| Miki Taku (1935 -) vividly described one summer told by Shinji, a third
grader of a junior high school.|
One day, Shinji is backed a young man fighting with a big guy. The young man happens to be Shogo, the leader of a popular local rock group named The Flags, which Shinji adores. Shinji becomes the manager of The Flags, and becomes acquainted with the members, a younger sister of Shôgo, and some shipmen. Shinji is absorbed in archery. He has a disorder on his leg, and is not on good terms with his father. Each member of The Flags also has his own trouble. The Flags have an audition to be professional. Before they leave for Tokyo, they have a successful farewell concert. However, their dream is broken and they soon come back to their hometowns, where there is no place for them. Genta, a friend of Shinji, wants to be a professional boxer, but he has to give up his dream because he punched a big guy while protecting Shinji. The young men who can find no place for themselves any more get into a scrapped ship and play instruments as they like on the sea at night.
The dreams and failures of young men are told by Shinji. Each of them faces his own problem. They offend adults and their local society, and have anger and a fruitless feeling of resistance. Even at the end of the story, none of their problems are solved. However, their attitude to be free from the oppression shows the energy of young people. That seems to reflect the strength of Japanese society during a time of high growth of the Japanese economy at the beginning of 1970s. Miki is a poet, and the symbolic verse sung by The Flags shows his nature as a poet. The elements, such as a rock group, archery, and electric guitars, reflect young people's culture. Illustrations by Shinohara Katsuyuki describe the world of this story very well.
Manatsu no Hata is Miki's third novel for boys, following Horobita Kuni no Tabi [A Travel Through a Ruined Country] and Hoshi no Kantata [Cantata of Stars]. It was highly praised at the time of its publication. Later it was published as one of the Kôdansha Pocket Book series.