Osamu Dazai(1909-48) had a tremendous impact on twentieth-century Japanese literature. His unique expressions of sensitive emotion have been known through many generations. We are honored to feature such a great author as well as Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Yasunari Kawabata in the book.
We can see his sense of death and life in the short story "Villon's wife" originally published in 1947.
The character Ohtani could be seen as Dazai himself, and also, the wife of Dazai, Michiko, married 10 years before his passing away seems to be the model of Sat-chan, whom we know only by her bar-name. Thoroughly this story was composed of spoken words by Ohtani's wife.
The difficulty of translating Dazai works into other languages is caused maybe such narrative words of Japanese women. We are proud to present here a stunning new translation for this book by Mr. Ralph McCarthy. His beautiful writing makes appear the feeling of the original.
One of the most outstanding photographers in Japan, Daido Moriyama, is known by his great essays also. His school in childhood used to be strolling about the streets, movie theaters, and novels. In his essays until now, we found various titles of the books and writers being influenced, including Dazai’s name many times.
Daido’s selection of photographs in the book was based on the homage to Dazai. This reminds us he published the book "the journey to Nakaji" in 1987 with his admiring Nakaji Yasui.
For editing this book, I have repeated to read whole stories of Dazai sometimes again sometimes firstly. Rediscovering Dazai, and getting a better glimpse of the true depth and breadth of his genius, was in itself a wonderful reward.
With gratitude to two Ds: Daido and Dazai, and Ralph for the opportunity.