Some bookstores opened extra early this morning to deal with demand for the debut novel by actor Mizushima Hiro (26). Written using the pen name Saito Tomohiro, his real name, the award-winning “Kagerou” is a guaranteed best seller and thought likely to even outsell the third installment of “1Q84,” this year’s hugely anticipated release from Murakami Haruki. Publisher Poplar said that pre-release orders for the novel had been huge after it won the ‘taisho’ (top prize) winner in their 5th annual awards and the identity of the author was revealed for the first time. They have distributed a first run of some 430,000 copies, a rare feat for a first printing. One commuter who picked up the book at a Tokyo bookstore this morning said, “The novel has been a popular topic on TV and I was curious to read it for myself.”
The novel tells the story of a former company employee who, unemployed and broke, decides to commit suicide. But involvement with an underground group that deals in the sale of human organs leads him to a renewed realization of the value of life. The story is a far cry from the many successes that Mizushima has enjoyed in a relatively brief career. He married singer Ayaka in 2009 but earlier this year announced his decision to quit acting to focus on writing and his private life.
Mizushima Hiro Gets Award for Debut Novel (Nov. 1, 2010)
Mizushima Hiro Quits Acting to Write (Sep. 22, 2010)
Mizushima Hiro, Ayaka Married (Apr. 4, 2009)