Hako no Naka


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Douno has been falsely convicted of mol*sting a woman on a train. He serves time in a group cell in prison, surrounded by inmates who are all suspicious in some way. Just as Douno’s distrust of people reaches its peak, he is saved by the innocent kindness of his cellmate, Kitagawa. For Kitagawa, who is imprisoned as a murderer, this is the first time in his life that he feels the emotion of love. This complete edition encompasses the main work, “In the Box”, as well as “Out of the Cage”, which tells their story after their release from prison.

Associated Names
One entry per line
In the Box
Related Series
Utsukushii Koto (1)
Brother (1)
Loneliness (1)
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Latest Release

Date Group Release
09/29/13 9ave summer vacation...
09/22/13 9ave summer vacation...
09/15/13 9ave summer vacation...
08/09/13 9ave field of silver...
08/08/13 9ave field of silver...
02/08/13 9ave rainy day
02/08/13 9ave and then...
07/07/13 9ave part14
07/07/13 9ave part13
07/07/13 9ave part12
07/07/13 9ave part11
10/06/13 9ave part10
10/06/13 9ave part9
10/06/13 9ave part8
10/06/13 9ave part7
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30 Reviews sorted by

erikvio rated it
March 2, 2019
Status: Completed
Extremely bittersweet and deeply affecting.

The story follows the relationship between Douno Takafumi, a normal city official who was imprisoned on false mol*station charges, and Kitagawa Kei, a prison detainee who exhibits autistic tendencies, from when they first meet to their death.

These two characters are, simply put, extremely unfortunate. It cuts as deeply as it does because despite the melodrama involved in this fiction, you could realistically find people in their situations. This describes the entire work, actually. Melodramatic plot points with a prominent undercurrent of realism that will leave you... more>> feeling hollow inside.

Their relationship and lives are everything but smooth, right up until the end. The author puts them through hell, and the quiet solace they find in each other is truly bittersweet to behold.

This story is not one of revenge. The wrongs they experience are never rectified, and they receive no apologies or satisfying resolutions. Instead, this is a story of endurance; of finding the strength to go on and reaching a state of contentment with what little they've managed to carve out for themselves despite the wrongs they've suffered. A deep sense of melancholy permeates every word in this novel. There are endearing moments peppered throughout to tide us through, but make no mistake: You'll cry. You'll rage. The author is determined to put us readers through the emotional wringer.

The only criticism I have is that I could have done without all the melodrama, though opinions on this will differ. The story remains poignant nonetheless.

I highly recommend reading this, but be prepared. <<less
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Shio rated it
October 27, 2015
Status: Completed
Big applause for Konohara Narise. I have read her previous books, and you could really feel her growth as author. Hako no Naka is definitely one of the best BL.

Prepare some tissue before reading, because you will cry a lot while reading this novel. I really recommended this novel for everyone who appreciate a good story, even if they are not fans of BL. There is one point in the story that felt forced for plot sake, but otherwise the story flows smoothly. Personally I think the side story made... more>> up for the forced plot device. The best part about this novel is that, unlike other story that tend to focus on only one part of the character's life, this story shows their age progression. It started when they meet each other, and ends when they are separated by death. It's a realistic take on BL. There's no your usual hero saving the damsel in distress or cliche character. It's simply the story of two people that met and learn to love each other. <<less
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kkaral7 rated it
June 6, 2017
Status: part1
I don't normally write reviews, but this novel deserves more attention. Don't know what I was expecting, but this was a beautifully written novel. Easily one of the best gay stories I've ever read, its written in a realistic manner, and it focuses more on the relationship than the physical intimacy. Definitely give this one a try, you won't regret it. The end chapters especially made me want to cry, watching them grow old together and seeing the cycle of human life, just very touching and poignant.
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SakuraHana001 rated it
May 3, 2016
Status: --
This is my ultimate favorite yaoi novel and one of the few novels that I often think about and feel good. Thanks to the translator 9th Avenue for putting such efforts in translating the novel vividly. What I love about this novel is how the story isn't rushed but isn't too slow either.
... more>>

I wish there was more point of view from Kitagawa. I felt so bad for him and loved his unconditional (almost obsessive) love for Douno. Someway, I felt that Douno, though had legimate reasons for refusing Kitagawa, didn't deserve him. However, the epilogues made up for that part.


The story was somewhat cliche, but Konohara did it perfectly. The epilogues, like mentioned by other reviewers, has so many feels bringing in many insights to me. <<less
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Reyleisha rated it
February 3, 2021
Status: Completed
Rating: 4/5: I will never read this book again, it made me feel too many horrible emotions.


It was torturous, painful and heartbreaking. I cried so much for the ML and I could never come to terms with how things ended for him. I never once felt like the MC was remotely likeable.

... more>>

In fact, if all that drama in his life never happened, he would have continued to step all over the ML’s heart. The fact that he still thought it fine to invite the person who loved him, into his married with kids, home and insist on the ML being happy with that, was so nauseatingly selfish and ridiculous of him, I seriously considered dropping this novel at that point.


Human beings should have some sort of respectable awareness, especially to not be tr*sh. This MC was clearly the highest grade of tr*sh.


Especially because up until now I still don’t understand how he simply skipped over the grieving period so quickly and had an awfully unnatural lukewarm reaction to the colossal events that affected the trajectory of the ML and his relationship. I found this so unpleasant as this was pretty much a life changing even and it really asked for more depth and feeling.


The ML really went through hell only to end up with someone so undeserving and cowardly. It made me so mad, but I applaud the author for creating such a novel with such strong emotive abilities because this entire journey was so nauseatingly unpleasant for me, I spent an hour crying and tossing and turning, after reading it. Simply because the author caused me to be so utterly distraught at such a horrible character, I commend such skill.


I am glad the ML got to be with the person he loved, but the person he loved never deserved him from the start and even until the end, I felt like his love was incomparable and minuscule when compared to the purity and magnanimity of the MLs. I wished he’d never met that horrible MC because he truly deserved so much more. His heart was so dedicated and pure and life and the MC just took from him.



I’m happy that the ending showed how the ML died first and I hope in the years that the MC continued to live, that he slowly deteriorated from sorrow and the pain of heartbreak and regret, at least it could count as minimum retribution for the 7 years of hell the ML went through because of him.


I really couldn’t even care for the MC. Uggghhhh thinking of him just upsets my soul!

I’m starting to hate tragedy tag novels and I chalk up this whole novel as an experience I would much rather forget. <<less
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amruta rated it
January 7, 2020
Status: Completed

After reading the first part, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading this. But my curiosity kept me going. BEST DECISION EVER.

What a roller-coaster of a ride. KUDOS to the translator for doing an excellent job. The great translation made the story more enjoyable.

... more>> Initially, it seems like Douno doesn't deserve Kitagawa's single minded devotion. But when Douno truly falls in love, he is as devoted as Kitagawa. The part where he wanted to "adopt" Kitagawa and the reasons behind it was so beautiful.

The side characters are also well written. Douno's inmates, detective Oe, Shiba, Mariko are all so human and hence so flawed. Douno's family (parents and sister) who are supportive of Douno form a stark contrast to Kitagawa's family.

Thanks to the author and translator for this great story. <<less
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Rainess09 rated it
February 20, 2019
Status: Completed
I cried buckets and buckets of tears. I feel like MC’s life was totally full of bad luck. But if it was me in his shoes I think it would’ve been enough compensation for me to know that somehow I had someone who loved me so terribly much. That I was able to live with that person for a great part of my life. Although he was taken from me so abruptly, I cherish, and will continue to do so until I die, the memories we’ve made together.

I had to... more>> lie down for the better part of the day cause I’m still reeling from the emotions I felt when I read the last chapter of this novel. But I don’t regret reading this. It was a treat to read about a story about gentle but moving king of love. Thank you. <<less
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fltstrt rated it
June 12, 2020
Status: Completed

My review contains spoilers and I earnestly urge anyone who hasn't read the story to skip reading this.


I can't bear to say that I enjoy the story because I am still reeling in the heartbreak and anguish... it's HE alright... but I wished the author gave them more time together..

Kei left too early. They only had 20 good years together... I can't imagine how Kei must have felt having to leave his lover this abruptly...

I understand the author's intentions to highlight the unfair and harsh reality, but as a weak hearted reader I wish there were less melodramatic dash of "realisms" and more sweetness after all they had went through.

I added several tags, in hopes that more ppl would come across this story. Romance was one of the genre that I tagged but later un-tagged.

I do feel that overall it isn't a romance story. The focus on their love was definitely a subplot and IMO I haven't had enough of their interactions as a couple (did they travel and go to spain?, etc I have so many qns..)

I appreciate the multiple POVs but the one POV I really wanted was Kei's. Unfortunately, there were barely any.. he was always mostly written from the third party view and I felt that this has made him rather 2D. I gathered that his social skills has improved marginally and he is more 'involved and intuned' with the world. He has such a unique thinking process that I wish to know more about his inner thoughts instead of what he outwardly portrays.

The middle portion with T's wife cheating, daughter murdered and Kei suspected as the Murderer... was a lil too much and too forced imo. I am really not big on melodrama and I do think that there could be a different way to write this portion minus all that cliche drama and still be able to have T accept Kei's feelings and fall in love with him. But hey, I am not the author, and as the reader I just have clench my jaw and ride through this frustrating hell storm.....

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dee_ism rated it
May 21, 2020
Status: Completed
I'm surprised that this novel is not that famous. The story is such a gem.

Our MC, Douno, is such a normal and very ordinary man. Our ML, Kitagawa, is someone who has childhood tragedy and lacking warmth in his life.

At MC's lowest point of life, ML gave him care, protection, and strength in his own pure way. In return, MC gave ML the understanding of this world and what is to be 'normal and ordinary'.

It such a bittersweet story given how raw and real the story deliver to you. And... more>> I found my self crying several times. And even it's a HE, it still make my heart ache a bit.

They fall in love, put through so much in life during their separation, and later they depend and loving each other for the rest of their life. <<less
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Jajachin rated it
September 19, 2019
Status: Completed
I don't know what words to say to this one of a kind novel. This was just so awesome. The story is so unique. Every thing that happened in their lives were wonderfully told. The emotion was on point. I never expected that I will find myself crying on the last part of summer vacation. The story gives pang to my heart. The characters were just amazing. Their love was so amazing. I don't know what to say anymore. The story was well written and it was translated superbly. HIGHLY... more>> RECOMMENDED!

One of the stories that made me read it without even ceasing. This wonderful masterpiece is hard to come by so read it. <<less
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Yunieanis rated it
May 26, 2018
Status: --
I have to say, I am not someone that always make a review, but this deserves it. I really like how it is so well written and well translated. Kudos to the translator that can potray what kind of emotions the author wanted to tell. I have cried a lot while reading this. It's a bittersweet story. I don't know why the rating is so low but I have reread this countless times
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stygetsu rated it
March 26, 2018
Status: Completed
One of the best stories I've ever read. I finished this few years ago but I can still clearly remember the ache and harrowing pains I suffered. A good tearjerker. Kudos for the translator for effectively evoking the emotions expressed from the raw text.
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Otwentyfirst rated it
February 26, 2018
Status: Completed
It took a long time to motivate myself to read this because of the depressing background setting. But am glad I finally bit the bullet and did.

Konohara is good at writing characters that are a little different. They really do burrow into your heart. It's starts off slow but once you get past part 1 you'll be sucked in, so just keep chugging and don't give up even if the chapter is long. You'll appreciate the length later on. The puppy dog love will be worth it. And the slice... more>> of life offered in the sides will be bittersweet yet endearing. Good for rereads. <<less
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Amaterasu69 rated it
September 29, 2017
Status: part1
I hesitated reading this because I don't like stories where the protagonosts get together only at the very end. I like to read about actual relationships. So for those with the same preferences as me, don't worry, there are only a few chapters where they don't interact.

It was beautiful and touching and the end made me cry, because I knew it was the end and I would miss Kei and Takafumi too.
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mick-02 rated it
January 22, 2020
Status: end
My gosh, I rarely review things here in Novel Updates. But I think this novel worth it.

I've been really reluctant to start reading this novel due to the fact that it is Japanese Title. I was not expecting much, maybe because I've seen to much BL mangas, thinking it might just like any other BL mangas of Japan. BUT NO. It proved me wrong.

This is such a good story that it made me feel all the feelings I must feel in this life. I fell in love with both of... more>> them as they fell in love with each other. Sad for some parts that are really saddening. Cried for them as the author wanted me to.

I hope I can encounter again this kind of feelings because it has been a journey. I am feeling grateful and thankful that I read this, I enjoyed myself so much that I want everyone to enjoy reading it too. <<less
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Thelyonna rated it
September 17, 2018
Status: --
This novel is one of the best BL-themed novels translated in English. I've read it at least 5 times by now, and I'm still planning to read it again and again, it's just so good.
Kitagawa's pure, unconditional love and almost autistic character is what I love the most.

... more>>

When he asks Douno to have at least his daughter when she grows up, it breaks my heart every time, that scene is so powerful.


If you like characters who love unconditionally, and have a child-like, pure, almost autistic tendencies in character, and like to feel your heart broken over and over till you reach the end of the novel, you definitely should read this gem! (And also "Brother" by Ren Ti Gu Jia, trust me, you'll like that one too!) <<less
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mj2016 rated it
March 29, 2016
Status: --
This story made me cry. It's really good
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Yaoisha B. Lood
Yaoisha B. Lood rated it
July 6, 2022
Status: Completed
This is a really exceptional piece of work. This story had me in tears in several different parts. The chapters definitely feel like they are full lull length. I read the whole thing in 2 days and on the first day I stayed up until 5am. For sure worth the read even with the gloomy tags.
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ImaginativeN rated it
July 9, 2021
Status: Completed
Read this story two years ago and I only comeback to the scenes where ML is happy.

This novel left me a huge scar that whenever I see the tittle, I wanna cry at how hateful the world treated the ML but also gave him MC (although he is not perfect but as long ML is happy, I'm happy) which was his own happy ending considering the fact that he passed away first. He left the world happy even if he entered it horribly.

MC is... whatever. ... more>>

The guy seeks family the most and didn't even contact ML after he left prison which was blood boiling. He was found by ML but he already has a child and wife after 7 years. This idiot left that one person who needed him the most and have the gal to tell him to be happy while watching him have a complete family while being single and alone.

Turns out his wife was bored with him and cheat with a childless married man. The married man's wife got pissed and killed their baby girl who is actually very close to ML. They blamed the ML for killing the child when they didn't know the truth which was infuriating!

So MC filed for divorse when cheating was opened but the wife was pregnant and demand to raise it with him and call him father (what a selfish thick skinned b*tch).

Then MC decided to be with ML because he realized how much he loves ML. HA!


ML is an angel for me. His love and ideas are pure that selfish and pathetic people are taking advantage of him. Even to me, MC doesn't deserve his pure love. He accepted MC at his lowest TWICE and live a happy life with him and the dog he always wanted. <<less
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Rhia89 rated it
June 28, 2020
Status: Completed
So, this is actually my first Japanese light novel. Honestly, I was a but hesitant to try this but I took a gamble. And it paid off. The translation is wonderful. The characters are amazing, their growth even more so. Its beautiful and tragic at the same time. I tend to avoid overly dramatic or tragic novels but this one is real to its core. I developed sympathy for all the side characters as well. There isnt really a villain. Its just real life. If anyones unsure whether to try... more>> it or not, I vote yes. It's a wonderful wonderful story. Many thanks to the translators for picking it up <<less
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