Kasai Zenzō (1887-1928) was one of the first and most prominent shishosetsu writers during the Taisho period (1912-1926). The shishōsetsu, “I” novel or autobiographical narrative, was once believed to be an ideal form of writing, the purest of prose, and an expression of the depth of the self, which was said to be created without fabrications derived from conventional fiction. The shishosetsu is the most outstanding feature of modern Japanese literature. This work examines and analyzes the narrative structure as well as the theme of At the Lakeside to shed light on the final stage in the development of shish?setsu in its finest form.
This study offers both a chronological description of the literary career of Kasai Zenz? (1887-1928), as well as an historical examination of shi-sh?setsu (a Japanese autobiographical/confessional literary genre) during and after his lifetime. Zenz? was one of the most important shi-sh?setsu authors, living in the Taish? Period (1912-1926) in which this genre was in the height of its ascendancy. In shi-sh?setsu, the “I” novel, the author recounts details of his or her personal life with only a thin veneer of fiction. This genre was believed to be an ideal form of prose writing and an expression of individual depth, created without the fabrications normally found in conventional fiction, making it one of the most striking features of modern Japanese literature. Kasai, living his entire life in poverty, turned to Zen Buddhism for spiritual solace and became both a major architect of the Taish? shi-sh?setsu and its defining author.
This study addresses the evolution of the Yang Kuei-fei legend, which has been told and retold in works of verse and prose. It first examines the historical Yang Kuei-fei (a renowned Chinese beauty who died tragically in 756 AD, favorite consort of the T'ang Emperor Hsüan-tsung) and her legend in China, then proceeds to a chronological analysis of accounts of her in Japanese literature: the initial and medieval phases and the Edo and modern periods. Although the study covers a period extending from the ninth century to the present, the most important features in the evolution of the legend occurred during medieval times synthesized in the early 17th century puppet play called the Yokihi monogatari (A Tale of Yang Kuei-fei), a translation of which is included. The legend in Japan evolved on two levels: the adaptation of the Chinese legend and the development of an account infused with universal values. “. . . makes a significant contribution to Japanese studies as well as to Sino-Japanese comparative literature. . . not only demonstrates the influence of the Chinese sources on Japanese works, but also explores the various adaptations and innovations in Japanese works on Yang Kuei-fei. Tracing the different stages of adaptation, Graham demonstrates how come authors blend various accounts and create a new one, and how they adapt the source to suit their own ideological or artistic purposes. Graham’s translations of a number of Japanese sources . . . . are quite readable; these translations constitute valuable contributions to the study of Japanese and Chinese literature. her discussion covers a wide range of genres and includes history, culture, religion, and art. This book provides a useful foundation for comparative studies of the Yang Kuei-fei legend.” – Yenna Wu in The Journal of Asian Studies "Masako Nakagawa Graham has done an excellent job of recounting the historical events, including the tumultuous rebellion of the Sogdian-Turkish general, An Lu-shan, that led to the initial development of the legend in China. Also valuable is her review of the Chinese poems, stories, plays, and novels from the T'ang through the Ch'ing periods. . . . annotated translations of primary texts in Chinese and Japanese make the growth of the Yang Kuei-fei legend readily accessible to those who are not proficient in these languages. . . . offers an instructive example of the fruitful crossing of boundaries that are both geographical and disciplinary. Although this is primarily a literary study, it also touches upon Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Tantrism, art, and other subjects. . . this is a work of humanistic scholarship that is both illuminating and pleasurable to read." - Victor H. Mair
- Claude Bernard -
“The joy of discovery is certainly the liveliest that the mind of man can ever feel”
Note regarding American Attorneys at Tokyo Trials: The Japanese defense cannot be fully comprehended without help from the American lawyers.