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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Literary
  • Language:English
  • Pages:120
  • eBook ISBN:9784902075441

Otogizoshi: The Fairy Tale Book of Dazai Osamu (Translated)

by Osamu Dazai

Book Image Not Available
Overview
Dazai Osamu wrote The Fairy Tale Book (Otogizoshi) in the last months of the Pacific War. The traditional tales upon which Dazai's retellings are based are well known to every Japanese schoolchild, but this is no children's book. In Dazai's hands such stock characters as the kindhearted Oji-san to Oba-san ("Grandmother and Grandfather"), the mischievous tanuki badger, the fearsome Oni ogres, the greedy old man, the "tongue-cut" sparrow, and of course Urashima Taro (the Japanese Rip van Winkle) become complex individuals facing difficult and nuanced moral dilemmas. The resulting stories are thought-provoking, slyly subversive, and often hilarious.
Description
Momotarō, Click-Clack Mountain, The Sparrow Who Lost Her Tongue, The Stolen Wen, Urashima-san . . . The father reads these old tales to the children. Though he's shabbily dressed and looks to be a complete fool, this father is a singular man in his own right. He has an unusual knack for making up stories. Once upon a time, long, long ago . . . Even as he reads the picture book aloud in a strangely imbecilic voice, another, somewhat more elaborate tale is brewing inside him. Dazai Osamu wrote The Fairy Tale Book (Otogizoshi) in the last months of the Pacific War. The traditional tales upon which Dazai's retellings are based are well known to every Japanese schoolchild, but this is no children's book. In Dazai's hands such stock characters as the kindhearted Oji-san to Oba-san ("Grandmother and Grandfather"), the mischievous tanuki badger, the fearsome Oni ogres, the greedy old man, the "tongue-cut" sparrow, and of course Urashima Taro (the Japanese Rip van Winkle) become complex individuals facing difficult and nuanced moral dilemmas. The resulting stories are thought-provoking, slyly subversive, and often hilarious.
About the author
One of the foremost fiction writers of 20th-century Japan, Dazai Osamu (1909-1948) is probably most famous for his ironic and gloomy wit. His best-known work, "The Setting Sun" was published in 1947, brilliantly depicting the decline of the Japanese nobility after World War II. Based on the diary of lover Shizuko Ota , who mothered his daughter Haruko in 1947, it made Dazai a nationwide celebrity. In spite of the "gloom and doom" atmosphere always cited in reviews of "The Setting Sun" and the later "No Longer Human" (1948), though, Dazai's cutting wit and rich humor are evident in the entire body of his work. His literature depicts the human condition in painfully blunt and realistic terms, but, like life itself, is often accompanied by a smile.
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