THE FOREST OF WOOL AND STEEL
A once-heard melody leads a boy to become a piano tuner. Emotion leaps off the pages in this tale of growth of the heart.
Tomura is a high schooler who lives in a remote mountain village in Hokkaido. One day, he meets Itadori, who has come to tune the piano in the gymnasium. Tomura is amazed by the sound of Itadori's playing. Until that time, Tomura had never had a singular goal or specific desire in life, but this instant becomes a turning point for him. He enrolls at a specialty piano tuning school suggested by Itadori and, after graduation, gets a job at the small instrument shop where Itadori works. Tomura works with a colleague, Yanagi, to learn the ropes and explore just how a tuner can provide the beautiful tones customers seek. On a visit to a client's house to tune their piano, he meets a pair of piano-playing twins and is entranced by the melodies played by the daughter.
The "sheep" in the title refers to the wool felt hammers used to strike the piano cords, while "steel" is the cords themselves. In other words, the title suggests the imagery created by the piano's melody, and it is precisely this tranquil, beautiful, and emotive imagery that is the work's appeal. Tomura finds Itadori's melodies reminiscent of the smell of the forest, and he slips into an illusion in which a vast scenery unfurls before him. Once on the job, he pursues the ideal sound, a process that resembles the pursuit of beauty through life. He experiences different melodies and playstyles at the homes he visits and, in so doing, begins developing a richer and more sensitive internal life as he matures.
・2016 : Won the "Japan Booksellers' Award".
・Sold over 0.5 million copies (as of 2016) .