Nagai Kafu

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Nagai Kafu


(pseudonym of Nagai Sokichi). Born Dec. 3, 1879, in Tokyo; died Apr. 30, 1959, in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. Japanese writer. Member of the Japan Academy.

Nagai studied at the Chinese division of the Tokyo Institute of Foreign Languages. His first novel, The Flowers of Hell (1902), was written in imitation of E. Zola. From 1903 to 1908, Nagai lived in the USA, later living in France, where he became interested in the symbolist movement. Nagai used as the setting for his novels the entertainment districts and the world of prostitutes and geishas, for example, The River Sumida (1909), Geisha in Rivalry (1916–17), Melting Snow (1921), and Before and After the Rainy Season (1931). During the period of fascism in Japan (late 1930’s through 1945), Nagai was forbidden to publish. Among his works that appeared in print after 1946 were The Order and The Danseuse. Nagai translated works by C. Baudelaire and P. Verlaine into Japanese.


Nagai Kafu zenshu, vols. 1–28. Tokyo, 1962–65.
In Russian translation:
“Risovye shariki.” In Iaponskaia novella. Moscow, 1961.


Istoriia sovremennoi iaponskoi literatury. Moscow, 1961.
Logunova, V. Pisateli i vremia. Moscow, 1961.
Grigor’eva, T., and V. Logunova. iaponskaia literatura. Moscow, 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
Orientalism in French literature and art first came to influence the Japanese writer Nagai Kafu (1879-1959), whom Tanizaki deeply respected.
The "floating world" depicted in the popular art of the Edo Period (1603-1868) held an enduring fascination for Nagai Kafu (1879-1959; Nagai is his surname, Kafu his pen name).
Now an emeritus professor at Columbia University, Edward Seiden-sticker is a distinguished translator of numerous Japanese literary works, from the famed eleventh-century masterpiece The Tale of Genji to modern novels by Nagai Kafu and the Nobel laureate Kawabata Yasunari.