Saturday 7 January 2023

Book Review: Idol, Burning by Usami Rin (Contemporary Fiction)

Title: Idol, Burning
Author: Usami Rin
Publisher: Canongate
Publication Date: 2022
Pages: 144
Format: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Bought Copy

'My oshi was on fire. Word was he'd punched a fan'

High-school student Akari has only one passion in her life: her oshi, her idol. His name is Masaki Ueno, best known as one-fifth of Japanese pop group Maza Maza.

Akari’s dedication to her oshi consumes her days completely. She keeps a blog entirely devoted to him, religiously chronicling and analysing all his events. He is the spine of her life; she cannot survive without him. When Masaki is rumoured to have assaulted a female fan, facing waves of social media backlash, Akari’s world falls apart.

Offering a vivid insight into otaku culture and adolescence, Idol, Burning is a brilliantly gripping story of obsession, coming of age and the addictive, relentless nature of fandom culture.


Idol, Burning was a short (one-night) read, but its limited page count didn't make it any less interesting or compelling. Usami Rin offers us a fascinating portrayal of modern-day fandom and its effects. Akari's experiences felt very realistic, and the translation worked well in changing internet posts into a style you would expect to see in English-language comments. My only negative point would be that it would have been nice to have seen this novel expanded a little to address more fully Akari's mental health, which is only hinted at in the text as it currently stands. I think that could have added further depth to the work as a whole. But this was still an enjoyable read as it is and worth checking out if you like contemporary Japanese literature and/or are interested in modern fandom. I am giving it four stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment