Long before he said “no” to America and became the controversial governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara was one of Japan’s most important postwar novelists, more influential than Mishima, if not as gifted. His most famous work, “Taiyo no Kisetsu (Season of the Sun),” is certainly the last word on youthful disaffection in Japan. It was a huge bestseller and won the Akutagawa Prize when it was published 47 years ago.
The book not only made Ishihara famous, it made his younger brother, Yujiro, the biggest movie and singing star in Japan. Yujiro famously took the lead role in the movie version of the novel and was such a hit that he created a whole new tribe of tough-talking young people called “taiyo-zoku.”
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