Short Story Collection Review: ボッコちゃん – 星 新一

bokko-chan(bokko-chan – Hoshi Shinichi)

This is a collection of 50 very short stories. Many of them are Sci-Fi. Most of them are humorous with a handful that are just creepy. The stories are short and usually have a punch line, so it is kind of like reading jokes. Some are satire, cautionary tales, or something like fables.

Also, the humor doesn’t depend much on the details of Japanese language and culture. Some of the jokes may be a bit simple or crude, but you don’t have to worry that they will be lost on you if you don’t share the same lifetime of experiences as a typical person living in Japan.

Here are my five favorite stories. I’m not saying these are necessarily the best, but they are the ones I enjoyed reading the most.

Name My Translation Premise
おーい でてこーい Hey   Come On Out of There! A hole with no bottom
殺し屋ですのよ I'm a Hitwoman A mysterious method
欲望の城 Castle of Greed A room in a dream with everything you want
ゆきとどいた生活 This Is the Life When every last thing is automated
冬きたりなば If Winter Comes The credit-worthiness of aliens

This collection is great for beginners because of the sense of accomplishment you can get from completing a story. Even if you have to look up a lot of words, you could still work through one in a reasonable amount of time.

One thing I noticed about the language is that hiragana is used for many words that would normally be written in kanji. This would make it easier if you are reading a paper book and need to look up the word, but if you are reading digitally, it makes it harder to tell where the words are divided. I think furigana, the small hiragana on top of kanji, is more useful if you are learning, but this one only has the typical amount used for an adult book.

There are many old sounding phrases, such as using あばよ for good-bye, which I hadn’t heard before, but overall the style is very concise and descriptive, as it needs to be for the stories to be so short.

Again, the stories are very short, so I can recommend this book for experienced and new readers for different reasons. If you are used to reading Japanese and want something quick to read, you can read each of these stories in just a few minutes. If you are just starting reading, you could look up almost every word and get through one in a week pretty comfortably. You may even find a joke to tell, if you’re good at delivering that type of thing.

If you decide to read Bokko-chan let me know which story is your favorite!

2 thoughts on “Short Story Collection Review: ボッコちゃん – 星 新一”

  1. Thanks for this review, I liked this author’s “ブランコの向こうで” so I’d probably enjoy these as well. Short stories are great since I don’t have to commit so much time to finishing one full story.

    1. These stories are great when you don’t have much time. I’m interested to see how Hoshi writes a longer story as well, so I may check out ブランコの向こうで.

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