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Goin’ Japanesque!

Manga “Death Sweeper” Depicts Special Cleaners That Handle Death Scenes

In Japan death is a hidden existence.

Generally speaking ordinary people rarely witness corpses.

A job called “special cleaning” exists in order to hide death from people.

This time we are introducing the manga “Death Sweeper”, whose theme is special cleaning.

 

Synopsis

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“Hiroyuki Okazaki” is an ordinary college student, and he is shocked when he faces his elder brother’s unexpected death.

Hiroyuki becomes the first person to learn about his brother’s death and discover the body. He is devastated and confused at the changed sight of his brother in an advanced stage of decay.

Then Hiroyuki meets a man called “Reiji Miwa”, who undertakes the special cleaning of his late brother’s room.

Reiji is an employee of “Sweepers”, a company that offers special cleaning service. Hiroyuki observes Reiji who impassively handles the job to eliminate signs of death, and he finds both Reiji and the job alien to him.

Hiroyuki brings his unsettled emotions about his late brother, Reiji, and his job toward Reiji and asks questions. In order to find answers on his own, Hiroyuki decides to work with Reiji.

His work as a special cleaning staff is to clean off the “stains” left by those who meet  quiet, lonely deaths unbeknownst to others.

 

Characters

1. Hiroyuki Okazaki

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He is a college student who used to live a normal college life.

His parents had had high expectations on his elder brother’s future and he had always been compared against this brother. When he has directly faced this brother’s corpse, he starts to question the meaning of “life and death”.

In his effort to find an answer to his question, he starts working part-time at Sweepers, a special cleaning company.

2. Reiji Miwa

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He is an employee of Sweepers. He is a handsome young man and always calm.

He hardly shows overt emotional ups and downs such as laughter or anger, and he even handles the special cleaning job indifferently and cleans up rooms where corpses have been found.

His unemotional personality appears to have underlying circumstances, and the second half of the story starts revealing his past.

3. Teruhiko Ueno

He is an heir to a distinguished real estate company, but an employee of Sweepers.

He is a kind senior employee who takes a good care of Hiroyuki.

4. Mitsu Nakajima

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She is also an employee of Sweepers, and she appears to have extra sensory perceptions relating to the deceased.

She appears to have had a habit of self-mutilation in the past, and works at Sweepers as a person with a past.

 

Analysis

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This story depicts calmly and realistically what happens physically when people die and how it affects their belongings and those who have been left by the dead in various deaths including suicides and unexpected deaths.

Although death is the main theme of this story, it rarely involves direct expressions of corpses or bizarre death scenes.

The story unfolds mainly in the rooms after corpses are removed, so readers who detest such descriptions can read this work with ease.

Even when the “scene” does not contain directly visible “death” itself, the story unfolds in a subtle manner with its brilliant illustrations to make the readers feel existence of death in its absence.

When death is depicted by the author Sho Kitagawa’s precise and delicate touch, it leaves heavy impact on readers’ hearts.

And his style to squarely deal with the theme of death casts strong inquiries to the readers as to what they think about death and if they are prepared for it.

This story once again reminds us of the fear that was left by our first realization of death when we were children.

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However, this piece unfortunately ends in the middle of its story, whether the author intended to end this way or the series was not popular enough to continue.

The storyline finishes with a reasonable ending, but the issue of death, which the story raises to the readers, has not been fully addressed, leaving unresolved feelings.

The meaning of death may have been too large a theme. This story has been published in 5 volumes in Japan.

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The story completes itself leaving many mysteries, however the content of this work is ambitious and worth reading.

This manga purports to tell readers that death comes equally to everyone and there are people who clean up the scenes subsequently.

This is an excellent work that urges readers to think about death by handling the subject with impassiveness.

We strongly recommend you to give a try to this manga.

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Berial the Demon

About the author

It has been over 40 years of reading manga in the deep world of manga. Japan’s manga has an endlessly wide variety of genres. I will be recommending special manga for you to read from such infinite amount of works.

View all articles by Berial the Demon
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