Snakes and Earrings

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Snakes and Earrings (蛇にピアス Hebi ni Piasu?, ISBN 0-525-94889-9) is a novel written by the Japanese author Hitomi Kanehara in 2003, and it won the 2003 Akutagawa Prize for literature. It was translated into English by David Karashima. In 2007, a film-version directed by Yukio Ninagawa was released.


The story follows several months in the life of Lui, a young woman who, while exploring body modification, decides to split her tongue. It follows her feelings at this time, and her slow spiral downwards into alcoholism. The story ends with Lui's own tragic discovery about her lover and the mysterious tattoo artist she has grown entranced by.


  • Lui (中沢 ルイ Nakazawa Lui), a nineteen-year-old woman who claims to be named after Louis Vuitton.
  • Ama (雨田 和則 Amada Kazunori), Lui's eighteen-year-old boyfriend.
  • Shiba-san (柴田 キヅキ Shibata Kizuki), a 24-year-old horishi (Japanese tattoo artist), body piercer and bisexual sadist.
  • Maki (マキ), a friend of Lui. A 'barbie-girl.'

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