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The English reader has in this volume a complete translation of works of fiction, interspersed with thinly disguised autobiography and essay-like passages, composed by a young Japanese man who was to go on to become one of the finest Japanese writers of the 20th century, Nagai Kafu (1879-1959).

Kafu (like many writers of his generation and earlier but few afterward, he is known by his literary sobriquet rather than his surname) was Tokyo born and bred, and is best known for his evocation of the life of the Shitamachi “Low Town” and of the demimonde as it changed over the roughly five decades of his active literary career. The classic biographical-critical study of Kafu, including translations of many of his major works in whole or in part, is the late Edward Seidensticker’s “Kafu the Scribbler” (1965). For many of us it is the most impressive and enjoyable work on a single Japanese author ever to have appeared in English.

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