This article will introduce you to nine talented authors and their famous works.
Firstly, we will talk about Japanese Modernism literature of the end of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century.
Let us begin with the first writer Ichiyo Higuchi. She was born in 1872. Despite her short life of only 24 years, she achieved quite a lot. Higuchi began to learn classical Japanese poetry at a private school in Tokyo. She was a writer and poet, and her achievements are evidenced by the fact that until recently her portrait was depicted on a 5,000 yen banknote. One way or another, many Japanese writers of the 20th century conducted a correspondence dialogue with her. Her most famous works are "Life in the Wilderness" and "The Thirteenth Night".
Mori Ogai was indeed a man of the Enlightenment. He was born in 1862 in Tsuvano, where he lived quite an extraordinary life for his time. He was a doctor and was trained in Germany. He was also given a rank of a general in the military medical service. He participated in the Japanese-Chinese and Russian-Japanese wars, but besides that, he highly contributed to the development of modern Japanese literature. In fact, Mori Ogai was one of the three authors who founded modern Japanese literature. He was also a translator and translated a large number of significant European Classical writings from German to the Japanese language. Some of his most iconic works are "The Dancer" and "The Wild Goose".
Natsume Soseki is a wonderful author and writer. He is also a teacher of Akutagawa. In the Soviet Union, his works were often translated for reading. He was born in 1867. Regarding the soviet publications, I would firstly recommend his famous trilogy: “Sansiro”, “The Gate”, “After”. His first famous satiric novel "Your humble servant the cat”. At 23 years old he became a student at the University of Tokyo and began studying English. He began writing quite late, debuting in 1905 after his return from England. This short period of 11 years is called “years of Soseki”.
The next author is Kafu Nagai and his famous novel “Rivals”. He was born in 1879. He lived in the United States for several years and was one of the founders of the school of aesthetes in Japanese literature. Later he lived in France. His works are famous for describing the life of geishas, the dancers of the early 20th century.
Takeo Arishima was born in 1878. He was a member of the “White Birch” literary association. It was a relatively large literary association that lasted for a long time compared to the other Modernist movements. He was one of the first Japanese writers to commit double suicide. I would recommend his novel “The Women”. It was the first image of a strong woman who dictates her power to men and tries to assert her rights.
Junichiro Tanizaki and his famous novel “Snow landscape”. The writer was born in 1886, his novel has a rather interesting fate. Its first chapters were published in 1943. The military censorship of that time almost completely cut off the publication. In 1944 Tanizaki printed a few hundred copies with his own money and gave them to his friends. The novel glorified a peaceful life. It can be said that in this specific novel Tanizaki showed us the whole of Japan. I would also like to mention his novel “The Little State”, which was written at the end of World War I and anticipated the era of totalitarianism not only in the east but also in the west.
Ryunosuke Akutagawa is one of the most famous Japanese authors. He was born in 1892. Many people begin their acquaintance with Japanese literature specifically with Akutagawa, but it makes sense to read the works of his teacher Natsume Soseki first. The writer was born in a poor family and was a student at the faculty of English literature. His first work "The Old Man" was marked by fairly early success.
Osamu Dazai was born in 1909. There have been several film adaptations to his work as well as an autobiographical film released. His death became an end of the Modernism era in Japan. His main work is “Confessions of an Inferior Person”.
Yasunari Kawabata is the first Japanese awardee of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968. He was born in 1899. He was a younger contemporary of Tanizaki, Akutagawa, and many others. Almost all of his main works were translated and published in the Soviet Union. His writings have a sort of therapeutic effect on psychological well-being. His main works include: "The Groan of the Mountain", "The Old Capital", "The Thousand-winged Crane", etc.