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This synopsis of "Enterprise"
(Jigyô, 1950) is based on and all page numbers refer to the version
appearing in volume 2 of the Abe Kôbô zensakuhin shû,Tokyo:
Shinchôsha, 1973. All translations are my own.
This synopsis, along with
all other materials appearing on this website, is copyrighted. Unauthorized
reproduction is prohibited.
The story is written in the
format of a letter from an entrepreneur to a detective novelist, with
the purpose of enlisting the novelist's support to his cause. The entrepreneur
is a believer in the god known as "Chance," and his entrepreneurial
success is a product of his faith. He considers his position akin to that
of a priest in this religion. His business began when he started breeding
rats, whose meat he then used to make sausages. The sausages are a tremendous
success, and protecting the secret of the recipe is of course central
to maintaining this success. To those who would call his concealment of
the recipe immoral he replies:
This sort of secrecy and silence is the duty of the entrepreneur, indeed
one should think of it as his law. As long as the sausages are perfect,
isn't that enough? Beyond that, useless knowledge will only draw the masses
into rebellion. That which appears moral is moral. (146)
Things at the factory proceed smoothly until a particularly large strain
of rats--known as "pig rats"--attack and eat the breeder. The
rats go on a violent rampage killing several people, including the entrepreneur's
wife. This tragedy serves only to further inspire the entrepreneur. He
quickly removes the entrails from the bodies of those killed by the rats
and turns them into sausages. His new line of sausages becomes an even
Shifting from rats to corpses, demand for his sausages grows to unprecedented
heights, and ultimately begins to outstrip his supply of bodies. Accordingly
he is required to find new sources of raw materials, which is to say,
he begins to murder people. To the uninitiated, he says, this would appear
to be a sin, but, with the last supper and communion, Christianity itself
justifies the act in its assertion that killing someone is acceptable
provided one intends to eat him (or her) afterwards.
Still, in order to mass produce the sausages it becomes necessary to devise
a mechanism by which people will offer themselves up without a struggle.
Visiting an automated slaughterhouse in America, where animals go in on
one side and sausages come out the other, he has an epiphany.
Back home, he builds a slaughterhouse of his own, calling it "Utopia."
He quickly begins an advertising campaign urging people to come to "Utopia"
and is soon rewarded with a steady flow of "visitors." He hits
upon another idea to further increase his profits and begins to charge
admission. This has the effect of increasing Utopia's allure and the influx
of people. His scheme achieves perfection with a revised advertisement
that provides him with all the raw materials his sausage plant could ever
"It's Utopia! Why hesitate? What's that, no money? Well, make some
and then come. Become one of our sausage salesmen. Labor has its rewards.
With a few months of work, your life will be secured. This Utopia is not
transitory. Once you enter, its final. For as long as you live, whatever
happens, you don't leave." (149-150)