| Nusumareta Machi is the first serious creation by Furuta Taruhi (1927 -), who began his career as a critic. He tried to realize his theory that children's literature should describe children growing in the circumstances they are in. This story is said to succeed in showing people who are content with mechanized work and standardized pastime in the beginning of 1960s, when the high growth of the Japanese economy began.|
Nusumareta Machi contains two worlds - real one and unreal one. In the real world, Ishikawa Susumu, a pupil living in Hôjô City, is kidnapped. Then Yoshioka Yutaka, who attends the same elementary school as Susumu, pretends to be kidnapped so at to attract the attention of his busy parents. Yutaka himself shows up soon, and Susumu is saved by the effort of Yutaka and others. Sasaki Tadahiko, the son of the mayor, is arrested as the kidnapper. The mayor leaves his position, and Mr. Yamamoto is elected as the new mayor. Yamamoto makes an amusement park, and the citizen come to enjoy comfortable lives. However, Yutaka and his friends find out that Mr. Yamamoto is in a secret union with the chief executive officer of a department shop and others. Meanwhile, Yutaka and others also live in an adventurous world with Zen Nihon Mitsuyu Rengô [All Japan Smuggling Union] and Grûpu Kage [A Group Named Shadow].
The complicated mixture of real and unreal worlds is one of the outstanding characteristics of this novel, which was inspired by The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. The double structure can be found not only in the plot but also in the usage of words, reflecting how the characters have robbed human nature. The people who are captured by the new mayor's strategy become "shadow," for example, and Yutaka who fights against that strategy, finds the "the movement to promote tooth brushing" by the mayor comfortable. This story shows people are easily influenced by circumstances and should have strong will to exert positive action.
Nusumareta Machi first appeared in a newspaper in Akita prefecture. When it was published in book form in 1961, the ending of the story was partly re-written and illustrations by Kume Kôichi were added.