Caroline Pover on protesting Gentosha Inc’s publication of Ichihashi’s book after Lindsay Ann Hawker’s murder


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By Caroline Pover, Author, Being A Broad in Japan, courtesy of the author

Posted in: Foreign women in Japan-Jan 28, 2011

For anyone inclined to contact Gentosha (the publishers of Ichihashi’s book), you can do so by using the following:
Phone from within Japan: 03-5411-6211
Phone from outside of Japan: +81-3-5411-6211
Email (general enquiries):
Email (comments on their books):

There is a woman there who speaks perfect English, and one of the men responsible for making the decision to approach Ichihashi’s representatives has been reachable, but both these people have refused to give their names. And yes, just to clarify, the publishing house initiated the publication of this book. Their website is

Now I understand that there is human interest in this “story” and this book. I understand that human nature means that we are often interested in the sinister and the macabre, often for reasons we cannot explain and perhaps in a way we may not be particularly comfortable with. I understand that people are fascinated by how Ichihashi escaped and how he survived for so long on the run. I fully expected there to be a book at some point, and I don’t really blame the general public for wanting to read it.

What I don’t understand is how this book has been allowed to be released now. BEFORE the trial. Only in the past few days have tentative dates for the trial even been set — surely the publishers must have approached Ichihashi’s representatives knowing that they could produce the book before the trial, and Ichihashi’s representatives possibly thought to seize the opportunity to gain public sympathy.

Ichihashi has several defence lawyers, all of whom are working pro bono. A book like this will become a bestseller (and it will, make no mistake — and some scumbag is probably already on the phone right now asking for the movie rights). The Hawker family has repeatedly refused to accept any money from an individual claiming to be an Ichihashi supporter, and the family also refuses to accept any monies from the publication of this book. Ichihashi and his defence team may or not receive any money themselves, but the publisher certainly will. Ichihashi has been given the opportunity to tell his story, but shouldn’t that story be told in court?

What will be told in court however is the REAL story of what happened to Lindsay Ann Hawker. The real story of what he did to her, with details that her parents and sisters will have to listen to and live with forever. And when THAT story is told, the Gentosha staff who worked on Until I was arrested: Record of a two-year and seven-month blank will feel utterly ashamed of themselves.


12 comments on “Caroline Pover on protesting Gentosha Inc’s publication of Ichihashi’s book after Lindsay Ann Hawker’s murder

  • I have registered my disgust with the Japanese Cabinet via its website comment space and with the Embassy of Japan in London.
    Now I will move on to the publishers. Thankyou.
    I thought my disgust would lessen a few days after first hearing about this book.
    It hasn’t.

  • I’m with you Amanda, the more time I think about it, and why, and why now, the more my blood boils, contacts for Japanese cabinet we might express our disgust to?

  • Debito-san, Didn’t you just have an entry about the Japanese Embassy registering a complaint to the BBC over their QI show’s treatment of the unlucky Hiroshima / Nagasaki bombing victim? Doesn’t a murderer releasing a book before trial (does anyone smell blood money?) justify a complaint, too?

    Gentosha will get one from me.

  • This is getting crazy. You do realise, Amanda and AJ , that Japan is a country with the right to free speech? The government (or the cabinet) are completely powerless in this case, as they should be. The guy is innocent until proven guilty, he’s written a book and found a publisher. You might not like it, I might not like it, but the world doesn’t go round according to what we like.

    — More like the publisher found him.

    Anyway, relax. Their protests in content and form are also covered by the same rights of free speech.

  • While this is disgusting, he has not been convicted of anything. The fact that the publisher instigated the whole situation, is really sad. Couldn’t the publisher find anything better? Or even just have the common decency to release after the trial? Sad, just sad.

  • Joe, when the bereaved family of a murder victim is subjected to further emotional distress in the name of free speech, that’s taking things too far. Freedom of speech should be no excuse for lack of decency or taste.

    — Let’s not get too deep into yet another debate about issues of freedom of speech, please. I see a whole can of worms being opened by assertions such as these. Choose your words carefully if you’re going to talk about an issue this complex. “Decency and taste” are not good yardsticks to measure freedom by, so for the record I’m saying this dismissive assertion is facile and calling for calm here. Vituperative responses to this will not be approved.

  • All right, I’m sorry. I guess I got a little worked up, since I feel very strongly about this whole affair. You can delete this comment if you want, just wanted to apologize for being out of line.

  • Why and how does he have lawyers working pro bono for him? His parents are relatively well off I presume (dentists or doctors I recall)?

    Usually lawyers work pro bono for cases that have some public service merit – that’s how working for free is justified. Where is the public service merit here?

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    TJJ, presumably the lawyers are working for the “merit” of getting their names in the papers and on the news. That kind of publicity — and if they can negotiate a lenient sentence despite Ichihashi’s guilt, if he is guilty, it will be publicity that pays for itself many times over in future clients — doesn’t come cheap.

  • Oh dear god. That is truly disgusting. Amazon should be ashamed.

    There is an ongoing trial. Amazon is an American company is it not? Are they advocating justice by trial or a lynching?


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