Scholars and fans often divide the career of Dazai Osamu (1909-1948) into three periods--early, middle, and late. The early and late periods tend to get all the attention, but in fact Dazai was at his very best in the middle period, which corresponds roughly to the years of the Pacific War. All the stories in this collection, with the exception of the early "Romanesque," were written during that time.
The majority of these translations were first published by Kodansha International in 1993, as Blue Bamboo: Tales of Fantasy and Romance, which has been out of print for decades now. The prior translations have been massively revised by the translator, and new material added to make this a book that reveals an intelligent and humorous Dazai seldom encountered in existing English translations.