Osamu DazaiFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to: navigation, search In this Japanese name, the family name is "Dazai

". Osamu Dazai Dazai Osamu Born 19 June 1909(1909-06-19) Kanagi, Aomori, Japan Died 13 June 1948(1948-06-13) (aged 38) Tokyo, Japan Occupation Writer Genres novels, short stories Literary movement I novel, Buraiha -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Influences[show]Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Masuji Ibuse Osamu Dazai (太宰 治, Dazai Osamu?, June 19, 1909 – June 13, 1948) was a Japanese author wh o is considered one of the foremost fiction writers of 20th-century Japan. Contents [hide] 1 Biography 1.1 Early life 1.2 Early literary career 1.3 Wartime years 1.4 Postwar career 2 Writing style 2.1 Major works 2.2 Legacy in Japanese pop culture 2.3 Selected bibliography of English translations 3 References 4 External links [edit] Biography“ The year before last I was expelled from my family and, reduced to poverty overnight, was left to wander the streets, begging help for various q uarters, barely managing to stay alive from one day to the next, and just when I 'd begun to think I might be able to support myself with my writing, I came down with a serious illness. Thanks to the compassion of others, I was able to rent a small house in Funabashi, Chiba, next to the muddy sea, and spent the summer t here alone, convalescing. Though battling an illness that each and every night l eft my robe literally drenched with sweat, I had no choice but to press ahead wi th my work. The cold half pint of milk I drank each morning was the only thing t hat gave me a certain peculiar sense of the joy in life; my mental anguish and e xhaustion were such that the oleanders blooming in one corner of the garden appe ared to me merely flicking tongues of flame... ” —Seascape with Figures in Gold (1939), Osamu Dazai

[edit] Early lifeDazai was born Shūji Tsushima (津島修治, Tsushima Shūji?), the eighth surviv child of a wealthy landowner in Kanagi, a remote corner of Japan at the norther n tip of Tōhoku in Aomori Prefecture. His father was a member of the House of Peer s and was thus often away from home, and his mother was chronically ill after ha ving given birth to 11 children, so he was brought up mostly by the servants. Tsushima in an undated high school yearbook photo.Tsushima was sent to Aomori Pr efectural Aomori High School and Hirosaki for higher school. An excellent studen t and an able writer even then, he edited student publications and contributed s ome of his own works. His life only started to change when his idol writer Ryūnosu

in October 1936 he was taken to a mental institution. spending his allowance on clothes. Tsushima kept his promise and managed to settle down a bit. so he d ivorced her. alcohol and prostitutes and dabbling with Ma rxism. but he survived and managed to graduate the following year. as less than three weeks after his third suicide attempt Dazai developed acute appendicitis and was hospitalized. In the 1930s and 1940s. he ran away with geisha Hatsuyo Oyama (小山初代 Oyama Hatsuyo) and was formally expelled from his family. They both took sleeping pills. Tsushima enrolled in the French Literature Department of the Tokyo Imperial Univ ersity and promptly stopped studying again. whose connections enab led him to get his works published. a morphine-based painkiller. This moderately happy state of affairs did not last long. Tsushima went into hiding. Dazai wrote a number of subtle novels and short stories that are frequently autobiographical in nature.ke Akutagawa committed suicide in 1927. Tsushima started to neglect his studies. 1935). and tried to hang himself on 19 March 1935 . having been rescued by a shing boat. and those published in his 1936 colle tion Bannen (Declining Years). during which time he be come addicted to Pabinal. Sonoko (園子). but Tsushima lived. 1 935). Tsushima attempted to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. but Bunji managed to get word to him that charges would be dro pped and the allowance reinstated yet again if he solemnly promised to graduate and swear off any involvement with the party. Gyakkō (逆行 Against the Current. and who helped establish his reputation. as Tsushima was arrest ed for his involvement with the banned Communist Party of Japan and. He frequently expressed guilt in his earliest writing about having been born into what he thought of as the incorrect social class. upon learni ng this. Gyofukuki (魚服記 1933). But in 1935. The next few years were productive. this time to a middle school teacher named Mi chiko Ishihara (石原美知子 Ishihara Michiko). duri ng which time Dazai's wife Hatsuyo committed adultery with his best friend Zensh irō Kodate. leaving him with a strong sense of guilt. Worse was yet to come. the night bef ore year-end exams that he had no hopes of passing. Tsushima wrote at a feverish pace and used t he pen name "Osamu Dazai" for the first time in a short story called Ressha (列車 Trai n 1933): his first experiment with the first-person autobiographical style that later became his trademark. Nine days after the expulsion. Tsu shima's family intervened to drop a police investigation. [edit] Wartime yearsJapan entered the Pacific War in December. locked in a room and forced to quit cold turkey. which describe his sense of personal isolation an d his debauchery. The "treatment" lasted over a month. his elder brother Bunji promptly cut off his allowance again. at the time heavily suppressed by the government. Tsushima attempted suicide by drowning off a beach in Kamak ura with another woman (whom he barely knew). After fighting the addict ion for a year. He managed to obtain the assistance of established writer Masuji Ibuse.[citation needed] On 10 December 1929. Kyōgen no kami (狂言の神 The God of Farce. He quickly remarried. 19-year-old bar hostess Shimeko Ta nabe (田辺シメ子 Tanabe Shimeko).failing yet again. it started to become clear that Dazai c ould not graduate. In October. Shocked by the events. but Dazai was exc . Other stories written during this period i nclude Dōke no hana (The Flowers of Buffoonery. intended to be his farewell to the world. Shimeko died. is a grim fantasy involving suicide. H e finished The Final Years. and Tsushima took up the offer. Their first daughter. His first story. 1936). and he failed to obtain a job at a Tokyo newspaper as well. but neither one died. [edit] Early literary careerIn what was probably a surprise to all parties conce rned. This eventually came to light and Dazai attempted to commit double sui cide with his wife. was born i 941. his allowance was rein stated and in December Tsushima and Oyama were married.

in Mitaka. 1948. which Dazai published during World War II were rete llings of stories by Ihara Saikaku (1642–1693). His third chil d. Masaki (正樹). His grave is at the temple of Zenrin-ji. No Longer Human. She bore him a daughter Haruko (治子) in 1947. The book is one of the classics of Japanese literature and has been tr anslated into several foreign languages. rape and her husband's self-delusion. a style known in Japanese as "I Novels (私小説. His house was burned down twice in the American air raids against Tokyo. Always a heavy drinker. He depicted a dissolute life in postwar Tokyo in Viyon no Tsuma (Villon's Wife. 1943). 1947). [edit] Postwar careerIn the immediate post-war period. Ōta was one of the fans of Dazai's works and first met hi n about 1941. with a son. There has been a persistent rumor that his final. he became an alcoholic. and his health was also rapidly deteriorating. His modes of expression . and the delightful Otogizōshi (Fairy Tales. successful suicide attempt was not a suicide at all. Dazai and Tomie finally succeeded in kil ling themselves. but he managed to publish quite a bit anyway. all the while despairing of the seeming impossibility of changing the course of his life. Shayo (The Setting Sun. Her determination to survive is tested by hardships. devoid of all sentim entality. he had already fathered a child out of wedlock with a fan. Dazai reached the height of his popularity. translated.[citation need ed] A number of the stories. 1958) at the hot-spring resort Atami. The novel is told in a brutally honest manner. Pandora no hako (P andora's Box. but that he was murdered by Tomie Yamazaki. She takes a jo b for a tavern keeper from whom her husband has stolen money. remaining one of the very few au thors who managed to turn out interesting material in those years. who has abandoned her. there has been no proof that there is any veracity in this rumor. propelling the already popular writer into a celebrity. Dazai and Tomie's bodies discovered in 1948In the spring of 1948. writing his quasi-autobiography Ningen Shikkaku (人間失格. On 13 June 1948. he was working on a novelette scheduled to be serialized in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. In July 1947 Dazai's best-known work. who then kill ed herself after dumping his body in the canal. born in 1944. Ningen Shikkaku deals with a character hurtling headlong towards self-destructio n. At thi s time Dazai met Tomie Yamazaki (山崎富栄). [edit] Writing styleThe single most distinguishing feature of Dazai's works is t heir “first person” viewpoint. which by eerie coincidence was his 39th birthday. daughter Satoko (里子).used from the draft because of his chronic chest problems (he was diagnosed with tuberculosis). but Daz ai's family escaped unscathed. later became a famous writer under the pseudonym Yūko Tsushim a (津島佑子). 1945) in which h e retold a number of old Japanese fairy tales with vividness and wit. The narrator is the wife of a poet. Shishōsetsu?)" All of his stories are autobiographical in some manner. was born in May 1947. Tokyo. The ir bodies were not discovered until June 19. title d Guddo bai (Goodbye). but her will is not broken. Dazai effectively abandoned his wife and chil dren and moved in with Tomie. 1945–46). drowning in the rain-swollen Tamagawa Canal near his house. Tsugaru (1944). This work was based on t he diary of Shizuko Ōta (太田静子). While providing a plot for vario us subsequent fictional novels and a Japanese TV drama. a beautician and war widow who had lost her husb and after 10 days of married life. Wartime works included Udaijin San etomo (Minister of the Right Sanetomo. translated 1956) d epicting the decline of the Japanese nobility after World War II was published. The censors became more reluctant to accept Dazai's offbeat work .

e. In his works. yet (often) fail to kill themselves due to an equally savage apathy towards their own existence i. adjusting his vocabulary accordingly.Pseudonym of Tsushima Shuji Japanese novelist and a master storyteller. he shifts from pathos to comedy . In many books Dazai used biographical material from his own family background. are closely inte rtwined. The more reader knows of Dazai's life. 184 . For a time he joined the communist movement. the question of wheth er to live or not becomes trivial. from melodrama to humor." ( J. the more D azai can and should be admired for finding a literary means to bare his soul. many Japanese critics have pointed out. and made his self-destructive life the subject of his books." (The opening sentence of No Longer Human. Thomas Rimer in Reader's Guide to Japanese Literature. including Ango Sakaguchi and Sakunosuke Oda. not surprising fro m an author who made several unsuccessful suicide attempts before finally succee ding. "Dazai's life and work. His oppositio n to the prevailing social and literary trends was shared by fellow members of B urai-ha (Decadents). Melos! 1941 新ハ レ ト Shin-Hamuretto New Hamlet 1942 正義 微笑 Seigi to Bisho Right and Smile 1943 右大臣実朝 Udaijin Sanetomo Minister of the Right Sanetomo 1944 津軽 Tsugaru Tsugaru 1945 パンドラの匣 Pandora no Hako Pandora's Box 新釈諸国噺 Shinshaku Shokoku Banashi A new version of countries' tales 惜別 Sekibetsu A farewell with regret お伽草紙 Otogizōshi Fairy Tales 1946 冬の花火 Fuyu no Hanabi Winter's firework Play 1947 ィヨンの妻 Viyon No Tsuma Villon's Wife 斜陽 Shayō The Setting Sun 1948 如是我聞 Nyozegamon I heard it in this way Essay 桜桃 Ōtō A Cherry 人間失格 Ningen Shikkaku No Longer Human グ ド・バイ Guddo-bai Good-Bye Unfinished / Osamu Dazai (1909-1948) . [edit] Major worksMajor works by Dazai include: Year Japanese Title English Title Comments 1933 思 出 Omoide Memories in 'Bannen' 1935 道化の華 Dōke no Hana Flowers of Buffoonery in 'Bannen' 1936 晩年 Bannen The Late Years Collected short stories 1937 二十世紀旗手 Nijusseiki Kishu A standard-bearer of the twentieth century 1939 富嶽百景 Fugaku Hyakkei One hundred views of Mount Fuji 女生徒 Joseito Schoolgirl 1940 女の決闘 Onna no Kettō Women's Duel 駈込み訴 Kakekomi Uttae An urgent appeal 走れメロ Hashire Merosu Run. journalistic type reporting. who became at the end of World War I I the literary voice and literary hero of his generation. His opposition to the prevailing social and literary trends was shared by fellow members of the Buraiha school. In his novels the protagonist similarly consider suicide as the only viabl e alternative to a hellish existence. 1999) "Mine has been a life much shame. essay. Dazai's works are also characterized by a profound pessimism. or s oliloquy.could take the form of a diary. letter. so the argument goes. Dazai's life ended in double-suicide with his married mistress.

but his scandalous life. capturing the postw ar crisis of Japanese cultural identity. among them 'Doke no hana' (1936 . A numb er of the stories. his literary hero an d mentor. "I never personally met the madman who wrote these notebooks. Dazai had read at the age of fourteen Ibuse's Sanshouo (1929. covering those whose world died in the war. anonymous geniu s." The protagonist. autobiographical / confessional fiction." In 1939 Dazai married Ishihara Michiko and turned a new leaf in his life. Suppo se we have a try at the panoramic method. and then threw themselves into the sea. Her brother Naoj i is caught in the web of his own and society's failures. 'A Clown among Clowns' describes Dazai trying to describe his first suicide attempt. and spirit of rebelliousness touched the lost generation of youth. They spent two days drinking. in northern Honshu. wears Western clothes. of course. After attending the Hirosake Higher School. NINGEN SHIKKAKU (1948 . driving him eventually to kill himself. No Longer Human) was an attack on the traditions of Japan. the tenth of eleven children. human and philosophical issues . where he studied French literature. Shimeko drowned. While at the university. t ook sleeping pills. Dazai addressed many social. a suffering clown and a misfit. which Dazai published during World War II. a young woman. Many of his stories were based on his own experiences and were classified in the category known as the watakushi s hosetsu. The tone of Dazai's postwar fiction was dark. and how traditions or "proper etiquette" is destroyed by the war. though his commitment to polit ics ended in distrust in all social institutions. among them the poet Friedrich Schiller. Dazai met the writer Masuji Ibuse. The Sala mander). I bend over the plate in the gloomy fashion prescribed by proper etiquette. Dazai first attracted attention in 1933 when his stories began to appear in maga zines. Shayo is a tragedy in postwar Japan.. It deals with the fall of an aristocratic f amily. Kazuko. drug addiction and alcoholism.. "I felt with excitement that I had discovered a hidden. He does return. The Setting Sun). She is evacuated from Tokyo during the war with her mother. I abhorred all effort. imbecilic time. and developed a persona that in his nov els appeared both sensitive and cynical.8) Dazai Osamu was born Tsushima Shuji in Kanagi. such as SHAYO (1947. His father was a wealthy landowner and politician. He also wrote ch ildren's stories and historical narratives. Also German authors. At the end of the war. But being. or "I-novel". he ente red in 1930 the University of Tokyo." begins the epilogue of the story. it is as Mother does." Before marrying Hatsuyo. In 1931 he married Oyama Hatsu yo." Dazai gradually dropped his studies. and spent my time lyin g around watching H[atsuyo] indifferently. in BANNEN) and 'Tokyo hyakkei' (1941). but to me it is most a ppealing and somehow really genuine. that when you look down to it. In h is masterpieces. The word 'shayo' (setting sun) gave rise to the word 'shayozoku' (impoverished aristocracy). Kazuko loses her mother. During this period Dazai came into contact with Marxism. a high-class beggar and unable to eat with Mother's effortless ease. but her outlook i s Japanese. Tanabe Shimeko. I scarcely show ed up at school at all. that one didn't work. he had met a nineteen year old bar hostess. "Well. in Naoji's wor ds. The subje ct was also brought up many of his short pieces. Dazai was br ought up mainly by servants. love affairs. They loo k hopefully to the return of the son from southeast Asia. Between the years 1930 and 1937 he made three suicide attempts. Dazai wrote in a simple and colloquial style. inspired Dazai's work. saying later that it "was truly a shameless. but as a drug addict. As a matter of fact. "This m ay not be the way of eating soup that etiquette dictates. were retellings of stories by Ihara Saikaku (1642-1693). about the decline of an aristocratic family. who saw through the hypocrisy and shallowness of others. sitting serenely erect. Kazuko decides to have a child with the disillusioned intellec . despair.

and several suicide at tempts. the wife revals the disparity bet ween the writer's reasons and his actual reasons for suicide. insensitive Americans to a pulp." Dazai's daugh ter Yuko Tsushima also became a writer and published her first short story in 19 69. After the war. that Dazai died "without leaving behind anything written for me. rape. including “Omoide” (“Memories”). In the story . in whic h vivid descriptions of the mundane reality of the author's own private world pr edominate. Dazai's fiction showcases his artistic imagination and uni que confessional narrative technique. 1958). It wasn't until I was about twenty tha t I realized that they actually served a practical purpose. an d her husband's self-delusion. Yamaz aki Tomie. hoping that the child will be her moral revolution. translate d in Japan Quarterly (October-December. and essayist. While known primarily as a novelist. Ibuse insisted in 'Parting Regrets' (1948). "I have been sickly ever since I was a child and have frequently been confined to bed. starring Toshiro Mifune. Nevertheless. from whom her husband has stolen money. Biographical Information Dazai was born the youngest of ten children in Kanagi. Dazai himself had said after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 19 41 that he was "itching to beat the bestial. and “ ves”). Th e narrator is the wife of a poet. who has virtually abandoned her. a Japanese adventurer and a priest travel the silk ro ad in their search for Buddha's ashes. set in the distant past. and Makoto Sato ." O n June 13. in 1948. Merosu!) was adapted into screen in 1966 by the director Senk ichi Taniguchi under the title Kiganjo no boken (Adventures of Takla Makan). Dazai also earned recognition for his nu merous short stories. Her determination to survive is tested by hardships. Dazai's alienation continued. Dazai's story 'Has hire Merosu' (Run. How often as I lay there I used to think what uninspired decorations sheets and pillow cases make. and this revelation of human dullness stirred dark depression in me. Dazai wrote a letter in w hich he described Ibuse as an "evil man". Tatsuya Mihashi. Shortly before his death. Her works in the 1970s arose from the collapse of the economic bubble and co incided with a return to the Japanese variant of the first-person novel. The book is one of the classics of Japanese literature and ha s been translated into several languages. and she possibly wrote the note in question.tual Uehara. some claimed. The film. In 'O-san'. was partly shot in Iran near Isfahan and at Toho Studios (Tokyo). “Sarugashima” (“Monkey Island”). novelist. The protagonist is a young man. but her will is not broken. Like most of his longer fiction. She finds mea ning in her existence by taking a job for a tavern keeper. Villon's Wife). Dazai's short stories are autobiographical and refl ect a troubled life marred by alcoholism. who fe el himself alienated from society but reveals his true thoughts to the reader." Among Dazai's finest short stories is 'Viyon no tsuma' (1947. No Longer Human (its actual Japanese title is "Disqualified as a Human") was Daz ai's second novel. his first collection of short stories. / Dazai Osamu 1909–-1948 (Born Tsushima Shuji) Japanese short story writer. There is a theory that the lady. Tadao Nakamaru. drug addiction. T he story also gives an account of the author's personal decline and his relation ships to women. a small town in northern . INTRODUCTION Dazai Osamu is considered one of the most important storytellers of postwar Japa n. which were published in Bannen. who drowned with Dazai actually pushed him in. He made observations of those who h ad supported the militaristic regime before but in the new political situation e mbraced democracy. Dazai drowned himself in Tokyo and left behind unfinished th e novel GUTTO BAI (Goodbye).

Bannen (The Final Years). In 1930. Source: Short Story Criticism. many critics maintain that his fiction contains some of the most beautiful prose in modern Japanese literature. and End Shusaku. of the humans walking through the zoo. “Monkey Island” presents t wo humanoid monkeys as its protagonists. to one of the wealthiest families in the region. rather than the spectators. as opposed to a William Faulkner. Dazai began to live the unconventional l ifestyle that brought him much fame. In this tale. Despite his widely recognized talent. Mishima Yukio. ©2001 Gale Cengage. but by the end of his first year. Dazai enro lled in the Department of French Literature at Tokyo University. and freq uent psychological traumas plagued him the rest of his life. No Longe r Human. Major Works of Short Fiction Dazai's highly autobiographical fiction first garnered popular and critical atte ntion after the publication of his first collection. caroused. With its highly personal tone. Dazai's principal English translator. Full copyr . illustrates Dazai's playfulness. As critics have remarked.” and “Family Happiness”—suggest. Critical Reception While famous in Japan and avidly read—especially by the younger generation—Dazai has not achieved the international stature of Japanese writers such as Natsume Ssek i. on the verge of puberty. While these and oth er early pieces exemplify the personal tone of much of Dazai's work. the stories of these collections are among the few works of artistic value produced by a Japanese aut hor under the strict government censorship during World War II.” While Dazai's body of work is sometimes criticized for its narrow scope. alcoholism. suicide attempts. takes on the appearance and identity of a fish. In place of the Dazai-like protagonist present throughout most of h is other short fiction. T he first and most significant of these stories is “Omoide”(“Memories”). Scott Fitzgerald. Dazai underwent his apprenticeship in writing during the 1920s while atte nding secondary schools in Aomori and Hirosaki and published many of his early s tories in magazines founded and run by aspiring young authors. Dazai became involved w ith left-wing politics. Dazai's first-person narrative attracts the reader's sympathy whi le raising doubts about the authenticity of the narration because of exaggerated rhetoric. is retold in his widely acclaimed novel. however. Yet Dazai has earned himsel f a position in modern Japanese letters more or less comparable to that of an F. Late r in his life. Kawabata Yasunari. howev er.” and “Sarugashima. he ceased attending classes. has described him as a J apanese writer “who emerged at the end of World War II as the literary voice of hi s time. as titles such as “Villon's Wife . among several instances of doub le suicide in Dazai's fiction. in modern American literatu re. another tale in Bannen.” tran slated as “Metamorphosis. however. one of the monkeys soo n realizes they are the objects of attention. All Rights Reserved. This is partly due to prob lems with translating Dazai's highly personal style. affairs with geishas. In his final years. he grew up a sensitive child in comfortable surroundings. He attempted to take his ow n life on at least three other occasions and finally succeeded in a double suici de with a young war widow in 1948. “Metamorphosis” is about a peasant girl who. While Dazai's later year s were turbulent. R evealing his childhood and adolescent traumas. as well as his need for companion ship and love. “Memories” reveals a common narrative technique in Dazai's writing.Japan. Donald Keene. another gro up of tales shows his talent for imaginative storytelling. the narrator—after briefly relating his financial troubles—details his p lans to concoct a tale recounting the memories of an infant. leading to one of Dazai's suicide attempts. and renewed his relationship with a geisha he met while attending Hirosaki Higher School. his wealthy background led to self-consciousness. Two tales—“Gyofukuki.” translated as “Monkey Island”—provide good exam les of this. His family disapproved of this relat ionship. drug addiction. By the time he at tended Hirosaki Higher School. “Gangu” (“Toys”). Instead. contri buting to a nagging sense of isolation that is an undercurrent throughout his fi ction.” “Father. This episode. In astonishment. he composed a series of sto ries that evince his interest in domestic issues.

/ .ight.