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Pornographers [Paperback]

Akiyuki Nozaka
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Subuyan is at heart a simple man who wants only to make world a little happier. He is a pornographer with a dream, doing his small best to alleviate the sorrows of mankind, as least insofar as they afflict the wealthy man and large corporations who are his clients (a humanistic point of view not shared by his chief cameraman, Banteki, who is a firm believer in Art for Art's Sake). Burdened by the eternal problems of the small business man (shoddy workmanship, equipment breakdowns, the difficulty of finding decent help, customers who won't pay their bills), Subuyan and Bantaki struggle to maintain their moral and aesthetic standards in an immoral and careless world. With ironic humor and a sharp compassion, The Pornographers follows its oddly endearing hero through a succession of tragicomic encounters-with the rich and sometimes treacherous clients to whom he purveys a bewildering diversity of artifacts and entertainments; with the synthetic schoolgirls he recruits from among Osaka's thirteen Veteran Virgins; with infuriating technical problems (tape recorders more sensitive to the interference of ham radios than to the sounds of love-making in the adjoining apartment); with idiot film actors incapable of following the simplest script. But Subuyan's cheerful humanism prevails against all frustrations-in a novel that is rich in comic invention, unflinching in its acceptance of life, a brilliant modern extravaganza in a classic tradition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars No Matter How Stiffly the Breeze Blew Jan. 8 2004
Format:Paperback
When reading Japanese literature one can be transported to Japan's classical past by reading Murasaki Shikibu's _The Tale of Genji_ Sei Shonagon's _Pillow Book_, and Michitsuna's mother's _Kagero Diary_ or to Japan days of ribaldry through the works of Ihara Saikaku. In more recent times they can be transported to the ultra realistic and prosaic worlds of Naoya Shiga and Natsume Soseki, or the poetic worlds of Japan's golden past through Mishima Yukio and Kawabata Yasunari, or the post modern worlds of Murakami Haruki and Yoshimoto Banana. However, there is a seedier side to Japan's literature that can be found in the works of Kirino Natsuo, Nakagami Kenji, Yu Miri, and Murakami Ryu. Another name that should be added to this list is Nozaka Akiyuki. At first glance, one probably thinks that a book with a name like _The Pornographers_ strives to titilate its readers. This could not b further from the case.What this book does is give the reader a glimpse into Japan's underworld: the making of adult films, making films depicting rapes and other carnal fantasies. This book is a real eye opener and should be read with caution. Although it was translated 35 years ago, by a Jesuit no less, this book is often quite graphic, and its words might make the reader see his or her own dark passions.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I Read in Japan Aug. 23 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While on a one year study abroad in Japan I read nearly all of the 20th centry fiction works in my school's extensive library. I believe this book to be the best I read. Although decades old, The Pornographers is still a startlingly accurate a portrayal of Japanese male sexuality, with all of it's bizarre twists and turns. Written with humor and warmth, I just kept laughing and shaking my head saying, "It's so true!" Whether you have a strong interest in Japanese culture or not, this book is a fascinating read from one of Japan's greatest authors.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange and oddly sweet. Oct. 21 2005
By frumiousb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In the opening of the book, Banteki is trying to sell audio recordings that he has made of Osaka residents in their more intimate moments. Much to his annoyance, one particularly juicy moment is wrecked because the woman in question had a tendency to whistle through her teeth at strange times. Another tape is not what it should be because the couple leaves the radio on so that all the would-be pornographers can hear are commercials for anti-nausea medication. Although disappointed, his buyer Subuyan is philosophical about it-- he believes that the tapes are still realistic, and it is realism that is the key to successful pornography.

With this opening, the reader is introduced to a dark and quirky novel which explores themes as diverse as sexual anthropology, fidelity, tradition and craftsmanship. Subuyan as the defender of the everyman of porn and Banteki as the misunderstood artist are cleverly drawn characters who are more memorable for their naïveté than their seediness. The Pornographers is an engaging and well-written book which makes its points deftly and with an arch sense of humor.

The Gallagher translation seems fine to me as a reader. At least, it read smoothly and I was not lost in parts of the text that I imagine a non-Japanese reader could get lost in. The reading experience is not complete-- I think that I miss a lot as a reader so much later and in such a different culture, but there are enough common areas to keep it interesting.

Recommended for fans of dark fiction or the modern Japanese novel. As is probably obvious, despite the sweetness it has some very adult material as a subject and is probably not a good book for younger readers.
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