The mystery of Akebono/Sakigake

November 9, 2019 By mk

The name sounded familiar to Tengo, but he couldn’t remember where he might have heard it before. When his attempt to trace the memory back ended in failure, he felt unusually frustrated. (Ch.10, 1Q84)

Recently, I happened to know that Sakigake and Akebono are the names of the silkworm species which become chrysalis in the airy cocoon. Until coming up with 1Q84, I had felt the same way as Tengo did.

The Journal of Silk Science and Technology of Japan, 1992 vol.1

“That’s it—the girl Fuka-Eri. We were just getting started on her and Air Chrysalis.”……. She even gets the title wrong: she’s confusing ‘chrysalis’ and ‘cocoon.’ (Ch.2, 1Q84)

“Sakigake split in two in 1976,” he went on. “Eri escaped from Sakigake and came to live with us the following year. Around that time the new commune began calling itself ‘Akebono.’ ” (Ch.10, 1Q84)

Considering the fact that Sakigake and Akebono are both silkworm species, I see an implication that Fuka-Eri’s move from one to another is that she moved from a cocoon to the other cocoon, different name but essentially the same place, and generated “Air Chrysalis” in it.