Five Modern Japanese Novelists and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
or
Amazon Prime Free Trial required. Sign up when you check out. Learn More
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading Five Modern Japanese Novelists on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Five Modern Japanese Novelists [Paperback]

Donald Keene

Price: CDN$ 26.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Want it delivered Tuesday, October 28? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition CDN $14.29  
Hardcover CDN $71.03  
Paperback CDN $26.00  
Join Amazon Student in Canada


Book Description

June 22 2005

The New Yorker has called Donald Keene "America's preeminent scholar of Japanese literature." Now he presents a new book that serves as both a superb introduction to modern Japanese fiction and a memoir of his own lifelong love affair with Japanese literature and culture. Five Modern Japanese Novelistsprofiles five prominent writers whom Donald Keene knew personally: Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, Kawabata Yasunari, Mishima Yukio, Abe Ko¯bo¯, and Shiba Ryo¯taro¯. Keene masterfully blends vignettes describing his personal encounters with these famous men with autobiographical observations and his trademark learned literary and cultural analysis.

Keene opens with a confession: before arriving in Japan in 1953, despite having taught Japanese for several years at Cambridge, he knew the name of only one living Japanese writer: Tanizaki. Keene's training in classical Japanese literature and fluency in the language proved marvelous preparation, though, for the journey of literary discovery that began with that first trip to Japan, as he came into contact, sometimes quite fortuitously, with the genius of a generation. It is a journey that will fascinate experts and newcomers alike


Product Details


Product Description

From Library Journal

Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Yasunari Kawabata, Yukio Mishima, Kobo Abe, and Ryotaro Shiba: these great men of modern Japanese letters were all acquaintances of Keene (Columbia Univ.), and he writes in a charming, personal tone, recounting humorous anecdotes, telling the stories of their first meetings, and sharing his initial impressions. As they have all died (Shiba most recently, in 1996), this slender book is Keene's tribute to them. He mentions their best-known works and discusses some of the controversies surrounding them, e.g., Kawabata is known for having won the Nobel prize in literature in 1968 although Mishima was considered a strong candidate. Mishima, of course, made world news with his spectacular suicide by seppuku in 1970. A helpful list of the novelists' major translated works is provided at the end. Recommended for libraries with large collections of Japanese literature.
Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Keene first went to study in Japan after World War II--just in time, it now seems, to become acquainted with five great Japanese novelists: Tanizaki and Kawabata, whose stars rose before the war, and postwar writers Mishima, Abe, and Shiba, Japan's favorite historical novelist. His essays on them, part memoir and part literary evaluation, are ideal introductions to their subjects. The older men wrote of the Japan of their heyday, Tanizaki in fascinated reaction to Western, especially American, influences, and Kawabata in a mixture of avant-garde and traditional literary manners. Mishima carried on the older novelists' practices from a sociopolitical-critical perspective that brought him international attention. Abe wrote Kafkaesque stories out of his consciousness as a Japanese who grew up outside Japan, and Shiba made Japan's history especially appreciable by modern Japanese readers. A close friend of each of the younger three, Keene ably speculates on Mishima's spectacular suicide, makes a full-dress biography of the contrarian Abe seem absolutely necessary, and suggests how to increase American appreciation of Shiba. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Before arriving in Japan in 1953 I knew the name of only one living Japanese novelist, Tanizaki Jun'ichiro. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.ca
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highlights of the books and best personal moments Dec 8 2004
By Bruce P. Barten - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This small book about FIVE MODERN JAPANESE NOVELISTS by Donald Keene, who had opportunities to make more observations about them than anyone could possibly remember in the years during which he became aware of their work, met them, read their books, wrote about or tried to put their words into English (Supplemental readings at the end include the titles of his major history of Japanese literature, DAWN TO THE WEST, and his translations of AFTER THE BANQUET, FIVE MODERN NO PLAYS, and MADAME DE SADE by Mishima Yukio, and translations of FRIENDS, THE MAN WHO TURNED INTO A STICK, and THREE PLAYS by Abe Kobo). Keene is so familiar with the word order used for Japanese names that it shows up in the oddest places. Maybe this is for humor, which always seems to be welcome at Columbia University:

"I first met Abe Kobo in the autumn of 1964. He had come to New York . . . With them came a young Japanese woman. I confess that I was rather miffed when I was informed that the young woman was their interpreter, and in order to demonstrate that I had no need of an interpreter, I studiously avoided even looking at her. It was only years later that I learned that she was Ono Yoko." (p. 65).

These people are all so smart, it even seems funny that they have so much trouble fitting in, as when Abe graduated from medical school "in 1948 but was given his degree only on condition that he never practice medicine;" (p. 74). Early in the book, Keene has a few details about being "at the U.S. Navy's Japanese-language school" (pp. 2-3) and getting some early practice "while in Hawaii during the war, I had read his novel NAOMI" (p. 1). Then in 1951 an English translator gave Keene the three Japanese volumes of THE MAKIOKA SISTERS by Tanazaki Jun'ichiro (1886-1965).

This book has an index, and you can look up Nobel Prize for Literature and find out that Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972) won it in 1968, but it might be politically selective, because "he had served since 1948 as president of the Japanese PEN Club," (p. 23). A news report that Tanazaki Jun'ichiro had won the Prize in 1964 "was a mistake, and by the time Japan's turn at last came up in this geographically controlled competition, Tanizaki was dead." (p. 24). Keene would also like you to know, "What prevented Mishima from obtaining the prize?" (p. 25). How many Swedes could think Mishima was a young leftist (some secret committee would expect that to be a bad choice) instead of a right-wing nationalist who would end it all with seppuku on November 25, 1970? Keene was more aware of the political situation in Japan because "In June 1970, on the night the security treaty with the United States came up for renewal, I was in a taxi with Mishima" (p. 46). And the opening sentence of the last letter Mishima sent to Keene was "When you read these words I shall be dead." (p. 48).

The final Japanese author to get a chapter in this book, Shiba Ryotaro (1923-1996) worked as a reporter. Keene had not yet met him in 1971 and should have been suspicious when an editor told him that he would like to publish a dialogue, and that when Shiba was "told that I was unfamiliar with his writings, had insisted that I was not to read them. This gracious concession made it impossible for me not to take part in the dialogue." (p. 86). Shiba turned it into a book in which he said they had been "comrades in arms" (p. 87) because they had both served in the same war. Shiba wrote travel books and historical fiction. Though not popular in the rest of the world, "His writings inspired a whole country, not with patriotic zeal, but with a quiet awareness of what being Japanese has meant through history." (p. 99).

It is a bit surprising that the early parts of this book make World War II seem like a much bigger catastrophe for the Japanese than the index, which only has entries for "war, 40, 72, 87." (p. 113). Kawabata Yasunari served as an air-raid warden, enduring "the cold of the night and feel my own sadness melt into the sadness of Japan. I felt there was a beauty that would perish if I died. My life did not belong to me alone." (p. 41). Mishima Yukio had a cold the day he reported for his physical examination, but "when the inexperienced young doctor asked if he always had a fever and coughed so much, he nodded gravely. His cold was diagnosed as pleurisy, and he was sent home the same day, to his joy and relief." (p. 51). Sick, sick, sick! "Abe entered the Tokyo University Medical School in 1943, at the age of nineteen. This gave him temporary exemption from the draft, but in the following year his unsatisfactory scholastic performance endangered the exemption." (p. 72). "At first he helped his father with his medical practice, but in August 1945, just before the end of the war, a typhus epidemic swept Manchuria and the father caught the sickness and died. Abe remained in Mukden." (pp. 72-73).

"In my case, as Shiba mentioned, it was because of the war that I had learned Japanese, and this would be at once my lifework and the factor that made it possible for Shiba and me to become friends. In his case (though he did not mention it at the time) the war had aroused a hatred for the nationalism that had been its cause. Our wartime experiences had been entirely different, but they had brought us to the same place." (p. 87).

The book descriptions were better than the war; much more pleasant.

Look for similar items by category


Feedback