Matthew Crosby writing

Stories about writing, Japanese art and theatre, yakuza, ghosts and...

The Curse of the Matsumoto Cherrywood
by Matthew Crosby

Cover: Jack Kirby Crosby, font and graphic design: Heather Walker 

"This curse, of times long gone, of now, must be set down with indelible ink and read out loud… If there is any hope, it is in the record; for evil prefers silence and withers in the telling."


I've so enjoyed the journey finding this story… characters from ancient Nara, the 16th century 100-year wars, down to the 1750’s publishing district of Shinbashi. I've studied woodblock printing, fashion, colour and the circular economy of the golden era of Edo. On visits to the Ukiyo–the floating world–I’ve met customers and their imprisoned courtesans. On slow and fast trains, on foot and online, I've seen the sights of the nakasendo, the inland highway, and stayed at its checkpoint inns. In the second part of Book One, I introduce the world of the yakuza, organised crime, which thankfully I met just in the literature. Ghosts past possess these crime-bosses… narcissists in pursuit of the oldest prizes–lust, money, power. In Book Two, we meet a few good cops… I can't wait to share my personal experience of Tokyo tent theatre–the tragedy of a curse that takes hold; in Book Three we’ll climb to the pilgrim hut atop Mt. Ontake, on to Matsumoto Castle and return to Melbourne to a dénouement that startled even me. I hope you enjoy reading this slow-burn saga told in the light of incendiary lamps. 

Book One available now at Apple Books and other bookstores:

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After a childhood acting career in Sydney, Australia, I graduated from NIDA in 1981, and performed in many television, film and theatre projects. I first toured Japan with Melbourne's Playbox (Malthouse)/Suzuki Company of Toga Macbeth project,1991-2. I so loved my experience I studied contemporary theatre there further with support from a Japan Foundation Fellowship and Asialink Residencies. Since, performing speaking Japanese, I've toured with Japanese theatre companies… mostly, Tokyo-based tent-theatre, Shinjuku Ryozanpaku. I've written and directed many plays, most recently with our Melbourne-based theatre ensemble The Thursday Group, which premiered my play The Intriguing Case of the Silent Forest in 2019. The three books of The Curse of the Matsumoto Cherrywood series have been developed over a decade…a first stroll down the path of long-form fiction writing… I think they show the influence of writers like Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Murakami Haruki and Ishiguro Kazuo as well as the rich experiences working in Japanese theatre over the last twenty years. Drop me a line 🌞