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Osamu Dazai Books In Order

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Publication Order of Osamu Dazai Books

100 Views Of Mount Fuji (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
Schoolgirl (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
Run, Melos! (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
A New Hamlet (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
Home to Tsugaru (1944)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pandora's Box (1944)Description / Buy at Amazon
Otogizōshi (1946)Description / Buy at Amazon
Villon's Wife (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Setting Sun (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Shameful Life (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Longer Human (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
Good-Bye (1948)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dazai Osamu. selected stories and sketches (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crackling Mountain and Other Stories (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Self Portraits (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blue Bamboo (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Flowers of Buffoonery (With: Sam Bett) (1935)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Story of a Pet Dog (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wish Fulfilled (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Retrogression (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Seventh Annual Collection(1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Osamu Dazai
Osamu Dazai was born June 19, 1909 in Kanagi, Aomori and was the eighth surviving child of a wealthy landowner in a remote corner of Japan at the Northern tip of Tohoku.

When he was born, the large, newly finished Tsushima mansion where he’d spend his early years was the home to around thirty family members. The Tsushima family was from obscure peasant origins, with Dazai’s great-grandpa amassing the family’s wealth as a moneylender, and his son increasing it further. They quickly rose in prominence and power and, after a bit of time, they became highly respected across the region.

In 1916, he started his education at Kanagi Elementary. His dad died of lung cancer on March 4, 1923 and a month later, he attended Aomori High School, followed by entering Hirosaki University’s literature department in 1927. Tsushima developed an interest in Edo culture and started studying gidayu, a form of chanted narration used in the puppet theaters.

Starting around 1928 Tsushima edited a series of student publications and contributed a few of his own works. He even published Cell Literature with his friends, and subsequently became a staff member of the college’s newspaper team.

His success as a writer was brought to a halt when his idol, a writer called Ryunosuke Akutagawa, killed himself in the year 1927. Osamu began neglecting his studies, and spent much of his allowance on alcohol, clothes, and prostitutes. He dabbled with Marxism, which was suppressed heavily by the government.

He tried killing himself the first time on December 10, 1929, but survived and was able to graduate the next year. In the year 1930, he enrolled in the French Literature Department of Tokyo Imperial University and stopped studying immediately. In October, he ran off with a geisha and became formally disowned by his family.

Osamu, just nine days after getting expelled from Tokyo Imperial University, tried to kill himself by drowning off a beach in Kamakura with another woman, a bar hostess. She died, but he was rescued by a fishing boat. He was then charged as an accomplice in her death. His family intervened to get a police investigation and he was released of any charges, with his allowance being reinstated.

He managed to obtain the assistance of Masuji Ibuse, an established writer, and whose connections helped get his works published and establish a reputation for himself. These next few years were productive ones for him, writing at a feverish pace and using the pen name of “Osamu Dazai” for the first time on a short story called “Ressha” in the year 1933, which was his first experiment with the first person autobiographical style which later became his signature.

But in 1935, it started becoming obvious to Dazai that he wouldn’t graduate, and failed to get a job at a Tokyo newspaper. He finished “The Final Years”, an intended to be his farewell to world before trying to hang himself on March 19, 1935, failing once more.

Less than three weeks later, he developed acute appendicitis and was hospitalized. While he was in the hospital, he got addicted to Pavinal, a morphine-based painkiller. After he fought the addiction for a year, in October of 1936 he was taken to a mental institution and locked in a room, being forced to quit cold turkey. The treatment took one month.

During this time his wife Hatsuyo committed adultery with his best friend. Once it came to light, both he and his wife tried committing double suicide. They each took sleeping pills, but neither one of them died, so he just divorced her. He soon remarried to a middle school teacher, and their first daughter was born in June of 1941.

He had a son, named Masaki who was born in 1944, and a daughter named Satoko, who became a famous writer herself under the pen name of Yuko Tsushima and was born in May of 1947.

“No Longer Human” was been adapted quite a few times. Into a graphic novel by Junji Ito (the horror manga artist), the first four episodes of Aoi Bungaku, a film that was directed by Genjiro Arato, and various mangas.

Dazai’s stories, with a semi-autobiographical style and transparency into his personal life, have intrigued many readers’ minds. His books also bring about awareness about a number of important topics like postwar Japan, mental illness, human nature, and social relationships.

He died at the age of 38 in Tokyo, Japan on June 13, 1948. He and Tomie Yamazaki drowned themselves in the rain swollen Tamagawa Canal, close to his house. Their bodies weren’t found until what would’ve been his 39th birthday.

“No Longer Human” is a stand alone novel that was released in the year 1968. This novel tells the fascinating and poignant tale about a young man that is caught between the impact of Western ideas and the breakup of the traditions of one northern Japanese aristocratic family. As a result of this, he feels himself being “disqualified from being human”, which is a literal translation of the Japanese title.

“The Setting Sun” is a stand alone novel that was released in the year 1968. The post-war period in Japan was one of immense social change while Japanese society was adjusting to the shock of being defeated and to the occupation of Japan by American forces and their allies’. This is the backdrop to the story about one minor aristocratic family’s decline.

It is told by the unmarried daughter of a widowed aristocrat, named Kazuko. Her search for self meaning in a society that is devoid of a use for her is the crux of the novel. It’s a sad story, and structurally is a book very much inside the confines of the Japanese take on the novel in a way like Yasunari Kawabata, with how the social interactions are peripheral and understated, with nuances that have to be drawn.

Her mom becomes ill, and due to their limited financial circumstances they’re forced to take a cottage in the country. Her brother, who got addicted to opium while fighting in the war has been missing. Once he returns, she attempts to form a liaison with Uehara, a novelist. This romantic displacement just further deepens her alienation from society.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Osamu Dazai

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