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Old 09-12-2009   #1
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Osamu Dazai

I'm unaware if the Japanese writer Osamu Dazai has ever been discussed at TLO online before,but just in case he hasn't, I feel he's worth a thread.Dazai wrote in the 1930 and 40s and is a perfect example of the kind of disillusioned,nihilistic,cynical and depressed writer that I feel a lot of fellow members will relate to!The only work of his I've read is entitled 'No Longer Human',an autobiographical work that charts the protoganist's alienation from and dread of human life and others.In my opinion,it's up there with 'Notes From Underground' and works of that ilk.After reading the novel,I immediately ordered a volume of his short stories,and I can honestly say that it's been an extremely long time since I've responded with such enthusiasm to a writer.If anyone else out there has read Dazai,I'd be very interested in hearing about it.Trust me,fellow antinatalists,depressives,melancholics and ennui wallowers,Dazai is one for the canon!

P.S. A fellow member brought Dazai to my attention,but seeing as how he's too shy to post himself,I felt I'd better do it:-)
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Old 09-12-2009   #2
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Re: Osamu Dazai

There is a story by Osamu Dazai in "The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories", "Merry Christmas", on pages 224 to 231. This is a very easy to find book in used bookstores. I read this story but I don't remember anything.

There is another book I also have, "Crackling Mountain and Other Stories". It has 11 stories. Published in 1989, by Tuttle. Unfortunately, I don't remember whether I read the book or not. I probably didn't.

I love Japanese literature.

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Old 09-12-2009   #3
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Re: Osamu Dazai

Quote Originally Posted by Malone View Post
I'm unaware if the Japanese writer Osamu Dazai has ever been discussed at TLO online before,but just in case he hasn't, I feel he's worth a thread.Dazai wrote in the 1930 and 40s and is a perfect example of the kind of disillusioned,nihilistic,cynical and depressed writer that I feel a lot of fellow members will relate to!The only work of his I've read is entitled 'No Longer Human',an autobiographical work that charts the protoganist's alienation from and dread of human life and others.In my opinion,it's up there with 'Notes From Underground' and works of that ilk.After reading the novel,I immediately ordered a volume of his short stories,and I can honestly say that it's been an extremely long time since I've responded with such enthusiasm to a writer.If anyone else out there has read Dazai,I'd be very interested in hearing about it.Trust me,fellow antinatalists,depressives,melancholics and ennui wallowers,Dazai is one for the canon!

P.S. A fellow member brought Dazai to my attention,but seeing as how he's too shy to post himself,I felt I'd better do it:-)
No Longer Human would be in my top ten of the best books ever written. His short stories are well worth reading, too, as is his only other completed novel, The Setting Sun, which is a bit like No Longer Human, but told from the point of view of a female relative of (the kind of character who is) the protagonist/narrator of No Longer Human.

"I met the wolf alone
And was devoured in peace."

- 'The True Encounter', Edna St.Vincent Millay
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Old 04-03-2010   #4
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Re: Osamu Dazai

Dazai is My Father, and it was a little bit more out of a Bernhardian 'art selfishness' than shyness that I didn't make this thread myself.
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Old 04-05-2010   #5
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Re: Osamu Dazai

Looks interesting. I haven't really read any Japanese fiction, but perhaps Dazai would be a good start.
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Old 04-07-2010   #6
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Re: Osamu Dazai

Quote Originally Posted by Freyasfire View Post
Looks interesting. I haven't really read any Japanese fiction, but perhaps Dazai would be a good start.
Dazai is a good start in that he's a great writer, but he's not representative of Japanese literature as a whole. Interestingly, in terms of public image at least, Kawabata Yasunari has often been portrayed as quintessentially Japanese (his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize was called 'Japan, the Beautiful and Myself'), but Dazai Osamu is often perceived as somehow standing in opposition to this literary establishment. I attempted a translation of an open letter that Dazai wrote to Kawabata here:

http://my.opera.com/quentinscrisp/blog/show.dml/12025

I have to admit that I unsure about my renderings of some of it, because my background knowledge of the characters mentioned in the letter is either shaky or non-existent.

Here's another attempt on my part to translate Dazai:

http://my.opera.com/quentinscrisp/blog/show.dml/11961

Apologies to Dazai for any clumsiness in my translation.

I hope these short pieces may help to intrigue people further and perhaps encourage them to get hold of a copy of No Longer Human or The Setting Sun.

"I met the wolf alone
And was devoured in peace."

- 'The True Encounter', Edna St.Vincent Millay
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Old 04-08-2010   #7
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Re: Osamu Dazai

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I hope these short pieces may help to intrigue people further and perhaps encourage them to get hold of a copy of No Longer Human or The Setting Sun.
You don't say. Being encouraged by this thread, I actually went and ordered No Longer Human earlier this week. ;)

I think I'm going to enjoy this, just the occasional feeling. The translations were most enjoyable... just waiting the book to arrive now

Bfffh
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Old 04-07-2010   #8
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Re: Osamu Dazai

An amazing sentence from qcrisp's translation of Dazai's Letter to Kawabata:

We are beginning to doubt that there is beauty in the moral path of subservience.
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Old 04-09-2010   #9
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Re: Osamu Dazai

Thank you.

I'm very glad if my translations have brought Dazai a little more of the attention he deserves.

I felt sure there was a good Peter Owen collection of Dazai's short stories, too, but I can't find it anywhere on the internet. (I have a copy but not at my current address.)

Ah, no, I've found it. Looks like it wasn't Peter Owen, after all, though I have a feeling they did do something by Dazai. Here's the book I was thinking of:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...adent_Romantic




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Old 04-13-2010   #10
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Re: Osamu Dazai

Well, my copy of No Longer Human just arrived. Aside from the most the most ugliest cover-art I think I'm going to like this. Wow, a pink cover is already somewhat disturbing in it's own way.

Also, yesterday I borrowed The Setting Sun from the local library and read it through. A finnish translation from '65 though seems like there hasn't been reprints on my native language since then.

Definitely going to check more of his stuff. I did also pick up Tsugaru out of sheer curiosity. A travel-log of some sort, I assume.

Bfffh
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