, and thus its beginning events are a New Year celebration.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: A lengthy, lengthy one by Kan'ichi to Miya during the infamous Atami breakup sequence, where he tells her how unfaithful she is and how Tomiyama's riches won't bring her happiness like his love does.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Tomiyama and Kan'ichi respectively for Miya.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": At least one English translation of the book spells Kan'ichi's name as "Kwanichi".
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: While Miya has a Gold Digger tendency at the start of the story, there's much sympathy to be had for her thanks to the massive Break the Cutie she's put through, with her hellish marriage to unrepentant cheater Tomiyama who has zero affection for her that eventually drives her to insanity.
  • Tempting Fate: After the Time Skip, when Kan'ichi's friend Arao asks his other friends about his whereabouts, one of them dismisses the speculation that Kan'ichi has become a Loan Shark on the grounds that he's too nice and soft to become one. Well…
  • Time Skip: Four years are skipped between the events of the first volume and the next.
  • Tragic Dropout: Having crossed the Despair Event Horizon from his broken betrothal, Kan'ichi quits school, gives up the good education and career path he's been working on, and becomes a Loan Shark.
  • Villain Opening Scene: Tomiyama is the first character to be introduced; the beginning of the story sees his traveling to and showing up at a New Year party, giving off unpleasant vibes throughout.

Alternative Title(s): Konjiki Yasha