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Japan Society Book Club: No Longer Human / A Shameful Life by Osamu Dazai

8 April — 7:00 pm


Monday 8 April 2019 7.00pm

The Japan Society
13 / 14 Cornwall Terrace
London NW1 4QP

Free for Japan Society Members
Book online here

No Longer Human, translated by Donald Keene
Available from AbeBooks, Book Depository and Amazon

A Shameful Life, translated by Mark Gibeau
Available from AbeBooks, Book Depository and Amazon

Japanese version available here

Ningen Shikkaku is considered Dazai’s masterpiece and ranks as the second-best selling novel in Japan, behind Natsume Sōseki’s Kokoro. It is told in the form of notebooks left by Oba Yozo, a troubled man incapable of revealing his true self to others. The novel is composed of three chapters which chronicle the life of Oba from early childhood to late twenties.

This novel, despite being serialized as a work of fiction in 1948, is narrated in the first person and contains several elements which betray an autobiographical basis, such as suicide—Dazai’s took his own life shortly after the last part of the book was published. According to The Japan Times, ‘the novel has a timeless quality: The struggle of the individual to fit into a normalizing society remains just as relevant today as it was at the time of writing’.

Dazai’s novel has been translated twice, one by Donald Keene under the title No Longer Human, and other recently by Mark Gibeau titled A Shameful Life.

Osamu Dazai (1909–1948) was a novelist and master storyteller, who became at the end of World War II the literary voice and hero of his generation. His own life ended in a double-suicide with his married mistress. In many books Dazai used biographical material from his own family background, making his self-destructive life the main subject. His daughter, Yuko Tsushima, has gone on to forge a highly successful literary career of her own.

To reserve your place, please call the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email events@japansociety.org.uk or submit the online booking form.

 

Details

Date:
8 April
Time:
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:
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    The Japan Society
    13/14 Cornwall Terrace
    London NW1 4QP