Dazai is the ultimate bad boy of Japanese literature and "Ningen Shikkaku," recently re-translated by Mark Gibeau as "A Shameful Life," is his supreme masterpiece, a novel that still shocks today with its brutal honesty and unflinching, strangely thrilling pessimism.
For Damian Flanagan's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Through the poetry of William Blake, Kenzaburo Oe takes a new approach to probing the emotional consequences of his father's death, and parenting a severely disabled son.
In Oe's "Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness," the lifelong sense of obsession and profound sense of guilt engendered within his own familial history finds acute literary expression.
Written in dialogue with Oe's own, earlier works on similar subjects "Death by Water" is a careful, multilayered contemplation on the methodology and potential of art itself.
Compiled and edited by Kenzaburo Oe, "The Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath" is a multifaceted look at the nightmarish horrors of the atomic bomb.
Oe's first novel, published in 1958 when he was only 23, tells of a group of school children evacuated to a remote village to escape wartime bombing raids, only to be cut off and abandoned when plague breaks out.
In 1962, Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond, visited Japan. His journey here, and the characters he met, would go on to inspire 007's adventures in "You Only Live Twice." But in 2018, how possible is it to retrace the author's footsteps across ...
Both Japan and Judith Pascoe are passionate about "Wuthering Heights." In "On the Bullet Train with Emily Bronte" Pascoe blends personal self-discovery with academic analysis to investigate the cross-cultural translation and adaptation of a literary classic.
Is this bizarrely oneiric journey, daikon sprouts and all, really just Kobo Abe's exteriorized exploration of a tortured psyche?
"This Great Stage of Fools" offers a collection of Alan Booth's uncollected journalism and writings between 1979 and his untimely death in 1993. Booth is be considered one of the greatest writers on Japan of his generation.