Shiga Naoya

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shiga Naoya


Born Feb. 20, 1883. in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture; died Oct. 21, 1971, in Tokyo. Japanese writer.

In his youth Shiga was influenced by Christianity. He joined the humanist group known as Shirakaba (White Birch). His first short story, “One Morning,” was published in 1908. Shiga’s works express sympathy for the unfortunate persons living in bourgeois society, as well as an interest in the subconscious and the secrets of the human soul. The novella Reconciliation (1917) and the short story “The Little Boy’s God in the Shop” (1918) are typical examples. The novel The Path in the Nocturnal Darkness (1921–22) is the story of a young man who, struck by the unexpected blows of fate, finds salvation through spiritual self-perfection. Shiga’s works of the postwar period include the famous short story “The Ashen Moon” (1946). Shiga’s style is marked by austerity and restraint.


In Russian translation:
“Prestuplenie Khana.” Inostrannaia literatura. 1975, no. 1.


Istoriia sovremennoi iaponskoi literatury. Moscow, 1961.
Grigor’eva, T., and V. Logunova. laponskaia literatura. Moscow, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Kobayashi Hideo, one of the most influential critics of modern Japan, used the term "ultra-egoist' for Shiga in his essay on the writer, "Shiga Naoya"(1929).
With these criteria in mind, he mentions certain prominent writers of prose fiction from the last hundred and fifty years, including Natsume Soseki [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1867-1916), Mori Ogai [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1862-1922), Shimazaki Toson [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1872-1943), Shiga Naoya [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1883-1971), Tanizaki Jun'ichiro [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1886-1965), and Kawabata Yasunari [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1899-1972), in addition to Akutagawa.
This book, which provides an excellent entrance into the life and works of modern Japanese writer Shiga Naoya (1883-1971), is divided into two parts.
Suzuki re-reads the works of important modern writers such as Tayama Katai, Shiga Naoya, Nagai Kafu, and Tanizaki Jun'ichiro in determining such major movements as genbunitchi beginning in the late 1880s, the effort to unite spoken and written languages, and the force of Christianity in influencing writers' view of the responsibility of self to society.
After returning to Japan, he taught school in Sapporo and Kyo^Oto; but in 1910 he joined his brothers and their friends Shiga Naoya and Mushanoko^Oji Saneatsu in publishing the journal Shirakaba ("White Birch"), which was dedicated to disseminating humanistic and benevolent ideals.
Notable I novelists include Shiga Naoya, Kasai Zenzo^O, Uno Ko^Oji, Takii Ko^Osaku, and Ozaki Kazuo.
Kobayashi was deeply impressed by the writings of Shiga Naoya, whose realism, as well as the humanitarianism of the Shirakaba ("White Birch") group with which Shiga was associated, provided a model for his own idealistic concern with social problems.
Mushanoko^Oji attended Tokyo Imperial University, but he left without graduating to join Shiga Naoya, Arishima Takeo, and Satomi Ton in founding the influential literary journal Shirakaba ("White Birch").