レベル7 Informal Reading Club

I seem to consistently be reading the assignment right at the last minute :sweat_smile:

I feel like we have lots of clues and yet none at all.

I’m really curious if 三枝 is somehow involved in the levels. Also 佐藤一郎 is a great name :joy:

I will say the whole “I don’t want a name” thing was weird to me. That feels super inconvenient and the emotional reasoning didn’t click for me.


Thoughts up to section 20:

If our two amnesiacs are from Sendai, that definitely puts the “the woman is Misao” theory out of the picture. It makes more sense as a conspiracy to send people to other parts of the country anyway, to reduce the risk of them bumping into somebody who knew them in their previous life.

The mention of the fax machine and the hairdresser’s line about it being a great time to be a young woman made me go back and check when the book first came out – 1990, which is just after the bubble started to collapse, but the book was presumably being written a bit earlier than that. Certainly still peak fax machine era, anyway.

The non-fiction writers mentioned in passing in section 19 are 柳田邦男 (accidents, wars, some social commentary), 沢木耕太郎 (travel and sports writing) and ドウス昌代 (writing mostly about people like her with links to both the US and Japan).


I am yet again late to the reading. :sweat_smile: At least this past week I have the excuse that I have been traveling and finding time to read during travel weeks can be pretty difficult. Reply through section 20:

Appreciate the author look up!

And yeah, I agree, the Sendai line also made me think they must be a random unrelated couple. I wonder if our couple is ‘on’ level 7 and Misao is still trying to get there? Presumably the earlier levels you retain your memory…?

I also keep thinking Saegusa is somehow involved and part of the ‘game’. It stretches my imagination a bit to think a random Japanese guy is going to go, “oh, you’ve got a gun and suitcase full of money but claim to have amnesia? Lemme help you, I’ve got nothing better going on”.
Then again even if he isn’t involved I feel like there is more to him than meets the eyes.

I also found the comment from the hair dresser about being a good time to be a woman interesting, but even with the bubble aside my (vague) understanding of women’s rights and freedoms in that era is positive. I tried to look a bit but my knowledge of terminology here in Japanese is weak, so I ended up in English. This was a mildly interesting article though. It comments on the meaning of フェミニスト which I recall asking a tutor a long time ago about that word seeming to a positive euphemism for ‘play boy’ :joy: I was watching 80s shows/movies at the time. She said it doesn’t hold that connotation as much anymore.


Spoilers for 21-23:

Well, 23 was a long section with a big drop of new plot information. The whole ‘level 7’ thing so far has seemed like a fairly wide-scale plot where a lot of people potentially are getting drawn in and then memory-wiped (enough people to merit tattooing them all with serial numbers, anyway). On the other hand this set of murders at the holiday home seems like a one-off event, so how are the two going to tie together? Is the doc just using a pre-existing memory-wipe-lots-of-people setup as a handy way to get rid of two people who maybe saw more than they should have? Or is it actually just these two who’ve had this done to them?

I’m guessing Misao is the figure on the fourth floor of the clinic. The small clinic size also argues for a small-scale operation, I guess.

I agree with you about Saegusa knowing more than he’s letting on, especially with the way he’s described as acting in section 23. It’s remarkably convenient that he has all those newspaper clippings and so on about the killings, and knows somebody who has photos of the missing people.

We’re up to page 330 in my copy; in a lot of other books this would be practically the end, but we’re not even halfway through yet :slight_smile:


I just finished reading this week’s part (21-23)! Finally caught up again. :slight_smile:


Truly… it took me 2 weeks to regain my footing after I got back home wr to bookclubs. I still haven’t commented on the thread after finishing 犬神家の一族 since I went right on reading my other books. :sweat_smile: I’ll get there, although my memory is already not that fresh anymore.

It was really pleasant getting back to Level7, though! The writing style somehow just carries me forward. This weeks part didn’t feel like the 50 (bunkobon) pages it was. :slight_smile: I first checked to see how much was left after almost an hour of reading.
(Not quite coincidentally, I ended up buying a couple more used books by 宮部みゆき this week when I had the opportunity. One of them ended up being volume 3 of a series, but oh well. :laughing:)

There were a lot of developments this week! I agree, Misao is definitely not our amnesiace woman. The girl on the 4th floor of the clinic seems like a good bet!

I appreciate that we’re not left hanging with our new theories for long. After hinting that the two are connected to that incident, we soon get more information on that.

Saegusa is definitely suspicious, though. He’s way too convenient. And also quite creepy. What was with the gun scene? :sweat:


I tried to add all the new names we got in this section, but quite a few I had to go back and add once I had computer access so may have missed a couple. Did we get the names of the two amnesiacs? The daughter and son of the mountain villa buyers?

I’m sure it will be repeated if not.

Saegusa’s gun scene was weird. I kept thinking he was 孝 and admittedly I haven’t ruled it out! Dude’s body was found half mangled on a cliff face if I got that right?
I’m super curious what Level 7 even means. Like Misao has been ‘going through’ levels, but how could these two be anyone but the people they are…? Unless this is all a manufactured murder? Like some incredibly convoluted game of ‘dinner mystery’?

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I think a body was discovered there- but before they managed to recover the body, it was swept away by the waves, so they’d only have seen it from afar with no way to identify it. So I guess it really could have been anybody. :thinking:


Sections 24-26 (we’re now halfway through!):

Well, end of the ‘day 2’ chapter, and it went out with a bang. I was not expecting a chapter from Misao’s viewpoint. This confirms a few things we already suspected (that Misao is the one in the clinic 4th floor, that the phone call to her mother was lying, some of the dynamics between Sakaki and his father-in-law) and gives a bit more on what the level 7 business actually is. It sounds like it’s a sort of “we give you some drug that makes you forget who you are for a bit so you can run away from whatever it is you don’t like about your life” setup. Looks like Misao didn’t live up to her friend’s assessment that she wasn’t such a fool as to get into taking drugs…


Just finished 24-26 and I agree, quite the section!

They just dropped the bomb about who our amnesiac couple are, and then didn’t come back to them for 3 sections, haha. Poor Misao seems to be getting all the bad sides of being beautiful (jealousy, unwanted advances) with really nothing to show for the good side.

I’m glad 榊先生 is proving to be a good dude.

I agree that the “冒険” seems to be a drug, and I’m curious if the ‘levels’ are dosages? I also wonder if that’s the drug the initial couple was given, as it appears to blank out memory. It also has side effects clearly, as Misao has lost feeling in her left arm and the other lady has gone blind.

I wonder if 真行寺 will meet our amnesiacs first or connect to the clinic first :thinking:

Also that little bit about someone claiming to be her lover?! Very curious what the connection is there.



Saegusa is still behaving kinda suspiciously – somehow being able to get sold-out train tickets, casually saying he knows several other people who’ve had memory loss because of electroconvulsive therapy. I’m wondering if he’s an undercover detective who’s been investigating Dr Murashita from a different angle (and got the next door apartment initially because he’d found that Murashita was involved in getting 707, perhaps?) and stumbled onto our amnesiac couple as a key lead to follow up…


Yeah, he is for sure. The longer this goes on, the more I drift away from my initial suspicion that he’s up to no good… But then again, only 2 days have passed so far. I need to keep in mind that a lot of things are happening simultaneously here. Or, just a lot is happening.

We learned a lot about our amnesiacs this week, so I’m looking forward to hopefully some more detective Shingyouji next time. :smiley:


Note in case like me you’d fallen into a rhythm of “read 3 sections a week”: this week’s reading is 4 sections :slight_smile:


I am late to reading last week’s reading :sweat:
But I agree with you both that
Saegusa is acting more and more sus. I haven’t yet totally abandoned the idea that he’s the ‘dead’ son. Perhaps he’s out for revenge on his step dad and this is his way of getting it.
Also I’m trying very hard to suspend disbelief about this selective memory less. When the book was tilting more sci-fi feeling I was like “ok, cool memory drugs” but now that it’s shock treatment I’m a bit :face_with_raised_eyebrow: about it. Shocked so much they forgot everything but still have perfect language use within a day of waking, no memory of each other’s faces, good motor control, good emotional regulation, etc etc. I’m just a skeptic who needs to go back to pretending this is sci-fi :joy:


Reply, spoilers for last week only:

I feel like the son appears too much in newspaper photos for that to work; but I did wonder if Saegusa was a friend or private detective working on the son’s behalf.

Different subject, spoiler for section 33 (i.e. this week): who the heck would be trailing Shingyouji way back before Misao disappeared? No idea what’s going on there…


I actually read on time and not at the last minute this week! Spoilers through 33:

Wow, so much but also so little.

The guy was in his 40s so… Sakaki? How old is Saegusa? I vaguely remember him being older, but not by how much. Heck, let’s throw Takashi in there too for funsies. There has got to be some connection between these Saiwai murders and Shingyouji…right?
Also isn’t her dad (or is he her husband’s father? I really should have taken better character notes) an old reporter? Maybe he knows Saegusa. But also I think he’s retired…?

So many questions, so few answers. I will say it seems like Akie is is getting her memory back faster than 祐司 but she also seems more tightlipped about it.


Spoilers for 34-36:

Well, Saegusa confirmed for ulterior motive. I wonder what the past history is between him and Shingyouji senior? Bit odd that he basically ignored/didn’t recognize Etsuko – maybe the person he was trailing wasn’t Etsuko but the colleague she was with?

Also, next week we start on the final in-story day – only 275 pages to go!


Ooh I like that theory. I thought his behavior to her was odd but I didn’t totally clock that he didn’t recognize her - I thought he was just being shifty :sweat_smile: I’m very curious what this revenge is about and I’m still holding tight to my pet theory that he’s the dead son under all of it :joy: Revenge on his step dad for all his wrongs, for murdering the family, etc.

I feel like ‘level 7’ is still unclear. It seemed like drugs at one point, but then in this section was called a game again?

Also honestly for such a long book that only covers a short time span it’s very engaging! I remember 64 was also like that, and it was also over 600 pages. Something about long books and short time frames!


Only 2 sections for the next reading but it’s a long one :sweat_smile: Somehow I managed to get the long weeks of both my clubs to align so I’ve got quite a bit of reading to do and no one to blame but myself :joy:


I finished this week’s reading. I feel like for such a long section there wasn’t really that much information that felt new? Like sure, much of it was new, but a good deal of it could be inferred from what people had already said.

I guess it’s time for me to give up my 三枝 is 孝 theory finally. :joy: Also if Level 7 == memories being erased, that makes it explicit what みさお was after. Now I suppose we’re heading into the climax where all the characters will meet and we’ll get the final untangling of this web. Looking forward to it!


There was quite a bit of infodumping this week, yeah.

A couple of lines here and there have made me wonder if our amnesiacs really did get the full level 7 permanent amnesia treatment. What if they’ve actually only had the 4-day amnesia, and now Saegusa is carefully leading them around and telling them a story to set them up to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do? It would explain the business with the train tickets (Saegusa would know in advance that they’d go to Sendai on day 3 if that was part of his script), why he doesn’t like them going off-script (like talking to the clinic receptionist on their own, or going to the Takadanobaba apartment the evening they got back from Sendai), and why there’s been this very convenient one-clue-leads-to-another trail they’ve managed to follow in just four days. But I have no idea what Saegusa would be setting them up for.