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Karan and Safu and their impact on the story

ーNext, I'd like to ask you about Karan's parental feelings and Safu's love.

I was able to write about relationships between (guys) because its something I don't know, but for the heart of a parent or of a young girl in love - they're feelings I can write about from my own experience. Especially in Karan's case, I think a part of myself really came through. The feelings that Karan feels towards Shion and Lili, rather than a process of creation, it was like I was simply bringing out what was in my own heart.

ーWhat do you think of Karan as a woman?

She's a very mysterious woman. At first, even I felt that she was "a foolish mother". Although she felt that something wasn't quite right in the life she was leading, because she was able to live without any loss of freedom, she didn't try to find anything out, and didn't even knw what she didn't know. A part of me is like that too, so I ended up putting my own feelings into her - at times, I put too much of myself in. But even she started to fight. The foolish mother, relying on her own feelings and on her brains, came to value a way of life that protected the people you care about with an illogical love.

ーSafu, too, loves illogically, doesn't she?

I wrote/introduced Safu into this story, a story dominated by boys, because I wanted to add the essence of girls to it. I wanted to write about a girl with a strong/dignified presence, a girl who loved straightforwardly. However, at the start, I didn't think that she'd be so deeply involved. I assumed that I understood how a girl would act. But Safu sometimes does things contrary to my expectations. For example, at the correctional facility in the 9th volume, when she cried in front of Shion, it shook me to the core - I was like "Aah...she ended up crying". What happened to Safu in the end may be rather bitter, but it was really important for the story.

From September 11 to March 11: Speaking of Miracles

ーWhen you were writing the final volume, the Touhoku Earthquake occurred.

I was actually meant to finish the manuscript by February, but my struggle with that delayed it into March, and (we) met with the earthquake. The quake itself was a natural disaster, but the response to the latter issues at the nuclear power plants had me once agains thinking about "the state", just like September 11.

ーThat's a pretty big conincidence, isn't it?

I did wonder about the timing. I even thought that, if there was some kind of meaning to the conincidence, it was because I'd written a half-baked answer (to my question). From the time I started writing the story, I had an image that "No.6" was a story that I'd end with 'destruction and rebirth'. But because of the March 11 quake, the reality that there are many different paths to rebirth was brought home to me. Within the world of "No.6", for example, the ways that Shion, Nezumi and Yoming see rebirth are all different, and it's impossible to pick any one way as "the way things should be". However, in order for the story to end, it was essential for some kind of rebirth to start. Two questions - how to end the story properly, and what kind of rebirth should I write about in the end - these two weights were hanging over me at the same time, so I was doubly restrained.

ーBecause of the Touhoku earth quake, what readers take from "No.6" will certain be different.

With a great danger in front of you, when you are confronted with difficult individual decisions, I wonder if writing the following kind of story to contemplate the world is an appropriate response. You could make the story the end of your questioning as well, right? With sayings like "let's all do our best", or "let's support each other", taking each others hands and standing up - as long as you do that, a happy renaissance is waiting for you. I think it's possible to take heart from a story like that. However, I think that another kind of story is necessary.

ーYou mean something asking about how rebirth should be carried out, right?

No matter how may tens or hundreds or years I take, I don't think I could pick out "the one best way" for rebirth. However, precisely because it's impossible to do so, I think there's value in writing (this kind of story). In the last volume, I suggested what the present me could do with all my might.

Destruction, Rebirth, and...

ーWas there anything you were thinking about as you finished the last volume?

I was surprised that No.6 (the state), which was that fearsome, was so fragile. With just a little internal pressure, it was easily destroyed. Until I wrote the 9th volume, I thought that No.6 would not disappear as long as Fennec and the doctor (the man-in-white), the two tyrants controlling No.6, were defeated. However, as I was writing, I realised that what had to be defeated wasn't either of them. They were just a small part of the state - it wasn't them alone that was holding No.6 up.

ーIn that case, who was holding No.6 up?

The people who didn't even try to find anything out, who didn't even try to find out why they felt suffocated. As a result, they thought of themselves as victims, but in reality, they are intimately involved. It's the ignorance and indifference of the citizens that gave the rulers their power. If the citizens don't change, No.6 will never disappear. in the end, I realised that the thing known as "the state" is not something different from "the individual", but rather the collective of "the individual".

ーIs this the answer to the question you posed at the start, about the relationship between the state and the individual?

I don't know if you can say that I've given an answer. Even now, I am not confident that I really brought the story to an end. However, I am glad that I had the story of "No.6" within me.