Journey Under the Midnight Sun

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Journey Under the Midnight Sun
Author Keigo Higashino
Original title Byakuyakō
Translator Alexander O. Smith
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Genre Mystery, Thriller
Publisher Shueisha (Japanese)
Little, Brown (English)
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print, e-book
ISBN 978-4087744002

Journey Under the Midnight Sun (白夜行, Byakuyakō) is a mystery novel written by Keigo Higashino, first serialized in the monthly novel magazine Subaru from Shueisha from January 1997 to January 1999. The entire volume was published in August 1999 and became a bestseller.

During the serialization, the novel was at first written as a series of short stories representing chronological snapshots of the overall plot line. Higashino modified its structure to make it a single coherent story before publishing it as a single volume. As of November 2005 the book had sold 550,000 copies. However, its sales quickly picked up after the first episode of the adapted TV series was aired. By January 2006 its sales had broken a million. Its sales exceeded 2 million in December 2010.

The novel attracted adaptations, including a stage drama in 2005, a Japanese TV series in 2006, a Korean motion picture in 2009, and a Japanese motion picture in 2010.



Nineteen years ago (1972), a pawnshop owner was killed in Osaka. Several suspects were identified. The case remained unsolved due to lack of decisive evidence. Since then, Ryoji Kirihara, the son of the victim, and Yukiho Karasawa, the daughter of one of the suspects seem to have walked on separate paths of life. However, mysterious and vicious crimes kept on happening around the two of them. This is an epic story about two people who lost their conscientiousness from a tragedy.

The story spanned from 1973 to 1992. The novel is narrated from multiple support characters' point of view, with a lot of foreshadowing. The two protagonists' thoughts, however, are avoided as much as possible.


Ryoji Kirihara (桐原亮司, Kirihara Ryōji)

The son of the victim killed 19 years ago, Ryoji's eyes have been dark and emotionless since the childhood incidence. He loathes getting close with other people. He started to get involved in shady businesses like housewife prostitution rings and game bootlegging when he was a student. He is a very astute man who possesses professional software skills. He loves to use vintage scissors of his since childhood and is very good at paper cutting. (The English translation by Alexander Smith renamed him Ryo Kirihara for reasons unknown.)

Yukiho Karasawa (Nishimoto) (唐沢(西本)雪穂, Karasawa (Nishimoto) Yukiho)

A stunning beauty, Yukiho is the daughter of one of the suspects of the pawnshop homicide 19 years ago. A primary school student then, she lived a poor life with her mother. Her mother died in an accident shortly after the murder. Afterward Yukiho was adopted by Karasawa, received a good education, and turned into an upper-class lady with manners and elegance. Her academic grades were excellent, causing a lot of envy. People close to her often fall prey to misfortunes.

Junzo Sasagaki (笹垣潤三, Sasagaki Junzō)

An officer in the Crime Investigation Unit of the Osaka Prefectural Police, Junzo was in charge of the investigation of the pawnshop incidence. Over the years of investigation, he grew suspicious of the mysterious events befallen on people close to Yukiho and Ryoji; he has been investigating them since. He likes Seven Stars cigarettes very much.

Hisashi Koga (古賀久志, Koga Hisashi)

An officer in the Crime Investigation Unit of the Osaka Prefectural Police, Hisashi was also investigating the pawnshop incidence. He rose through the ranks of the police force in the following 19 years. He is Junzo's coworker as well as his relative.

Yosuke Kirihara (桐原洋介, Kirihara Yōsuke)

The owner of the "Kirihara" pawnshop and Ryoji's father, Yosuke was killed 19 years ago. He cared about his son very much. He discreetly had some unusual sexual interests...

Yaeko Kirihara (桐原弥生子, Kirihara Yaeko)

Mother of Ryoji, Yaeko became the owner of the pawnshop after her husband died. After the pawnshop was closed due to mismanagement, she opened a small cafeteria. Yaeko knows she is not a responsible mother to Ryoji.

Isamu Matsuura (松浦勇, Matsuura Isamu)

The store manager of the "Kirihara" pawnshop, Isamu knows a lot of secrets about the Kirihara family. He later approaches Ryoji as a broker of unauthorized game software.

Fumiyo Nishimoto (西本文代, Nishimoto Fumiyo)

Mother of Yukiho, Fumiyo was seen by the police as a suspect in the pawnshop incidence. Soon after the murder, she died from a gas leakage at home. The truth, however, is much darker...

Reiko Karasawa (唐沢礼子, Karasawa Reiko)

Yukiho's distant relative, Reiko adopted Yukiho after her mother died. She is very strict in teaching Yukiho to behave like a lady.

Yuichi Akiyoshi (秋吉雄一, Akiyoshi Yūichi)

Ryoji's secondary schoolmate, Yuichi was secretly photographing Yukiho.

Fumihiko Kikuchi (菊池文彦, Kikuchi Fumihiko)

Ryoji's secondary schoolmate, Fumihiko had photos about a secret of Ryoji's mother Yaeko. He was later set up and became the suspect of another crime.

Eriko Kawashima (川島江利子, Kawashima Eriko)

Yukiho's university schoolmate, Eriko had a short romantic relationship with Shinozuka Kazunari started by his proposing. She was kidnapped mysteriously later and separated with him. She respected and depended on Yukiho a lot during university days but later became distant. Years later she got married with an ordinary worker. She holds a complex and doubtful attitude toward Yukiho.

TV series[edit]


  • Takayuki Yamada as Ryoji Kirihara (桐原亮司, Kirihara Ryōji)
  • Ayase Haruka as Yukiho Karasawa (唐沢雪穂, Karasawa Yukiho)
    • Mayuko Fukuda as Yukiho Nishimoto (西本雪穂, Nishimoto Yukiho), (childhood Yukiho before adoption)
  • Tetsuya Takeda as Junzo Sasagaki (笹垣潤三, Sasagaki Junzō)
  • Atsuro Watabe as Isamu Matsuura (松浦勇, Matsuura Isamu)
  • Takashi Kashiwabara as Kazunari Shinozuka (篠塚一成, Shinozuka Kazunari)
  • Mitsuru Hirata as Yosuke Kirihara (桐原洋介, Kirihara Yōsuke)
  • Yumi Aso as Yaeko Kirihara (桐原弥生子, Kirihara Yaeko)
  • Kotaro Tanaka as Hisashi Koga (古賀久志, Koga Hisashi)
  • Keisuke Koide as Tomohiko Sonomura (園村友彦, Sonomura Tomohiko)
  • Kei Tanaka as Michihiro Kikuchi (菊池道広, Kikuchi Michihiro)
  • Hiroyuki Onoue as Yuichi Akiyoshi (秋吉雄一, Akiyoshi Yūichi)
  • Kaoru Yachigusa as Reiko Karasawa (唐沢礼子, Karasawa Reiko)
  • Kaoru Okunuki as Namie Nishiguchi (西口奈美江, Nishiguchi Namie)
  • Chihiro Otsuka as Eriko Kawashima (川島江利子, Kawashima Eriko)
  • Momoko Kurasawa as Miyako Fujimura (藤村都子, Fujimura Miyako)
  • Seina Kasugai as Ryoko Kotake (小竹亮子, Kotake Ryōko)
  • Shun Shioya as Makoto Takamiya (高宮誠, Takamiya Makoto)
  • Hitomi Sato as Chizuru Misawa (三沢千都留, Misawa Chizuru)
  • Michiko Kawai as Fumiyo Nishimoto (西本文代, Nishimoto Fumiyo)
  • Kimiko Yo as Mafumi Taniguchi (谷口真文, Taniguchi Mafumi)
  • Naomi Nishida as Noriko Kurihara (栗原典子, Kurihara Noriko)


Year Award Category Recipients Result
2006 48th Television Drama Academy Awards Best Drama Byakuyakou Won
Best Actor Takayuki Yamada Won
Best Supporting Actress Haruka Ayase Won
Best Supporting Actor Tetsuya Takeda Won

See also[edit]

External links[edit]