The town of Musashigawa has a graffiti problem … and someone who signs his name F.K. is gaining notoriety as one of the best street artists ever. The irony is that the artist-known-as-F.K. is actually the young heir to a small painting business … but in tough economic times, his abusive father sends him out to deface private property so that someone will pay their struggling company to paint over F.K.’s art.
All that changes when F.K. receives an ikigami, his official death notice as deemed by the National Welfare Act, “designed to make our citizens appreciate the value of life.” F.K.’s final mural proves to be a spectacular statement that the National Welfare Act is nothing short of senseless murder.
Federal employee Fujimoto, whose job it is to deliver these deathly missives, is still struggling with his own complicity in what amounts to legal destruction of human life. And yet he must continue to do his job …
His next delivery takes him a student blinded by loyalty to the National Welfare system. As the son of a high-ranking National Welfare police officer, with an older brother attending the police university, Ikuhiko Sugita is under great pressure to be a model student and an ideal citizen, willing and able to turn in “social miscreants.” But his test scores are falling and his father demands he work harder: “Anyone who isn’t a National Welfare hero … has no place in the Sugita family,” he warns.
Receiving an ikigami becomes Ikuhiko’s last chance at hero-dom. With only 24 hours to live, his reaction turns to overzealous determination to turn in social miscreants, and his young life ends in terrible waste.
As Fujimoto discusses Ikuhiko’s tragic death with Dr. Kubo, whom he finally managed to ask out on a real date (!), Fujimoto finds himself saying too much again. His boss Mr. Ishii has repeatedly warned him that he must be careful about what he says to whom. What about Dr. Kubo? Just who can be trusted is not at all clear …
By the way, if you want to start from the beginning of the series, click here for the previous volumes.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2010 (United States)
Ikigami 5 © Motoro Mase
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc.