Written by Jan Suzukawa
Review by Viviane Crystal

Michael Holden is a 20th-century college student who is serious about his studies. He knows he is quite comfortable financially due to a family trust but is totally oblivious as to his future since he has no clear goals or dreams. Now, however, he is about to experience a life-changing phenomenon. After some typical jesting with his ex-girlfriend and now just friend, Ellen, he falls asleep over his textbooks and awakens in 19th-century Japan. Initially, he is treated as a prisoner, as he is clearly a “gaijin” (alien) in the mind of most Japanese people. How he entered Japan, which is closed to all foreigners except for a few missionaries in the south, is a mystery to his captors, but Michael clearly recognizes one person whom he had seen in a dream in the past.

The clearly good-looking Japanese man is Shinjiro Kaminishi, a daimyo of a small clan, untroubled except for a rival neighbor vying for the Kaminishi lands. Shinjiro gradually introduces Michael to sex, with intensifying depth as time passes. The two men fall in love, but Shinjiro is horrified by Michael’s descriptions of Japan’s future. Shinjiro is determined to thwart that future, which will lead to his own demise. The second part of the story involves a transition to Shinjiro and Michael’s meeting in Japan’s future, where Shinjiro is a reborn yakuza or Japanese mafia leader. Michael’s appearance changes Shinjiro’s plans dramatically.

This is a style of novel known as slashfan or yaoi fiction, involving relationships between members of the same sex, the latter primarily directed to female readers. It has both paranormal and erotic features, which are frequently seen in manga novels. Very different historical fiction!