Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: Japanese
Translated from: Japanese
Authors: Ogawa, Yoko
Translated by: Enciūtė, Gabija
ISBN: 978-609-479-296-0
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2020
Publisher: Baltos lankos

“The housekeeper and the professor” is a Japanese author‘s Yoko Ogawa book about friendship which could be seen as impossible from a first glance. This story draws the reader in with its heart-warming storyline, lovable characters and uncomplicated, but interesting storyline. Also, it reveals the beauty and magic of the science of mathematics.

The novel tells a story about a housekeeper, her ten-year old son and a professor who used to be a math professor. The housekeeper has received an offer to work at the professor‘s house. When she was hired, the agency of housekeepers noted her that this client is different from others. The nine housekeepers that used to work there have quit their job after a few weeks due to very difficult job conditions.  The reason of these complaints is professor‘s extremely short term memory. The genius mathematician got into a car accident when he was young which resulted in him remembering things, which happened after the accident for only 80 minutes. Although the housekeeper understood that the job is going to be more difficult than usually, she decided to take the offered job.

The woman immediately noticed the distinctions of the professor as soon as she met him. An elderly man was wearing an old suit which was tearing in some places. However, the suit was barely noticeable due to various colourful written sticky notes, which were pinned all over the jacket. The notes contained the information that the professor must not forget. The sticky note that was pinned on the most noticeable place of the jacket said: “My memory lasts only 80 minutes”. Unexpectedly the woman was very happy to work in the house of such an interesting person. She introduced her son to the professor shortly after and he named him the little radical since the boy‘s head reminded him of the symbol √. Another note was added to the jacket soon about the housekeeper and her son Little Radical. The housekeeper and Little Radical has bonded with the professor and they have created a peculiar friendship. They tried to bring as many beautiful moments to professor‘s life as they could, although he will remember them for only 80 minutes.

Yoko Ogawa is one of the most well known Japanese writers at the current time. She has written over 40 different literature pieces and she has received important Japanese awards for literature. A movie named “The Professor’s Beloved Equation” was filmed based on the novel “The housekeeper and the professor”.


Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU