The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature

Volume 2: From 1945 to the Present

By J. Thomas Rimer (Editor); Van C. Gessel (Editor); Amy Vladeck Heinrich
(Columbia University Press, Hardcover, 9780231138048, 841pp.)

Publication Date: April 2007

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Description

In Volume 2 of Columbia's comprehensive anthology of modern Japanese literature, thoughtfully selected and carefully translated readings portray the vast changes that have transformed Japanese culture since the end of the Pacific War. Beginning with the Allied Occupation in 1945 and concluding with the early twenty-first century, these stories, poems, plays, and essays reflect Japan's heady transition from poverty to prosperity, its struggle with conflicting ideologies and political beliefs, and the growing influence of popular culture on the country's artistic and intellectual traditions.

Organized chronologically and by genre within each period, readings include fiction by Hayashi Fumiko and Oe Kenzaburo; poems by Ayukawa Nobuo, Katsura Nobuko, and Saito Fumi; plays by Mishima Yukio and Shimizu Kunio; and a number of essays, among them Eto Jun on Natsume Soseki and his brilliant novel "Kokoro" ( "The Heart of Things"), and Kawabata Yasunari on the shape of his literary career and the enduring influence of classical Japanese literature.

Some authors train a keen eye on the contemporary world, while others address the historical past and its relationship to modern culture. Some adopt an even broader scope and turn to European models for inspiration, while others look inward, exploring psychological and sexual terrain in new, often daring ways. Spanning almost six decades, this anthology provides a thorough introduction to a profound period of creative activity.

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