『七つの会議』by Jun Ikeido

Cover of the book 七つの会議. The cover is beige with a darker drawing of a long table seen from above with empty chairs around it.

Quick Facts

Like most (or maybe all?) books by Jun Ikeido, 『七つの会議』got a TV adaptation. Contrary to the other novels I have read by this author, this one is not much about banks and loans.

Title: 『七つの会議』(ななつのかいぎ)
Author: Jun Ikeido (池井戸潤)
Published by Shueisha


Tokyo Kenden is an old-school company where sales and profit matter more than anything else. Everyone is shocked when a complaint of power harassment is made against the company’s top sales manager… but several employees sense that something else is going on.

This is an ensemble cast, where each chapter is devoted to a different character. Except for one character, they are all employees at Tokyo Kenden.

I find that this structure brings interesting elements to the novel. First, we see different aspects of the company, and we approach the problem from different perspectives. Some characters are right in the middle of the plot, others will risk their career to discover the truth. We see the company as a whole and how each employee contribute to making it work, and contribute to revealing (or hiding!) what is really going on.

What I really like is that the author gives a background for each character. Their story, their past, their personality influence their action. Sometimes it is their career, sometimes their family, but they all have a reason for acting like they do and make the choices they make. This is interesting, as we see both the company as a whole and how each individual influence it.

The problem with this ensemble cast structure, is that it is difficult to identify with one character, and the story was less engrossing to me as a result. It also did not have this fight-for-justice energy that other books have. The other two books I read by Ikeido are 『空飛ぶタイヤ』and 『アキラとあきら』and both books were a rollercoaster of emotions. In comparison, I found that I was much less involved in 『七つの会議』, which is strange because it reads like a mystery, which is my favourite genre.

Overall, the story is excellent, and it is not hard to imagine that fiction might not be very far from reality. But to me, this novel lacked something compared to the other two. I was not as emotionally involved, and I did not care about the characters as much. I also found that one chapter (the third one), was strangely disconnected and not as interesting as the other ones.

Book review: 『空飛ぶタイヤ』 by Jun Ikeido


Title: 『空飛ぶタイヤ』 (そらとぶたいや)
Author: Jun Ikeido (池井戸潤)
Published by 講談社文庫
907 pages

This novel was published in 2006 and is inspired by a real accident that involved Mitsubishi. In 2002, a 29-year-old mother was killed when the wheel of a Mitsubishi trunk broke off and hit her. Her two children were injured. This happened just two years after Mitsubishi publicly recognized that it had covered up vehicle defects to avoid recalling them.


You really don’t need to know about the Mitsubishi scandal to enjoy 『空飛ぶタイヤ』, and even if you are not an avid reader of economic news, I heartily recommend you to give this novel a try.

Our main protagonist is Tokuro Akamatsu who owns a small transportation business. One of his trucks loses its wheel which leads to an accident similar to what happened in 2002. The novel takes us in a epic battle with Akamatsu’s small company on one side and Hope Motors Corporation, the giant automotive manufacturer, on the other side.

The topic of a small business and employees fighting for justice is appealing in itself, but in Jun Ikeido’s novel, it becomes a most exciting quest filled with emotional moments. I cannot remember the last time I felt so emotionally involved in a novel. I was both trembling with rage and shedding tears of joy with Akamatsu.

Another thing that I loved in this novel is how much we learn about how a big corporation works. Seeing how different services compete inside of Hope Cars was both an interesting insight and a nice addition to the plot. Similarly, the delicate position of Hope Bank, which belongs to the same group, spiced up the story while opening my eyes on things I never really thought of before.

I also found that the characters were more interesting and complex than in the other book I read by Ikeido, which was 『アキラとあきら』. In Akira, the characters were either good, nice and brilliant or ill-intentioned and stupid. While the novel was excellent, the characters’ actions were dictated by their nature (good or bad) rather than circumstances or inner struggles. In 『空飛ぶタイヤ』, the characters are more complex, and while there is still a good vs bad frame, there are more interesting characters who are torn between their own interests and what they know to be just.

Overall, 『空飛ぶタイヤ』 is one of the most engrossing novels I have read in Japanese so far, the characters and the whole story feel very real, the novel takes you on an emotional roller coaster filled with tension and suspense. The book reads like a thriller, but what makes it so gripping is that it deeply cares about people.

Book review: 『アキラとあきら』 by Jun Ikeido


Title: 『アキラとあきら』
Author: Jun Ikeido 池井戸潤
Published by 集英社文庫
720 pages

Jun Ikeido is a popular author of business novels, most of which have been adapted into drama. Published in 2017, 『アキラとあきら』 it one of his most recent novels.

There is a one volume edition and a two-volume edition. I bought the two-books edition and found that the summary of the second book reveals too much. I heartily recommend to not read it!

There is a drama adaptation featuring Osamu Mukai 向井理 and Takumi Saito 斎藤工.

Akira Yamazaki and Akira Kaido could not have more opposite background: Yamazaki has grown up near his father’s small factory in a rural area, while Kaido’s father is the director of one of Japan’s biggest steamship companies. We follow them over several years, as they navigate the dramatic changes that have shaped Japan’s economy from the 70s to the 90s.


Easy to understand and suspenseful

This is the first business novel I read, and I was very surprised by how engrossing all this bank stuff can be! I know nothing about finance, and I was afraid I would have a hard time following the story, but the book turned out to be quite easy to follow, even for newbies like me. Jun Ikeido really makes a great job at making all the financial intrigues and conversations very accessible even if you are not familiar to these kinds of topics.

It is also super engrossing! I would have thought that bank loans and investments would be boring topics for a novel, but the truth is that I could not put down the book. I am not sure that you can classify 『アキラとあきら』 as a financial thriller – as there is no real financial crime in it, but it does have a good dose of suspense in it.

Not as much about friendship than business

The reason why I bought this book even though I am not particularly interested in finance, is because I thought it would be more about friendship and rivalry between the two protagonists.

Actually, and contrary to the drama, Kaido and Yamazaki are very rarely together, and they meet for business only. This book is mostly about business and apart from passages dedicated to the two Akira’s youth, there is not much going on in terms of private life.

Long but too short!

This book is the longest book I have read in Japanese, but it almost felt too short! It is so good that I wanted it to last longer and tell me more about the main characters. The end, especially, while quite good, felt a little abrupt. I was thinking: “what, is that it? But what happens next? Is there a second volume?”. I could not help but wanting more business adventures with the two Akiras.

Good guys and bad guys

The only thing that I did not like that much in the novel is that characters can be quite stereotyped. The characters’ actions and intentions lack some depth in my opinion. Good characters do good things because they are kind and smart, and bad characters do bad things because they are greedy and/or stupid.

As such, reading this novel often felt like watching a drama with characters falling into predefined roles, which annoyed me a little.

Japanese level

I said that all the business-related passages were easy to follow, but obviously, reading them in Japanese makes everything much more complicated. I recognised a lot of words that I learned when I was preparing for the JLPT N1, but still, I had to look up a bunch of other new words. I also had to re-read some passages several times and make an effort to understand them.

The non-business related passages are not particularly difficult, but there are a lot of conversations around investments, loans and management, so you have to be prepared for some dictionary work if you are not already familiar with tackling these topics in Japanese.


『アキラとあきら』 is definitely one of my favourite books read in Japanese so far, and I heartily recommend it! If you are new to business novels like me, this one is a really good place to start as we learn everything together with Kaido and Yamazaki as they grow up.

This is my first Jun Ikeido but certainly not my last, I cannot wait to read more by this author 🙂

(I made the drawing of this post using a scene from the drama.)