The Memory Police

by

Yoko Ogawa

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– 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 tells her that he and his family (his wife, daughter, and son) are going into hiding because he has been summoned by the Memory Police—just like the narrator’s mother was. He gives the unnamed narrator four statues of tapirs, made by the narrator’s mother, which the narrator later finds out have “disappeared” objects hidden inside of them. Professor Inui does not tell the narrator where he and his family are going, thinking that the narrator will be safer if she does not know the specifics. Later in the story, the narrator sees blue gloves that belong to the Inuis’ son in the back of a Memory Police’s truck, suggesting that the Inui family was unable to avoid being captured.

Professor Inui Quotes in The Memory Police

The The Memory Police quotes below are all either spoken by Professor Inui or refer to Professor Inui. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
).
Chapter 5  Quotes

“It’s terribly kind of you to be concerned, but I think it would be best not to tell you anything about the safe house. It’s not that we’re worried you might let something slip—if that were the case, we would never have brought the sculptures here in the first place. But we can’t allow ourselves to cause you any more trouble than we already have. The more deeply you become involved, the more danger you’ll be in. You can’t be forced to reveal what you don’t know, but if you do know something, there’s no telling what they might do to get it out of you. So I beg of you, please don’t ask about the safehouse.”

Related Characters: Professor Inui (speaker), The Unnamed Narrator
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22  Quotes

I’d heard rumors that people who had been hiding were forced to wander the streets when their homes were destroyed by the earthquake or the fires that followed it. And that the Memory Police had been rounding them up and taking them into custody one after the other. But I had no way to know whether the Inui family had actually been in that truck or not. All I could do was pray that someone had continued to cut the little boy’s fingernails and that the blue gloves were still protecting him.

Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:
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Professor Inui Character Timeline in The Memory Police

The timeline below shows where the character Professor Inui appears in The Memory Police. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5 
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
...a burglar, so she asks who’s there. An apologetic voice responds saying that it is Inui.  The narrator opens the door to find Professor Inui, his wife, and their two children... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Once inside, Professor Inui says that “it finally arrived” and explains that he’s received a summons from the Memory... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Professor Inui explains that the offer is “frighteningly” generous. They’re offering three times what he currently makes,... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Professor Inui’s wife hesitantly adds that their summons is just like the letter that came for the... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Professor Inui says that he recognized the letter he received as the same—even the same paper and... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Before Professor Inui and his family leaves, the narrator hurries upstairs to make a drink. She brings the... (full context)
Chapter 6 
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Once in bed, the narrator thinks of the Inui family. She has been walking by their old apartment since the night they came to... (full context)
Chapter 22 
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...any of her mother’s things. One day, the old man finds the sculptures that Professor Inui gave the narrator, three of which have fallen and shattered. They find a plastic bag... (full context)