Sintyosya releases the Complete Works of Abe Kobo (edited by Mrs. Abe Neri) since May 1997. They consist of 30 volumes, each of which contains about 100,000 words, The total amount of works is 3,800,000 words, which is twice as much as All Works of Abe Kobo (15 volumes, Sintyosya, 1972-1973). All works are chronologically ordered, so that we can survey synthetically his all-around activities.
The first volume contains many unpublished short stories. From them, Ro-Sontyo no Si (The death of old village chief, 1943?), Siroi Ga (A white moth, 1947) and Akuma Deubemeau (A demon named Deubemeau, 1948) appear in March issue of Sincho magazine.
If you can read Japanese, please jump to the interview with the chief editor of The Complete Works of Abe Kobo page in HORAGAI Japan. (Jan 18; Updated Apr 6)
Huzisawa Syuhe, novelist, died on January 27 1997 at age of 69. He was born in 1927 on the outskirts of Turuoka city, Yamagata prefecture. He finished the Yamagata normal school and became a high-school teacher. When he was 23 years old, he got tuberculosis and was obliged to enter a sanitarium for 5 years. Leaving sanitarium, he worked as reporter in a small trade paper. When he was 43 years old, he won the All Yomimono's New Writers Contest. In 1973, he got the Naoki Award to become a full-time writer.
Huzisawa was one of the most popular historical novelist. He wrote the brilliant chronicle of the Unasaka domain, which he created after the Shonai domain, his home country. He also wrote many short stories describing common life at Edo city in 17th and 18th centuries with pathos. His master piece is Sizin (Dusts in Streets, 1989), a biographical novel of Arai Hakuseki, who is great politician and confucianist in 17th centuries. (Feb 20)
The symposium and the first anniversary of death of Siba Ryotaro, novelist, was held on February 12 at Royal Hotel in Osaka. Siba Ryotaro was the most popular master of historical novel and his picture was ornamented with Nanohana (rape blossoms) of his masterpiece, Nanohana no Oki (Oceans in flowering Nanohana season), in which he described an adventure of the captain of a wrecked ship drifting ashore in Russia. The anniversary of his death is called as Nanohana-ki. He re-evaluated Mezi Restoration and the Russian War in 1904 against a historical view of the left wing after the World War II. (Feb 20)
Haniya Yutaka died on February 19 1997 at age of 87. He refused a funeral ceremony and the memorial service is held in non-religious style at the Taisozi temple, Tokyo, on February 24. (Feb 20)
Ikeda Masuo, printing artist, painter and writer, died on March 8 1997. In last December he had a cerebral infarction, from which he seemed to recover, but he fell down at a rush of his pet dogs at the entrance of his home on March 7.
Ikeda was born on February 1934 in Manchuria, and returned to the Nagano prefecture after defeat of Japan. After he was frustrated in entrance examinations of Tokyo Gezyutu Daigaku at three times (it was regarded as a critical failure for Japanese artists), he changed his course from painting to printing art, he won the award of Educational Minister at the International Tokyo Printing Biennale in 1960 and the Grand Prix of the International Venice Biennale in 1966.
As a writer, he wrote Ege-kai ni sasagu (Dedicate for the Aegean Sea) and got the Akutagawa Award in 1977. Based on this short story, he directed a film, featuring Cicciolina. (Apr 6; Updated on Jul 4)
Murakami Haruki publishes Underground, a collection of interviews on the Aum salin case, on March 20 - its second anniversary. He interviewed with 58 sufferers and 3 medicines and a lawyer. Although he could write a story composing of these materials, he dared to choice interview form because of "standing out more clearly details of individual sufferers' faces". He raises a question, why Japanese bureaucrats, journalist, policemen and people were neglecting a lot of illegal acts of the Aum Cult Order.
In January, he published a dialogue titled as Murakami Haruki, Kawai Hayao ni aini iku (Murakami Haruki went to see Kawai Hayao), who is a great Jungian psycho-therapist. In this book, he said that people seemed to need childish visions and that he stood on the turning point from detachment to commitment. His latest novel, Nezimakidori Kuronikuru (Chronicles of Clock-winding Bird), he described the Nomonhan war between Japan and Soviet Union in Manchuria in 1939.
Murakami was regarded as a representative of Meism, but he makes conversion to commitment with society. (Apr 6)
Suna no Onna (Woman in the Dunes), based on Abe's novel, directed by Vladimir Petrov and presented by the Omsk Academy Drama Theatre, won the best leading actress award, the best leading actor award and the best direction award at the Festival of Golden Mask in Moscow on March 24 1997.
The Omsk Academy Drama Theatre is a local company based at Omsk in West Siberia. This play was first performed at the Festival of Japanese Culture and Art at Omsk in October 1996. The man was acted by Michael Oknev, and the woman by Araki Kazuho, a Japanese actress of Tokyo Gezyutuza (Tokyo Art Company). They are imprisoned in a sand pit, alienated by languages, but sympathized each together. (Apr 6; Updated on Apr 9)
Isawa Taka, novelist, died of cancer of the throat on April 22 1997. He was called as the last rascal writer. He was energetic, wild and populous. He lost voice in 1993, when he was operated upon throat, but he was as sociable as ever.
In 1995, he won the Gezyutu Sensyo (the award of Educational Minister) by Clue. In 1997, he published his last novel, Zigoku ha itizyo sumikazo kasi (The Hell is indeed my own home), in which the dumb hero was, through complications with dump old woman, discovering a scandalous life of Akegarasu Haya, a Buddhist leader of the Zyodo-Sinsyu sect in the late Mezi period.
His real name is Mizuki Ken and he was famous as chief editor of Subaru Magazine, in which he printed great works of late Isikawa Jun and of Hukasawa Sitiro. In his pen-name, Isawa is after the hometown of Hukasawa and Taka is after Taka (The Hawk), the masterpiece of Isikawa Jun. (June 30)
Agri, a television serial of soap opera makes a great success. Yosiyuki Agri, the heroin, is one of pioneering modern beauticians and wife of Yosiyuki Esuke (1906-1940), writer. They had a son, Zyunnosuke, and two daughters, Kazuko and Rie. Zyunnosuke, winner of Akutagawa award, was one of the most important novelists in modern Japan. Kazuko is a famous actress. Rie is poet, novelist and winner of Akutagawa award. Agri is still alive and wrote a brilliant recollection titled as Yusura Ume no minoru toki (The season when the Nanking cherry matures), on which Agri is based.
Yosiyuki Esuke was born in 1906 in Okayama prefecture. Coming to Tokyo, he joined to Sinko Gezyutu ha (sect of New Artists) and associated with Takahasi Sinkiti, Dadaism poet, and Tuzi Zyun, leader of anarchism and Dadaism. He wrote witty short stories. His complete works are republished by the booming of Agri on TV. (June 30; Updated on July 7)
In celebration of starting The Complete Works of Abe Kobo, Sintyosya broadcasts two of messages of Abe Kobo on the telephone since July 9 to 17. The first one was recorded in November 1984, in which Abe introduced Hakobune Sakuramaru (The Ark Sakura). The second in November 1991, Kangaru Noto (Kangaroo Notebook). The first voice is strong and powerful, but the second is weak and indistinct. Telephone number is 03-3269-4700.
And the latest issue of Kokubungaku Magazine is dedicated for Abe Kobo. The contributors are Kisida Kyoko (actress of The Woman in the Dunes), Donald Keen, Nancy Shields, Mikowai Melanoviti, Ohasi Yasu (Assistant Professor of Abe Seminar), Kondo Kazuya (Book Designer of Complete Works) and others. (July 9)
Abe Studio holds a big event since 7 till 28 September at Sogetu Kaikan in Tokyo. They put rare movies on the screen and open the series of open forums, in which take part actors, directors, playwrights, cineasts and writers, including Donald Keen, Tesigawara Hirosi and Simizu Kunio.
Admission fee is 2,800 yen. You can get it soon through agencies like Ticket Pia or Ticket Saison.
Abe Studio also holds a workshop for young actors since 17 to 27 September at Morisita Studio in Tokyo. They exercise The Abe Method. Fee is 35,000 yen. The first 50 persons only. (July 10; Updated on October 10)
|Abe Kobo and Cinema||September 7 (Sunday) 2PM||Otosiana (A pit hole, 1962)
directed by Tesigawara Hirosi
|Kusakabe Kyusiro, Tesigawara Hirosi, Igawa Hisasi, Yano Sen|
|Abe Kobo and Drama||September 20 (Saturday) 2PM||Toki no Gake (The Cliff of Time, 1971)
directed by Abe Kobo
|Abe Kobo, the playwright
by Donald Keen
|Isizawa Syuzi, Ozaki Kozi, Simizu Kunio, Mori Hideo|
|What Abe Studio aimed at?||September 21 (Sunday) 2PM||Uee (1975)
|Isizawa Syuzi, Tanaka Kunie, Igawa Hisasi|
|Possibilities of Abe Kobo||September 28 (Sunday) 2PM||Kozo ha sinda (1979)
|Reviving Abe Kobo
by Tuzii Takasi
|Tatumi Takayuki, Namba Hiroyuki, Coline Ble|
In June, the Saison Theatre at Ginza presented the Syowa Kayo Daizensyu (Famous popular songs in Showa era), adapted by Simizu Kunio and directed by Ninagawa Yukio, based on the Murakami Ryu's novel, in which ex-wives battle against young students and discover their wild nature. It was a good drama and the Saison Theatre was full after a long time.
Murakami Ryu opened his own pay site, TOKYO DECADENCE, which features English version of Topaz and splendid pictures.
He started to publish his self-selected works in 4 volumes. He said that most of his young fans went seldom to bookstore and needed to compact readers. (July 19)
Misawa city established the Terayama Syuzi Museum at a cost of $ 7,000,000 and opened on July 27 1997 in Aomori prefecture.
Terayama Syuzi (1935-1983), poet, playwright and cineast, was raised in Misawa, where his friends of childhood erected a monument for him in 1989 and Kuzyo Kyoko, his ex-wife and the executor of his testament, donated the city government his manuscripts, documents, letters, video tapes, audio tapes, films, magazines and books, which amount to about 12000. The director of the museum is Terayama Kosiro, a cousin of the poet.
The hall is composed of two parts; a stage and a trap cellar. You can find many life-size objects of plays and cinemas of Terayama in the stage, and small materials like letters, manuscripts and magazines in the trap cellar in dim light. This is the Tenzyo Saziki style, his theatre company.
In every May, the museum executes the event for the anniversary of his death. (August 23)
Nagayama Norio, novelist, serial killer and condemned criminal, was executed on August 2 at age of 48 in the Tokyo prison.
He was born poor at Abasiri upon the sea of Okhotsk in Hokkaido in 1949. His family was broken up and he was raised in Aomori prefecture. He went to Tokyo for working at age of 16 by Syudansyusyoku Ressya (special trains to Tokyo for provincial young labors). In 1968 he stole a pistol from the Yokosuka Base of U.S. Army and killed four poor workers from October to November.
In prison, he was affected by criminal students of radical Trotskyists and studied literature and Marxism. In 1971 he published his first book, Muti no Namida (Weep for ignorance), which was not good one but became a best seller.
He was sentenced to death at the first trial in 1979 but to life imprisonment at the second trial in 1981. In 1983 he wrote Kibasi (A wooden Bridge), by which he won the Sin-Nihon Bungakusyo (Literary Prize for New Japan) sponsored by the Japan Communist Party. Kibasi is a good novel with poetical insights.
In 1987, he was sentenced to death again in the third trial and the sentence was finally decided in 1990.
After the final sentence, he was not permitted in communicating with editors. Defending his human rights, Kaga Otohiko, novelist and medicine in prison, and Saki Ryuzo, non-fiction writer, recommend him to Nihon Bungeka Kyokai (The Japan Writers Association) but the board did not accept him as a member. Protesting against it, Karatani Kozin, critic, and Tutui Yasutaka, novelist, withdrew from Nihon Bungeka Kyokai.
He left posthumous manuscripts over 350,000 words. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at his hometown, Abasiri, in the sea of Okhotsk by his friends on August 18. (August 23; Updated on January 7 1998)
The exhibition of legacy of the Rezes starts at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, Ueno, Tokyo. The Reze family is descent of Huziwara Teka and preserves a lot of manuscripts and traditional ritual of Waka poetry.
Huziwarano Tameie (1198-1275), the son of Teka, had three sons; Tameuzi, Tamenori and Tamesuke. The mother of Tameuzi and Tamenori was his lawful wife whose father, Utunomiya Yorituna, was high-ranking officer of Kamakura government, but the mother of Tamesuke, Abutuni, was young second wife.
Though Tameuzi and Tamenori were strongly supported by the Utunomiya family, Tamesuke had no backup. Tameie bequeathed Tamesuke a lot of manuscripts, including ones of Tosinari and Teka, which gave him prestige of Teka.Tameuzi founded the Nizyo family, Tamenori the Kyogoku and Tamesuke the Reze. They were also rivals in Waka poetry. The Nizyo style was classic, the Kyogoku style avant-garde and the Reze style moderate. Kyogoku Tamekane, son of Tamenori, was great poet but had no son so that the Kyogoku ended. The Nizyo family dominated Waka world for a long time but also ended. The Reze inherited the codices of the Nizyo and the Kyogoku.
Though most of aristocrats moved to Tokyo at the Mezi Restoration, the Reze family remained in Kyoto to keep old palace by order of Emperor Mezi. The Reze family is keeping traditional life style of Japanese aristocrats and preserves enormous manuscripts including national treasure.
Kawabata Yasunari and Misima Yukio became master and pupil from Misima's debut. The correspondence between them is well known among scholars. Although 43 letters from Kawabata were published in The Complete Works of Kawabata Yasunari, Misima Yoko, the widow, refused to publish Misima's letters except for five which are short and formalistic, in order to avoid scandal.
After the death of Misima Yoko, the Misima family made a deal with Yamanakako village to sold his manuscripts and materials, including unpublished letters, for a future Misima Yukio Literary Museum. Saeki Shoiti, the chairman of its steering committee, asked the Misima family for permission to publish them. They agreed.
46 of Misima's letters are published in the October issue of Shincho magazine, together with 5 letters of Misima and 43 letters of Kawabata which were already published. We can read whole correspondence between two great contemporary authors of Japanese literature since March 1945 to August 1969. The dialogue between Saeki Shoiti and Kawabata Kaori, adopted son of Yasunari, is also printed in Shincho magazine and is so interesting.
When Misima was still employed in the Ministry of Finance, he wrote that the job was painful but that he was worried about earning livelihood by writing. In the letter dated on August 4 1969, he hinted at committed harakiri suicide in Itigaya base the next year.
Just before the Itigaya case, Misima wrote to Kawabata his last letter. According to Kawabata Kaori, Yasunari destroyed it and said to him, "The calligraphy was disordered, contents too. The letter might have disgraced Mr. Misima." (October 10; Updated on October 20).
The ceremony for the first anniversary of Endo Syusaku was held at Tokyo Kaikan with over a thousand participants. Endo Zyunko, the widow, announced that Sotome town would build the Endo Syusaku Literary Museum at Yuhigaoka hill upon Gotonada sea, Nagasaki prefecture. The Sotome town government will provide the site and the construction costs.
Though many cities and towns made offer to her, she chose Sotome, which is the site of Tinmoku (Silence, 1966) and has tradition of Kakure Kirisitan (hidden Christians in the Tokugawa period). The museum will open in 1999.
Mrs. Endo published "Hukai Kawa" Sosaku Nikki (The diary of the writing diary of Hukai Kawa), in which he wrote of serious pain of renal disease and obligation to complete his last novel.
The movie Aisuru (To Love), based on his novel, Watasi ga suteta Onna (A woman whom I deserted), was released on October 4, featuring a young beautiful actress, Sakai Miki. Mitu, the heroin of To Love wrongly diagnosis with leprosy and was imprisoned in a sanitarium. She turned out to be healthy, but she decided to stay there for the sake of the leprous patients. (October 10; Updated on October 20).
140 of Tanizaki Zyun'itiro's unknown letters were found among articles left by the late Mrs. Kobayasi Kazue (1920 - 1997), who had been working as housemaid at the Tanizaki home since 1935 to 1940 and as secretary after WW2. Also found many books dedicated to her by Tanizaki, including rare and precious private editions.
Mrs. Kobayasi was known as a model of Oharu, housemaid in Sasameyuki (Makioka Sisters). Tanizaki wrote to her that he had written Sasameyuki looking back the happy days when she was working in his home. (January 3 1998)
The readers of Yamaguti Hitomi (1925 - 1994), essayist and novelist, organized a society to build a stone monument for him at Hoya Tenmangu shrine in Kunitati city. The president is Seki Gante, who is known as model of Mr. Dosto, humorous character in Yamaguti's travel books. Arasiyama Kozaburo, writer and editor, was appointed advisor. The monument is made by Seki Bin, sculptor. They hope to complete it on November 3 1998, Yamaguti's birthday. (January 3 1998)
The last letter of Arisima Takeo (1878 - 1923), written just before his suicide with his sweetheart, was exhibited at the autumn festival of Tokyo Bunka Gakuen school in Nakano, Tokyo since November 2 to 3 1997. Arisima wrote it to Morimoto Atukiti, the founder of Tokyo Bunka Gakuen at 2.00 am on June 9th 1923. (January 3 1998)
Nagayama Norio's last long novel, Hana (Divine Flowers), was published in 4 tomes on December 10. Its paragraphs are too long to read, because he could not get new papers and he wrote his works on wraps and margins of letters after his death sentence finally decided in 1990. He was obliged to save papers in his last days.
The November issue of Bunge magazine was dedicated for him, in which the first part of Hana was published. Also published the interview with Kitano Takesi, vaudevillian, actor, writer and winner of Golden Lion of Venice Film Festival 1997, who was working with him at the Jazz spot, Sinzyuku in early 1970s. (January 3 1998; Updated on November 26 1998)