Generated with sparks and insights from 24 sources

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Introduction

  • Osamu Dazai, born Shūji Tsushima, was a prominent Japanese novelist and author.

  • He is best known for his works 'The Setting Sun' and 'No Longer Human', which are considered modern-day classics.

  • Dazai's writing often explores themes of suicide, social alienation, and depression, reflecting his own troubled life.

  • He was influenced by writers such as Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Murasaki Shikibu, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

  • Dazai's life was marked by multiple suicide attempts, and he ultimately died by drowning in 1948.

Early Life [1]

  • Birth: Osamu Dazai was born Shūji Tsushima on June 19, 1909, in Kanagi, Aomori Prefecture, Japan.

  • Family Background: He was the tenth of eleven children in a wealthy landowner family.

  • Education: Dazai began his education at Kanagi Elementary and later attended Aomori Junior High School and Hirosaki University.

  • Father's Death: His father, Gen'emon, died of lung cancer in 1923, significantly impacting Dazai's life.

  • Early Interests: Dazai developed an interest in Edo culture and began studying gidayū, a form of chanted narration used in bunraku.

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Literary Career [1]

  • Early Works: Dazai began his literary career by editing student publications and contributing his own works.

  • Pen Name: He adopted the pen name 'Osamu Dazai' in 1933.

  • First Success: His first story, 'Gyofukuki' ('Transformation'), was published in 1933.

  • Mentorship: Established writer Masuji Ibuse helped Dazai get his works published.

  • Prolific Period: The 1930s and 1940s were highly productive years for Dazai, during which he wrote many autobiographical novels and short stories.

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Major Works [1]

  • 'The Setting Sun': Published in 1947, this novel depicts the decline of the Japanese nobility after World War II.

  • 'No Longer Human': Published in 1948, this quasi-autobiographical novel explores themes of alienation and self-destruction.

  • 'Villon's Wife': A 1947 story about the wife of a poet who continues to live through hardships after being abandoned.

  • 'Pandora's Box': Written between 1945-46, this work retells old Japanese fairy tales with vividness and wit.

  • 'Good-Bye': An unfinished novella that was being serialized in the Asahi Shimbun at the time of Dazai's death.

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Themes and Influences [1]

  • Recurring Themes: Dazai's works often explore themes of suicide, social alienation, and depression.

  • Autobiographical Elements: Many of his stories are autobiographical, reflecting his own life experiences.

  • Literary Influences: Dazai was influenced by writers such as Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Murasaki Shikibu, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

  • I-Novel: Dazai's writing style is often associated with the I-novel, a genre of Japanese literature that emphasizes personal confession.

  • Philosophical Exploration: His works delve into the human condition and the search for identity.

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Personal Struggles [1]

  • Suicide Attempts: Dazai attempted suicide multiple times throughout his life.

  • Addiction: He struggled with addiction to painkillers, particularly Pavinal.

  • Mental Health: Dazai was hospitalized for mental health issues and underwent treatment for his addiction.

  • Marital Issues: His first wife, Hatsuyo, committed adultery, leading to their divorce.

  • Final Act: Dazai and his lover, Tomie Yamazaki, drowned themselves in the Tamagawa Canal in 1948.

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Legacy [1]

  • Literary Impact: Dazai is considered one of Japan's most important literary figures of the 20th century.

  • Modern-Day Classics: His works 'The Setting Sun' and 'No Longer Human' are regarded as modern-day classics.

  • Cultural Influence: Dazai's life and works continue to influence Japanese culture and literature.

  • Translations: Although relatively unknown outside Japan, some of his works have been translated into English and other languages.

  • Posthumous Recognition: Dazai's grave is located at the temple of Zenrin-ji in Mitaka, Tokyo, and remains a site of literary pilgrimage.

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Related Videos

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<div class="-md-ext-youtube-widget"> { "title": "Thoughts on "No Longer Human" by Osamu Dazai", "link": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CedEz5tnJvE", "channel": { "name": ""}, "published_date": "Jan 11, 2023", "length": "" }</div>

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