"What I despise about Dazai is that he exposes precisely those things in myself that I most want to hide." -- Yukio Mishima "From the point of view of wholesome common sense, Dazais writings may be regarded as the soliloquies of a deviant." -- Yasunari Kawabata "Dazai offers something permanent and beautiful." -- The New York Times Book Review
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.