Self-Portraits: Tales from the Life of Japan's Great Decadent Romantic
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This is my scan from a copy I own.
Twenty autobiographical stories describe with honesty and self-deprecating humour the women, the suicide attempts, the drinking and the struggle against a staid literary establishment of Japan's "enfant terrible".
A rich boy turned drop-out, a radical turned drug addict, obsessed with self destruction and suicide, Osamu Dazai retains his cult status among Japan's intellectual youth more than forty years after his death. These stories, based on his own experiences and arranged chronologically, provide insight into the sources of Dazai's enduring appeal as well as his art.
From Publishers Weekly:
The bad boy of Japanese letters offers 20 heavily autobiographical stories, primarily about the scandals that colored his abbreviated life. Born in 1909 to a wealthy family, the pseudonymous author, since "earliest childhood," was filled with "a horrible sense of dread at having such unmerited fortune." Convinced that he was "a child of bad karma and would die accordingly," he lived as a profligate, cajoling a monthly allowance from his family, indulging in a series of affairs that ended with double suicide attempts (which proved fatal to his partners), becoming addicted to morphine, drinking to excess--and all the while writing to critical acclaim. What makes Dazai's work so noteworthy is its confessional quality, particularly startling to his audience when he began publishing in 1933. His daring compensates for the defects here: like so many confessional writers, the author prides himself on his ability to wallow in remorse."To deceive others is to live in hell," he states, apparently feeling entitled to make this choice. Dazai and a lover killed themselves in 1948. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
his father Introduction Tsushima Shoji (second from left) in the garden of his family home in Kanagi, c. 1920. died and his eldest brother, Bunji, took over as head of the household. Shuji did well in middle school and excelled particularly in composition. In March of 1925 he published his first story in a school magazine. He was to continue publishing works in school publications and little literary journals throughout his middle and higher school days. He entered Hirosaki Higher School in
returns, you've started your bogus writing again. She timidly asks if she should have stayed out longer." "I don't answer. Or, I tell her not to mind me, to go ahead and get into bed while I finish my work. It sounds rather like a command. I keep writing: i-ro-ha-ni-ho-e-to ... " "From behind you, the woman says, 'Goodnight.' " "I write: chi-ri-nu-ru-wo-wa-ka. Then: we-hi-mo-se-su. Then I rip up the paper." "This is getting crazier and crazier." "Can't be helped." "Now you go to bed?" "To the
Bunji, who had been informed by the geisha house of Hatsuyo's disappearance, came to Tokyo to confront his younger brother, finally agreeing to permit him to marry Hatsuyo on the condition that he set up a separate branch of the family, thereby freeing the Tsushimas of financial responsibility for him. Bunji took Hatsuyo back to Aomori to pay off her redemption fee and smooth things over with the geisha house. On November 19 Shoji was formally expelled from 13 14 SELF PORTRAITS the family,
was utterly defeated. I returned to the apartment in Amanuma and lay my body down, all hope abandoned. I was already twenty-nine, and I had nothing. One dotera to wear. H.'s possessions, too, were limited to the clothes on her back. I imagined we'd more or less reached the bottom. We lived in insectlike silence, completely dependent upon the money my brother sent each month. But we had yet, as it turned out, to hit bottom. In early spring of that year, a rather close friend of mine, a
that had lost its home, and while oversensitivity to that fact may have been the true cause of my discomfort, there was, nonetheless, the feeling of forever walking on thin ice. What this all added up to was that, thanks to our evacuation to the country, both the sister and ourselves were put under a debilitating strain. Still, our situation was better than most, it would seem; one can only guess what it was like for those evacuees in even worse circumstances. "Don't evacuate. Stick it out in