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Hirose Tadashi

Entry updated 5 August 2020. Tagged: Author.

Pseudonym for jazz saxophonist and author Shōkichi Hirose (1924-1972), who came within a hair's breadth of winning mainstream literary awards in Japan on several occasions during his brief career as a crime and sf author. A former engineering student at Nihon University, he formed the band "Tadashi Hirose and the Sky Tones" in 1952, and only turned to writing after the debt-ridden group disbanded in 1960. His first published story was the non-sf "Koroshisō Toshita" ["Attempted Murder"] (1961 Hōseki), by which time he was already involved within the Japanese sf community.

Many of Hirose's stories deal with Time Travel and Parallel Worlds, reflecting a desire common to his generation to rewrite, or at least revisit, Japan's troubled history in the twentieth century. His most famous work was Minus Zero (1965 Uchūjin; fixup 1970), a Time Loop tale strongly redolent of Robert A Heinlein's "All You Zombies" (March 1959 F&SF), beginning with a fire-bomb attack on Tokyo in World War Two in which a dying man tasks his younger teenage self to return to his ruined house in eighteen years, where he eventually marries his own daughter, thanks to the discovery of a Time Machine. The Nikkatsu studio hired Hirose to write a screenplay adaptation, but the project was shelved due to the absence of a sufficient budget to construct a realistic set of war-torn Tokyo. Eros (1971) offers a similar premise, in which an ageing singer is catapulted back in time to her debut in 1933, and afforded the opportunity to make different choices in her life.

Hirose's lesser known Cis (1971) combines Paranoia and Pollution, as the inhabitants of Japan are plagued by a universal C-sharp tone ringing in their ears (see Basilisk), leading to wild speculation about consensual hallucination, racially-specific tinnitus, or a sonic Weapon. His last novel, Kagami no Kuni no Alice ["Alice Through the Looking Glass"] (1972), combines references to Lewis Carroll with a satirical world in which left and right are reversed, and received a Seiun Award in 1973, a year after his untimely death from a heart attack. At his funeral, his author friends pasted the note "Time Machine. Passenger: 1, Tadashi Hirose" to his coffin. [JonC]

Shōkichi Hirose

born Tokyo: 30 September 1924

died 9 March 1972


  • Minus Zero (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1970) [fixup: binding unknown/]
  • Cis (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1971) [binding unknown/]
  • Eros (Tokyo: Hayakawa Shobō, 1971) [binding unknown/]
  • Kagami no Kuni no Alice ["Alice Through the Looking Glass"] (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1972) [binding unknown/]
  • Time Machine no Tsukurikata ["How to Build a Time Machine"] (Tokyo: Shūeisha, 1973) [coll: binding unknown/]


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