He-y, Come On Ou-t!

by Shinichi Hoshi

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How is the foolishness of society revealed in "He-y, Come On Ou-t"?

In "He-y, Come On Ou-t," the foolishness of society is revealed in the characters' disregard for the consequences of their actions. Thinking that they have found a permanent solution to their garbage problem, they dump rubbish and toxic waste into the hole, not realizing that eventually it will fall back down on them. This is symbolic of modern society's attitude towards waste. People indiscriminately dispose of it on land and sea, disregarding future consequences.

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The short story "He-y, Come On Ou-t" is a parable of the foolishness of society concerning its disposal of waste. After a typhoon, a landslide near a small village sweeps away a shrine, and where the shrine used to be, a seemingly bottomless hole is discovered. The villagers decide that they will rebuild the shrine above the hole until a concessionaire offers to construct a larger shrine closer to the village and fill in the hole for them.

After the villagers agree, the concessionaire opens for business, offering to dispose of all manner of waste, including nuclear waste. Since whatever goes into the hole vanishes without a trace of residue, people start to throw in not only nuclear waste but also human corpses, bodies of diseased animals, and eventually all the garbage and detritus of the nearby city. Nobody gives a thought to what happens to everything that goes into the hole; when they think that their garbage disposal system has no consequences, they concentrate on "producing one thing after another." This is so much like our modern society, which creates waste that fills the land and the oceans but doesn't worry much about what it will mean for future generations.

Before long, however, the extravagance and waste catch up with the city dwellers. At the beginning of the story, someone shouts, "He-y, come on ou-t" into the hole and then throws a pebble in. At the end of the story, a workman high on top of a building being constructed hears this shout, and then a pebble skims by him. At this point, we realize that the hole is actually a portal to another space and time and that everything that everyone dumped into it is about to rain back down upon the city. This is symbolic of people who disregard warning signs of danger to the environment and continue to abuse it with waste and excess. One day this excess will overwhelm us.

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