Based on the Akutagawa Prize-winning 2003 novel, “Snakes and Earrings”is about body mod kids in Japan – “tattoos, piercings, body mutilation, and random sex.” Chara (Swallowtail Butterfly) is doing the theme song, “Kieru.”
Offsetting its highly conformist, nose-to-the-grindstone image, Japan maintains a subgenre of rebellious youth stories in literature and film. Kanehara’s short novel, a winner of Japan’s foremost award to new fiction writers, stands firmly in the subgenre’s literary line. It has stirred a lot of sand because it includes plenty of deadpan sex, Kanehara was only 20 when it won the prize, and it is one of the first novels about Japan’s newest adults, who, growing up after the Japanese economic bubble burst in the 1980s, know only a society no longer able to promise that good jobs will be especially remunerative or even obtainable. Lui is a freeter, or independent young adult, living on part-time jobs and affectlessly clubbing, drinking, drugging, and screwing. She meets literally fork-tongued Ama. She decides to have her tongue done likewise and becomes Ama’s noncommittal lover, boffing tattooist Shiba on the side and never learning Ama’s real name. Violence, heavy drinking, and death eventually disrupt this drama of youthful degeneracy that steadfastly rejects romanticism.