"I like Dazai a lot." -- Wong Kar-Wai "Dazai offers something permanent and beautiful." -- The New York Times Book Review "It is here that themes explored throughout the series identitys abnegation under the weight of art and history, the attendant wish for an alternative that fails to arrive appear in their most unvarnished form." -- J.W. McCormack - The New Left Review "[An] impressive demonstration of Dazais psychological insight." -- Andrew Martin - The New York Times
OSAMU DAZAI was born in 1909 into a powerful landowning family of northern Japan. A brilliant student, he entered the French department of Tokyo University in 1930, but later boasted that in the five years before he left without a degree, he had never attended a lecture. Dazai was famous for confronting head-on the social and moral crises of postwar Japan before he committed suicide by throwing himself into Tokyos Tamagawa Aqueduct. His body was found on what would have been his 39th birthday. Donald Keene, the author of dozens of books in both English and Japanese as well as the famed translator of Dazai, Kawabata, and Mishima, was the first non-Japanese to receive the Yomiuri Prize for Literature. RALPH MCCARTHY has lived in Japan for almost two decades. He is the translator of two collections of stories by Osamu Dazai, Self Portraits and Blue Bamboo, and of Ryu Murakamis novel 69.