The Memory Police


Yoko Ogawa

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The Unnamed Narrator

The unnamed narrator is the protagonist of The Memory Police. She is a young woman who lives alone, since both her mother and her father are dead. She is a novelist and shares her… read analysis of The Unnamed Narrator


R is a literary editor who works with the unnamed narrator’s manuscripts. He has a wife—and, eventually, a baby son—but for the majority of the novel, he lives in the narrator’s home in… read analysis of R

The Memory Police

The Memory Police function as a unified entity, even though they are made up of many men. They are a relatively new, shadowy, and repressive arm of the state government whose main goal is to… read analysis of The Memory Police

The Old Man

The old man is the unnamed narrator’s late nurse’s husband. He used to be a ferry mechanic until those boats “disappeared”—for most of the novel, he lives on a derelict ferry that only functions… read analysis of The Old Man

The Narrator’s Mother

The unnamed narrator’s mother was a sculptor who was part of the minority on the island that does not forget “disappeared” objects. The story heavily implies that the Memory Police killed the narrator’s mother… read analysis of The Narrator’s Mother
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The Narrator’s Father

The unnamed narrator’s father is an ornithologist who passed away of natural causes when the narrator was a young girl. The narrator has very fond memories of visiting her father at work—she would go… read analysis of The Narrator’s Father

The Woman

The woman is the narrator and protagonist of the unnamed narrator’s manuscript, sections of which appear throughout The Memory Police. She takes typing classes and falls for her typing teacher, and the… read analysis of The Woman

The Typing Teacher

The typing teacher is the antagonist of the unnamed narrator’s manuscript. His character starts off innocently enough—he and the woman apparently fall for each other during a typing class, and they become lovers. However… read analysis of The Typing Teacher

Professor Inui

– Professor Inui is an old friend of the unnamed narrator and her family who works in the dermatology department at the university hospital. One night, he shows up at the narrator’s basement door and… read analysis of Professor Inui

The Inuis’ Son

On the night that the Inuis show up at the unnamed narrator’s door to tell her they are fleeing, the narrator clips the Inuis’ young son’s fingernails. He removes a pair of sky-blue gloves… read analysis of The Inuis’ Son

The Young Couple

The young couple are the narrator's quiet neighbors. Other people in the neighborhood think they are aloof. However, after the Memory Police raid their home and arrest them, along with the teenage boy they… read analysis of The Young Couple

R’s Wife

R is married throughout the novel, but he and his wife are never together in any scene. After R goes into hiding, his wife—who is pregnant—is only able to communicate through secret notes that theread analysis of R’s Wife