Synopses & Reviews
Japan's heady transition from poverty to prosperity is reflected in the celebrated works of fiction, poetry, and drama selected for Volume 2 of Columbia's comprehensive anthology of modern Japanese literature. Organized chronologically and by genre within each period, these readings reflect profound changes in artistic styles, ideals, and tastes and the growing influence of popular culture. Translated into English by leading experts, readings include fiction by Hayashi Fumiko, Ayukawa Nobuo, and e Kenzabur; poems by Katsura Nobuko and Saito Fumi; plays by Mishima Yukio and Shimizu Kunio; and a number of essays, among them: Eto Jun on Natsume Soseki and Kawabata Yasunari on "Japan, the Beautiful, and Myself." Some works train a keen eye on contemporary Japan, while other pieces reach into the historical past for inspiration. Many authors look inward, exploring psychological and sexual terrain in new, sometimes daring ways rarely attempted before in Japanese literature.
In Volume 2 of Columbia's comprehensive anthology of modern Japanese literature, thoughtfully selected and carefully translated readings portray the vast changes that have transformed Japanese culture since the end of the Pacific War. Beginning with the Allied Occupation in 1945 and concluding with the early twenty-first century, these stories, poems, plays, and essays reflect Japan's heady transition from poverty to prosperity, its struggle with conflicting ideologies and political beliefs, and the growing influence of popular culture on the country's artistic and intellectual traditions.
Organized chronologically and by genre within each period, readings include fiction by Hayashi Fumiko and Oe Kenzaburo; poems by Ayukawa Nobuo, Katsura Nobuko, and Saito Fumi; plays by Mishima Yukio and Shimizu Kunio; and a number of essays, among them Eto Jun on Natsume Soseki and his brilliant novel Kokoro ( The Heart of Things), and Kawabata Yasunari on the shape of his literary career and the enduring influence of classical Japanese literature.
Some authors train a keen eye on the contemporary world, while others address the historical past and its relationship to modern culture. Some adopt an even broader scope and turn to European models for inspiration, while others look inward, exploring psychological and sexual terrain in new, often daring ways. Spanning almost six decades, this anthology provides a thorough introduction to a profound period of creative activity.