Dazai, Osamu


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Dazai, Osamu

(ōsä`mo͞o dä`zī), pseudonym of

Shuji Tsushima

(sho͞o`jē tso͞o`shĭmä), 1909–48, Japanese novelist. Considered one of the foremost fiction writers of 20th-century Japan, Dazai was noted for his ironic and gloomy wit, his obsession with suicide, and his brilliant fantasy. In the 1930s and 40s he wrote a number of subtle novels and short stories that are frequently autobiographical in nature. His first novel, Gyofukuki (1933), is a grim fantasy involving suicide. His stories, published as Bannen [declining years] (1936) describe his sense of personal isolation and his debauchery. In Otogi Zoshi (1945) he retold a number of old Japanese fairy tales with vividness and a trenchant wit. The decline of the Japanese nobility after World War II was his theme in The Setting Sun (1947, tr. 1956). He depicted a dissolute life in postwar Tokyo in Bion no Tsuma (1947). His No Longer Human (1948, tr. 1958) was a rephrasing of much autobiographical matter. Dazai committed suicide while working on a novel entitled Good-bye.

Dazai, Osamu

 

(pseudonym; real name, Tsushima Shugi). Born June 19. 1909; died June 13, 1948. Japanese author.

Dazai was born into an aristocratic family. His first novella, The Color of Wit (1935), in which he described his attempt at suicide, brought him fame. Dazai wrote about the lives of decadent aristocrats and young people afflicted with pessimism and skepticism. His most popular works were Villon’s Wife (1947), Sunset (1947), and Man’s Loss (1948). In a fit of profound depression he committed suicide.

REFERENCES

Istoriia sovremennoi iaponskoi literatury. Moscow. 1961. (Translated from Japanese.)
Okuno. Takeo. Dazai Osamu. Tokyo. 1958.