Kyokou Suiri - Volume 1 - Chapter 3

Hint: To Play after pausing the player, use this button

Idol Who Dies by Steel Beam

Yumihara Saki was eating chicken kara-age meal set alone at Makurazaka Police Station’s cafeteria somewhere past the afternoon, the very next day after her encounter with Iwanaga Kotoko.

She decided to stop challenging herself to eat beef and fish for a while as she wanted to prioritize replenishing her stamina.

Thinking about how to deal with Koujin Nanase already made her head hurt.

She did not want to take the risk of making the gastric acid in her stomach to flow backward at the moment.

Her sleeping hours had also shortened, and every time she remembers that girl; Iwanaga Kotoko’s face she slowly becomes angry by minutes.

Then, came Terada who leisurely put the tray of curry rice in his hands onto the table and sat opposite to her.

“Did you wait?”


Saki had sent an email to Terada about some matters that morning and told him the time of when will she take lunch.

She had thought about the possibility that Terada could not come because of his work but about 5 minutes after she moved her chopsticks, that man with a solid body like a refrigerator back in old days appeared right on time.

“Sorry. There was a lot of things I had to clean up. And I need to go out right after this too.”

As he was saying that, he took a look at the meal set that Saki was eating.

“Today is kara-age huh. So you’re fine with chicken meat?”

“Yes. Since I have no ties with bird-type youkai.”

Upon hearing Saki’s reply that he probably could not digest it that simple, his mouth moved a few times but then decided to pretend like he did not hear it.

“I’ll give you the things you asked somewhere in the evening. I couldn’t just go and borrow and then take out all the documents completely since it was a case outside of our jurisdiction.”

“Sorry for causing you so many troubles.”

“It’s fine, it also reassured me when Yumihara is willing to help.”

A clumsy smile appeared on Terada’s brutish face as he picked up the spoon.

As for Saki, she was feeling a little pain in the heart when being told as such.

For the time being, she did not plan to tell him about them. About how she was attacked by Koujin Nanase last night, and about a girl with a small build who came to this city in order to get rid of the Koujin Nanase.

“Enough of that, there was a report being filed yesterday too; about being attacked by Koujin Nanase.”

Terada began to talk while busying himself with his spoon and his curry rice, not exactly with a deliberately low voice, but just enough to be heard as if they were just chatting.

“Where was it?”

Since she was also being attacked by it yesterday, she did not find it as something that is heart-comforting to hear.

“Past 1 am, a drunk middle-aged man rushed to a police box in Nishi-Makurazaka saying “a weird girl carrying a steel beam almost attacked me over there” as his face went pale. Of course, when the police officer who heard him went to the place where the man said he got attacked, there was no one there and told the man that he was just seeing things because he was drunk and made him go home. But since the man wasn’t really dead drunk and was walking just fine so that police officer was wondering if it was really okay to leave it like that and was a bit bothered by it.”

Nishi-Makurazaka is not under Saki’s station jurisdiction and is located about 20 km from there.

“Then, that officer recalled about the rumor that was spreading in the city recently, and after a few go-betweens, the info came to my place. I had checked the blogs and bulletin boards on the internet earlier and found out that, I don’t know if they were true, but there were 4 cases of people being attacked yesterday. Place and time were all scattered and not consistent. If all those were true, I don’t think it is a range that can be covered by only one people dressing up as Koujin Nanase.”

Because that Koujin Nanase is the real thing, and like a real ghost would do, it could appear anywhere no matter how far it is, regardless the distance and time, and then vanishes and reappears somewhere else.

Last night, Saki had seen Koujin Nanase vanished like that with her own eyes.

Terada who did not seem to be concerned with the change of Saki’s face color continued to move his spoon in a rhythm up and down.

“If this is not a work of a single person, then there’s a high possibility that it’s a crime syndicate. Witnesses are increasing with time, and there is even a website collecting entries or posts about Koujin Nanase and putting them together on a single site on the internet.”

Saki had also taken a look that website last night. Aggregating posts from multiple bulletin boards, listing links to blogs and web pages that talked aboutKoujin Nanase, collecting the never-ending rumors; that site had organized everything to be in order.

One can also make a post on the site itself and then use that post to discuss, and that site became the number one site for topics like it on the internet.

If one looked at it from a different perspective, that site prevent the information scattered all over the virtual space of the internet from disappearing in a short time and it looked like it is putting them all together but actually it added another layer to the confusion that came with them, as if it was trying to grow them into something darker.

The site’s name is also quite straightforward and is called《Koujin Nanase’s All-In-One Site》.

“Although it’s pretty convenient for someone looking for information, it also proved that Steel Ghost Nanase’s existence had become stronger that people are making a website for it. A ghost’s existence that is becoming more and more clear is never a good sign. Someone must’ve planned it so it developed into something like this.”

“It might be.”

The reason is not actually right but it indeed does not look like a good sign.

Saki while moving around the cabbage slices with her chopsticks, only throwing inappropriate responses as she recalled about the idol named Nanase Karin’s personal history that she had looked into last night.

Idol Nanase Karin or her real name Nanase Haruko was not that well-known at that time.

Although her death had brought more attention to her name, still there are many people who do not know her.

Looking at the pictures uploaded onto the net, her face was indeed very cute and she was a lady-like curvaceous girl. It is understandable why she was famous among men.

Gravure pictures of her wearing a very dangerous swimsuit or something close to wearing nothing often appeared on the front page of magazines, and her photograph collections were selling quite well.

Even then, she was just one of the “above average” in that world, and they were plenty of other girls who were about the same place as her.

Her debut was in June when she was 17, still in high school at that time and she was scouted directly by a president of an entertainment production company.

She lived in the capital city, where there are a lot of people blessed with good look and appearance compared to the countryside, but even among those people she was a very standing out girl since middle school within the school district so her debut was not something surprising.

The president that scouted her at first said-

“That chest of yours would sell. Even if it didn’t, we can still do something about it.”

That president had approached her with such lines that showed no consideration to her as a high school girl.

And Nanase Haruko, although she faltered for a moment, said-

“You think only my chest would sell? You got a poor eye for judging thing.”

She gave such straight answer which made the president understood that she was not just a simple girl with a good look.

Upon that answer, that president insisted that it would sell better, and persuaded her even harder.

However, the competition in that world was really harsh. During the time of her debut, almost no one turned any attention to her and her popularity also was considered bad.

She got a nice style and was a beauty herself, and some of the critics about her are; she got a look of a very smart girl which gives an unpleasant feeling and she looks like a girl who cares about merit and demerit of everything.

The truth is, even if the episode of her life when she got scouted did not happen, her grades in her study were already among the top at her elite school. When she entered the entertainment world, it was said that the school was against it.

However, when she was brought to the principal office,

“Very well. I shall prove it to you then. I’m going to make sure I’ll be successful in both my study and entertainment career, and watch me bring greater fame for this school.”

she told those caustic words of an anecdote to them.

And added,

“Alright, which university do you wish me to enter so that you will approve?”

She asked such confidently, perhaps, that girl had made her resolution for it at that very moment.

However, her anecdote did not become a plus point to her. Instead, it became a minus point as they told her that it would probably be hard for someone with a cute look but bad personality.

Things that people generally seek from an idol do not mix well with her look, which are her intelligence and her actions.

Anyway, Nanase Karin was not popular during her debut.

However, one year after her debut, in July of her eighteenth, she managed to grab the chance.

She became a regular and appeared in a low-budget late-night drama “Youth! Fire Blowing Girl” and with that she won the popularity among a part of the audiences and her name began to raise greatly.

“The reasons for that drama to become popular, half of them were thanks to Nanase Karin.”

The director had earnestly said after they had finished the drama.

“I can’t believe we made such a diligent and brilliant girl play a stupid role like that. On top of that, she wasn’t that reluctant to show her chest.”

Nanase Karin played the role of “Nanase Karin The Gravure Idol That Does Not Sell Well ” as she is, which made it easier for people to remember her name.

She did well for a gravure idol in acting and her intelligent eye-look was appealed as her strong characteristic in the story and had earned herself quite a good evaluation as an actor.

Moreover, there is one thing that deeply tied Nanase Karin with the drama that became a topic; a song that she sang as a time-filling-in-song that was like a joke called “Blaze Radiator And Me” which she wrote the lyric and the song herself.

Normally, it was not a job that people would let a fresh gravure idol do, but they could only use a small number of people due to the low-budget which was the main reason for it.

When the director and the rest of the staff were in a discussion about what should they do about the song for the drama,

“We’ve come this far anyway, how about I made a song myself?”

Nanase Karin proposed it strongly to them.

It never hurts to try, and so when they let her try making it,

“Oh, it sounds nice even though in term of Japanese language the words are kinda strange, isn’t this a song with just tempo!”

“But, although it sounds silly, you really put a lot of thought into making it. This song resembles “Nanase Karin” quite well.”

“It strangely echoes in the ears. Sounds perfect to me.”

And thus, it was easily accepted.

Later, that song which the director had taken an interest in was used many times as the opening theme and also during the preview for the next episode. While on the internet, it became quite a hit on video-uploading sites.

Afterward, they made a CD out of it, made it available for mobile-phone download and the song became popular in karaoke that even people who did not watch the drama began to know Nanase Karin’s name.

The director also said something like this after that.

“When I think about it now, all of them, were within Nanase Karin’s calculation for sure. The office nor the TV station never thought such song would sell so they didn’t bother and all the rights for the song belong to Nanase Karin alone. But I think that the person herself, looking at changes in our time, must have seen it as something that would bring money.”

That is right. The song was written completely by Nanase Karin herself. Hence, the royalty she got made her income increased greatly, and became very wealthy in a short moment.

It was said her income had amounted to something that is unbelievable for a gravure idol who just debuted one year ago.

For the record, the costume she was wearing when singing the song was the same costume she used in the drama and also used for the cover of the CD, but it also could be related to the ribbon and black red dress that Koujin Nanase is wearing.

It could be said that it is the costume that leaves the strongest impression about Nanase Karin’s appearance.

Just like that, Nanase Karin appeared more often in TV and radio shows, and her quick brain and her quick-witted conversation skill were reevaluated.

Her photograph collections which were not selling were later being put also in bookstore’s shelf due to the stable number of her fans.

Even the story of her university entrance examination had become a topic; she passed the entrance examination for a well-known national university which her school had asked her to in just one try.

Looking at her traces, people like Saki would probably think it as an unusual and rare successful story but even then she was just an idol who was popular only to a small number of people.

Perhaps even if she did not meet her end in Makurazaka City, Saki would still never happen to hear her name.

That was probably as far as someone “above average” could go.

Above average as it might be, for people at the bottom and the middle, she became their target of jealousy since she managed to break through them and stood above them.

As far as what could be analyzed from the internet, it marked the beginning of endless scandals and gossips for her that born from the jealousy of those people.

“Terada-san, have you ever considered the possibility of Koujin Nanase being an actual ghost?”

“Hmm, again with that story?”

“Yes, since looking at what I’d found when checking her personal history, it seems reasonable for her to turn into one.”

While recalling all the things she had looked up, she tried to touch on the topic obliquely to convince him about her real ghost theory.

Terada is a stubborn man but it is not like he never listens. If she could hit the right spot, he might come to accept that it is a real dead human’s spirit.

Idol Nanase Karin, although I never knew about her until he was found dead around here, she was not a stupid and careless little girl for sure. I can tell that she was trying her best with her own power to not lose her own way, to keep reaching for the top. So I can understand why if some bad feelings remained when such girl died somewhere in the middle.”

Terada who already finished 8/10 of his curry in just a short moment deplored while looking at the curry plate as if it was not enough.

Saki then recalled some more about the things that happened up to the moment of Nanase Karin’s death.

In June of her nineteenth right when Nanase Karin was rising as an idol, her father had passed away.

Falling down the stairs of his home apartment and hit his head, and the death was classified as an accident. At that time, there was nothing found that would topple the possibility of it was not an accident.

It was an unnatural death but no legally-ordered autopsy was done. Such thing is not that weird. If there was no suspicious element to treat it as a murder, it can the said that it was rather normal to not to spend extra cost and work of doing an autopsy.

Although there was news about the death of a partly-famous idol’s father, no one made a huge fuss about it. Nanase Karin also appeared on TVs without any change.

“I’ll keep doing my best for my late father.”

She gave a mediocre comment about it, and that was all.

However, at the end of November of the same year, suddenly people began talking about their doubt about the death.

About when the daughter was successful in being an idol, the father tried to live off her daughter and quit his work which Nanase Karin felt it as unpleasant, and also maybe with insurance money as aim too, she murdered him while making it looked like an accident. That kind of story.

The story of her father was-

“Recently, Haruko seems to despise me now. She always boasted about her smart brain since back then.”

telling his friend his complaints about one month before his death rose to the surface and furthermore,

“I can feel Haruko’s urge to kill me. By the time someone would be reading this, there’s no doubt that I would’ve been killed by Haruko. No doubt about it.”

Such content was written frankly by her father in his note which was found almost 5 months after the incident had happened.

The topic first started to spread on the internet, and later, as if trying to pursue the story, it was picked up by weekly magazines and sports papers.

Actively appearing idol doubted for murdering.

Since she was only suspected, the word “murderer” was not used directly in the open but it was enough to fill Nanase Karin’s image with black color.

“She isn’t that much different from us but because of luck, she’s selling well.”

Those people who were jealous of her said to be posting things on the internet with eagerness trying to add fuel to the flame of calumny.

That was around the middle of December and even after the year had changed, the topic continued to be discussed.

According to some rumors, as spring’s released series or movies are likely to get popular, the scandals were planned by some influential production companies so that all Nanase Karin’s casts for drama series and movies scheduled to be released in that spring would get rotated to new idols under them instead.

The production office where Nanase Karin’s belong once planned to sue those weekly magazines and sports papers for libel, but fearing it would rather drag the matter on so they did not sue them in the end. All they could do was only to sit quietly and wait.

To add to the Nanase Karin’s problem of things did not go well with her father,

“Nanase has a sister who is 2 years old above her, and she doesn’t get along well with that sister of hers too.”

which is, in fact, the truth and,

“Someone said the reason was because her mother died a few days after giving birth to Nanase Karin.”

it was being spread around added with a fabricated fact like that complex household story.

Just like that Nanase Karin took a break from her work and

“I’ll be back soon enough, you fools.”

left an abandonment-ish short comment on her production’s company’s homepage and afterward, she began to hide herself and move around from hotel to hotel in various direction, spending her days while being hounded by the mass media.

Then, around the end of January, as if fate has nothing to do with it, she lodged at a hotel in Makurazaka City. Without knowing her fate that she would die next to it in just a few days.

Saki while looking up for the flow of events up till her death on the net, tried her best to only pick resources with high authenticity and later make a summary out of them but idol itself always has a false side to begin with.

The reason for her selling well and also the reason for her being chased were all coming from rumors and public opinions.

Seeking for the truth behind it, from the beginning is perhaps impossible.

After eating up the remaining curry rice, Terada extended his hand towards the cup filled with water.

“In the end, the suspicion of her killing her own father is still unsolved, and neither any of those people who were stirring up things on the internet nor those weekly magazines and newspaper are going to take any responsibility for what they did. As for Nanase Karin herself, it wasn’t just luck alone, I’m sure she worked hard in selling her name too. If she became a revengeful spirit and started attacking people, or rather the society, I do understand the reason.”

“I thought a detective would not believe in a ghost-like story, but I want to believe that it’s not entirely true.”

Although it was meal time, it does not mean saying things as if there is something stuck between her teeth is alright.

(T/N: There is a wordplay here. The author is using the idiom lit.” saying things as if there is something stuck between one’s teeth” which means to say something indirectly or in a roundabout way. And they were currently eating. Get it?)

And it did make Saki a bit gloomy.

Even then, Terada did not make an annoyed face nor try to change the subject but instead gave a response while looking straight in her face.

“It’s not like I’m completely denying things like ghost. In fact, I even make sure to go visiting grave every year because I believe in spirit’s existence.  Even in this case, if Nanase Karin’s ghost had appeared at her death scene with blood flowing from her crushed face floating around there doing nothing, I’d believe it. But Koujin Nanase is different, no?”

For a while, as if trying to sort the right words, he was swaying the spoon in the air and later hit his plate once with it before speaking the words he had arranged.

“She is, right, feels like something that people made. Wearing a mini-skirt dress, having a crushed face, holding steel beam and swinging it around; all these have become the things that would make those people, the society which had driven her to her death to be irresponsibly delighted. Isn’t it weird that a girl holding a grudge on the society that she’d become a ghost, would look like that? Then, there must be something, completely different from Nanase Karin’s will that is hiding behind or at the bottom of this.”

Saki was shocked.

I see, that does make sense, she thought.

If one were to say that Nanase Karin is a revengeful ghost, then the fact that it is weird for it to go ‘appealing’ itself to the public too much would refute it, and it contradicts with the fact Koujin Nanase is a spiritual existence without denying the existence of spirit.

If they were debating, this is where the judge would declare Terada’s win.

However, the reality is unconventional compared to logic, and Koujin Nanaseis a spiritual existence.

Nonetheless, after her point had splendidly been broken by him, now, trying to convince Terada is close to impossible.

“Yumihara, by any chance, the boyfriend that you had broken up with, did he die and later showed up as a ghost? And then came to apologize for his bad behavior of the past or something like that?”

Terada seemed to be still concerned about their conversation yesterday. He was probably trying to do it prudently, not to tactlessly deny the existence of ghost to someone who had such experience.

It was an unfitting sensitiveness for someone with broad shoulder and huge size.

“No, he isn’t dead, nor that he had become a ghost.”

Kurou would not die that very easy as he, for one, is a man who had eaten mermaid flesh.

From ancient times, it was told that anyone who eats mermaid’s flesh will become ageless and immortal.

Eating the flesh of a mermaid and become immortal and lived for several hundred years. Such folklores like YaoBikuniChitoseBikuni are very famous in Japan since long ago.

(T/N: The author provided how to read YaoBikuni (八百比丘尼) but did not do so with ChitoseBikuni (千年比丘尼), which I found strange and it turned out I could not find its pronunciation anywhere on the net, so I kinda made it up, but “chitose” is how you read the (千年) part. Link to the wiki here.)

It is not known why but in western countries there is no myth about immortality from eating mermaid’s flesh, perhaps it is because eating fish raw is rare in their culture. Among the mermaid-eating legends in Japan, most of them were eaten raw.

Saki who was going out with Kurou since high school knows that Kurou was growing up along with years so he is not ageless.

That too, according to Kurou, is probably because of the Kudan’s meat that he had eaten along which negates some of the effects.

However he might stop aging when he reached a certain age, he also said that in a lonely tone.

“He just got himself a new girlfriend, and is doing well and happy. Even if he became a ghost, I’m sure he won’t be visiting my place.”

Her tone became somewhat enraged before she could notice it, and her chest was filled with anger.

At least, if it was a girl similar to her, maybe she would not be this irritated.

“Sorry, I said unnecessary things.”

Seeing Saki’s face as if she would probably snap the chopsticks between her fingers into two, Terada readjusted his sitting posture out of feeling at lost in the situation.

“Me too, for getting emotional.”

What was she thinking, making someone who is a high-rank judo holder to sit straight and apologize to her. Saki put down her chopsticks and lowered her head.

“Terada-san, how many other police officers that are feeling uneasy about theKoujin Nanase? It seems like all the happenings in the city got into your ears pretty quick.”

“There are only a few people that are actually moving around for it. As for those who are feeling suspicious about this, I think there is more than one person in each jurisdiction. Sometimes there are a few of them that when they have this kind of uneasy feeling as if something is about to happen, they would go and act on their own alone. I took care a few cases like that so I guess I’m quite well-known to them, and when things like this happen, they would inform me first.”

This is likely the result of his achievements after working for a long time in the field which could not be represented by words or ranks.

“That is also why they are willing to lend me the investigation papers on Nanase Karin’s death. I did help them a few times after all. If a group of criminals is planning to do something in this city and they don’t actually care who it is as long it can be a ghost, then there is no need to look into it. However we also have to think about the possibility that it wasn’t an accidental death but a homicide and these recent happenings were caused by it.”

Terada emptied the water inside the cup before and putting it onto the tray and rose from his seat.

“So, I’ll send you the materials later in the evening. It’d be a great help if you could read through them in my place and tell me the summary later. I am, after all, the type that does work by walking around rather than sitting at a desk.”

“Okay, if it’s only that much I won’t mind at all.”

An excellent detective would not only quick on his feet but also proficient at doing deskwork so it must be him being modest.

Terada laughed with a big smile at Saki’s reply and was going to leave the table and go back to his duty but he suddenly stopped his step and dropped these words.

“Yumihara, I know a good place for Yakitori. Maybe we could go there later?”

Up to now, he appeared to be calm and unconcerned about their surrounding but when it came to personal topic like this, he changed his tone into a formal. Maybe he was trying to look refined or he was just clumsy and awkward.

Saki could not help but laugh.

Terada who could not understand the meaning behind Saki’s reaction pursed his lips looking somewhat uneasy.

Saki held back her laugh and did a small bow before giving her reply.

“It sounds good, I’d be glad to go. I also wanna talk more about Koujin Nanasetoo.”

Her reply was implying him to invite her not ‘someday’ but while they can still talk about Koujin Nanase, in the near future.

The person asking who did not expect an answer close to that one, for a short while, although he looks like a bald-headed monster seemed very happy like a dove given grains before saying-

“Alright then, keep your schedule open for the day after tomorrow’s night.”

and walked away to return his tray of plate and cup while nodding happily.

Saki let out a sigh wondering if she made the wrong choice but when she saw the lunch set that was not even half finished, the thought of how she should shake herself free from her past already had occupied her mind.

Even Kurou is now dating a different type of girl.

Then she thought that the idea of stop being nitpicky and try something new is not a bad option.

She should make use of this Koujin Nanase case as a reason to start anew.

And later that evening, when he returned to the station after finished dealing with a rear-end collision case at the national highway she found the papers on Nanase Karin’s case on her desk.

There was also a very short email saying it had arrived on her phone.


What to do now.

Iwanaga Kotoko began to ponder in front of her computer display as she was fiddling with the curling kitten on her walking cane’s handle with her thumb.

Almost one hour had passed since she entered the net cafe just behind the hotel she had lodged yesterday.

The time was almost 7 o’clock in the evening.

Since it was just early September the sky was not completely dark yet but it was getting closer to the time for those non-human beings to start appearing.

The shop assistant in the net cafe was beginning to glance repeatedly at Iwanaga over time, and it was likely because he was thinking that Iwanaga is under-aged.

Although she was not yet 20, but she was also not at the age where her night activity is restricted.

She had her student identity card with her so proving her age would be easy but to be interrupted while she is thinking is not a pleasant matter.


Share This :


No Comments Yet

Post a new comment

Register or Login