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The broadcast of the television puppet theater series Hyokkori hyotanjima began in 1964, the year of the Tokyo Olympics. Having separated from the mainland due to a volcanic eruption, Hyotan Island starts to drift, taking the children who happened to be on the island with it. The floating island becomes an alternative community composed of women, children, and outlaws.
The main screenwriter of this puppet theater, Hisashi Inoue, began the serialization of his novel The People of Kirikiri (Kirikirijin) in 1973. The People of Kirikiri tells the story of an agricultural village of about 4,000 people in the northeastern region that declares its secession from Japan. This village possesses its own currency, language, military, and constitution. Furthermore, by securing complete self-sufficiency in food and energy resources through geothermal power generation, the village had overcome unsolved issues that plagued Japan during the 1970s.
From Hyokkori hyotanjima to The People of Kiriikiri, in this essay, Hayamizu explores the issue of independent states through a comparison of Inoue’s two works carrying the motif of “secession from Japan.” We can find there the various political problems that were present and actual in 1970s Japan, and the Japanese government’s inability to solve them.