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19 May 1988
Scandal 
by Shusaku Endo, translated by Van Gessel.
Peter Owen, 237 pp., £11.95, April 1988, 0 7206 0682 9
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Hell Screen, Cogwheels, A Fool’s Life 
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.
Eridanos, 145 pp., £13.95, March 1988, 0 941419 02 9
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Singular Rebellion 
by Saiichi Maruya, translated by Dennis Keene.
Deutsch, 412 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 233 98202 7
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... invades his dreams. He records one of these visitations: Recently I had a dream in which I met Akutagawa Ryonosuke. He was wearing a rumpled summer kimono, and sat with folded arms and his eyes downcast. He did not utter a word, but suddenly stood up, parted the bamboo curtain behind him, and went into the next room. I knew that the neighbouring room was ...
1 March 1984
A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. I: The First Thousand Years 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by David Chibbett.
Macmillan, 319 pp., £20, September 1979, 0 333 19882 4
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A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. II: The Years of Isolation 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by Don Sanderson.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 22088 9
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A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. III: The Modern Years 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by Don Sanderson.
Macmillan, 307 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 34133 3
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World within Walls 
by Donald Keene.
Secker, 624 pp., £15, January 1977, 0 436 23266 9
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Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature 
by Makoto Ueda.
Stanford, 451 pp., $28.50, September 1983, 0 8047 1166 6
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Low City, High City: Tokyo from Edo to the Earthquake 
by Edward Seidensticker.
Allen Lane, 302 pp., £16.95, September 1983, 0 7139 1597 8
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... concerned with eight ‘writers’: Natsume Soseki, Nagai Kafu, Tanizaki Junichiro, Shiga Naoya, Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Dazai Osamu, Kawabata Yasunari and Mishima Yukio. It is difficult to say whether these writers were chosen because some works of theirs have been translated into English. Other writers from Mori Ogai to Inoue Yasushi (and various ...

Soul to Soul

Ian Buruma

19 February 1987
The Myth of Japanese Uniqueness 
by Peter Dale.
Croom Helm, 233 pp., £25, September 1987, 0 7099 0899 7
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... there was no reason to apotheosise any one of them in order to kill it.’ Arima quotes the writer Akutagawa Ryunosuke: ‘There are many reasons to kill God, but there is no god in Japan who deserves to be killed.’ Church was never separated from state in Japan. There was never a religious dogma to serve as a moral check on the often arbitrary ways of ...

Polly the Bleeding Parrot

James Meek: David Peace

6 August 2009
Occupied City 
by David Peace.
Faber, 275 pp., £12.99, July 2009, 978 0 571 23202 4
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... 1994, adopts a highly stylised structure for the new book, partly based on two short stories by Akutagawa Ryunosuke: ‘Rashomon’, about an old woman who steals hair from corpses at Kyoto’s Rashomon Gate, and ‘In a Grove’, in which the murder of a samurai is described in different ways by different witnesses, altering our perception of the ...

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