The Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch

AuthorYukiko Mari
ISBN978 - 4093863575
CategoryMystery & Thrillers
PublicationJuly, 2013
Estimated length368P
Size188 × 132 mm

1962: Juniso Neighborhood in West Shinjuku
The story begins in West Shinjuku, an area set off from Shinjuku, which is currently Japan’s most famous nightlife district. At the time, a geisha district flourished near Juniso Lake, and it was a bustling playground for adults.
At the “Parrot’s Perch”, a three-story western-style house that stood in the district, there lived a parrot named “Taro”. Officially, the house was presented as a “restaurant”, but it was actually a cover for far more questionable transactions.
One day, I (called Ko), who was the 12-year-old son of a western-style restaurant owner, was asked by my mother to deliver some food to the “Parrot’s Perch”. When I stepped inside, I witnessed my classmate Mizuki being sexually molested by a man he did not know.
Later that same year, three people would be murdered at the Parrot’s Perch.

1991 (The Bubble Era): West Shinjuku
Saori Hachizuka, a popular essayist, was living the envious life of a celeb in the “Belvedere Parrot”, a super high-class residence that was built on the former site of the “Parrot’s Perch”.
Saori’s husband worked in television, and together they had a 4-year-old son named Shun. She was also pregnant at the time with her second child. By all accounts Saori seemed to lead a fulfilling life in both her public and private spheres, supported by her manager, Chizuko Minamigawa, and her sister-in-law Yoriko who helped look after Shun. However, she was constantly haunted by a lingering fear.
“I know that my son is going to become a criminal…”
Saori used to date another man before she met her husband. His name was Koichi Kawakami, and he had been sentenced to 7 years in prison for assaulting a young girl.
Shun was definitely her husband’s son and was not related to Koichi, but Saori couldn’t help but notice that Shun seemed to have many things in common with Koichi – his abnormal cleverness, his short temper, and his habit of sucking his fingers.
Saori found herself believing her friend’s explanation of “telegony” – a theory in which an offspring born by a female to a certain male inherits the characteristics of another male with whom the female had previously been partnered.
Saori then heard a rumor that immediately filled her with fear: “Koichi Kawakami has been released.”
Around that time, a group called “Let’s Save Yukari” was formed in order to raise money for the treatment of a gravely-ill girl named Yukari, who was the daughter of one of Saori’s friends.
Then, on September 15, 1991, during a charity bazaar held in the lounge of the “Belvedere Parrot”, it happened: the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch”.

In the incident known as the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch”, Saori Hachizuka and her husband were brutally murdered in a room of their apartment. Although Saori’s former boyfriend, Koichi Kawakami, was named as a suspect, the case remained unsolved.
As the statute of limitations drew near, a producer named Satoshi Okura had been moving forward with a movie about the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch”. Mr. Okura had plucked an unknown young actor named Masaki from obscurity to play the part of the perpetrator, Koichi.
As it turned out, Masaki was actually Shun, the only son of the Hachizukas, the victims in the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch”.
Mr. Okura was aiming to make a splash across the headlines with his sensational choice to have the son of the victims play the part of the perpetrator.
Masaki was slated to appear on a TV talk show to push the film, and on the show he underwent therapy from a hypnotherapist named Reiko. While under her influence, Masaki began to recall the details that were trapped in his childhood memories – the day of the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch” on September 15, 1991.
Therein, he recalled seeing his mother Saori invite Koichi Kawakami over to their apartment, and then catching them in an embrace. Her husband Sachio, who had witnessed Koichi leaving the apartment, immediately accused Saori and this escalated into a huge argument. Shun tried desperately to stop her, but Saori ended up stabbing her husband with a knife.
After these horrendous memories from his past came spilling out, Masaki (Shun) committed suicide by jumping off the balcony of their abandoned apartment in West Shinjuku, and the truth about the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch” went with him into the grave.

Seven years earlier, after his movie “The Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch” was shelved due to Masaki’s suicide, the producer Mr. Okura continued to chase the truth about the crime.
He finally uncovered some new information, and with this he began to plan a television show to reveal the facts about the unsolved case of the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch”.
He recreated the scene on the day of the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch” in 1991 in a studio, and even invited the participants in the charity bazaar. During this recreation, Mr. Okura named the perpetrator of the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch”.
“It was her. The murderer was Chizuko Minamigawa.”
He then laid out his reasoning as follows.
“Chizuko was born in a geisha house in the Juniso district of West Shinjuku, and she was abandoned by her mother who was a geisha. Forced to serve customers at the “Parrot’s Perch”, Chizuko was implicated in the stabbing of some customers of the house in 1962. She went on to marry and changed her name to Minamigawa, and subsequently had a daughter. However, her daughter was attacked by Koichi Kawakami, and ended up killing herself due to post-traumatic stress. Chizuko was filled with rage upon watching Saori take the witness stand as a character witness during Koichi’s trial, but when she learned that Saori was also a victim, she felt sympathy for her and decided to support her by becoming her manager. However, on September 15, 1991, after Saori impulsively stabbed her husband and admitted that she still had feelings for Koichi, Chizuko’s anger exploded and she brutally stabbed Saori…”

Mr. Okura orchestrated a “reunion” between Chizuko Minamigawa and Masaya Kosaka, who was the prosecutor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office.
Mr. Kosaka had been invited to the charity bazaar on the day of the “Tragedy at Parrot’s Perch”. He had harbored a crush on Chizuko since they were younger, and he had protected her by setting up Koichi Kawakami as the murderer using the full extent of his authority as a prosecutor instead of focusing on Chizuko, who actually stabbed Saori.
Their “reunion” took place at the “Parrot’s Perch”, which had been reborn as a French restaurant in Juniso in West Shinjuku.
Mr. Kosaka called her “Mizuki”, and as he began to bring up some nostalgic memories from Juniso, Chizuko finally realized who he was.
“It’s you, isn’t it? Ko…”
“Do you remember?”
“Yes, I remember. You were the boy who was always watching me.”
“When those men would do awful things to me, you were watching.”
Mr. Kosaka had been hoping for some sort of romantic reunion, but before he could grasp the situation, Chizuko grabbed a knife from the table and stood up.
“I hate you!!!” she screamed, as blood stained the table cloth and Mr. Kosaka’s body turned cold.

About the Author

Born in 1964, Yukiko Mari received the Mephisto Award (given to new novelists by Kodansha) for “Loneliness Disorder” in 2005. In 2011, her novel “The Impulse of Fujiko the Murderer” rode a strong wave of word-of-mouth praise to become a best seller.


PublicationJuly, 2013