The Moon on the Water

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The Moon on the Water

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<p>[This page intentionally left blank.] Modern Japanese Stories-1-</p> <p>MODERN This work has been accepted in the Japanese Translations Series of the Unesco Collection of Representative Works, jointly sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the Japanese National Commission for Unesco -2-</p> <p>MODERN JAPANESE STORIES An AnthologyEDITED BY Ivan Morris WITH TRANSLATION BY Edward Seidensticker George Sait Geoffrey Sargent Ivan Morris AND WOODCUTS BY Masakazu Kuwata CHARLES E. TUTTLE COMPANY Rutland, Vermont - Tokyo, Japan</p> <p>-3To A.M. European Representative: BOXERBOOKS, INC.: Zurich Published by the Charles E. Tuttle Company of Rutland, Vermont, and Tokyo, Japan with editorial offices at 15 Edogawa-cho, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo Copyright in Japan, 1962, by Charles E. Tuttle Co. All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 61-11971 First edition, 1962</p> <p>Book design and typography by M. Weatherby Printed in Japan -4TABLE OF CONTENTS</p> <p>Introduction : MORI GAI : Under Reconstruction : TOKUDA SHSEI : Order of the White Paulownia : NAGAI KAF : Hydrangea : SHIGA NAOYA : Seibei's Gourds : TANIZAKI JUNICHIR : Tattoo : KIKUCHI KAN : On the Conduct of Lord Tadanao : SATOMI TON : The Camellia : MUR SAISEI : Brother and Sister : SAT HARUO : The House of a Spanish Dog : AKUTAGAWA RYNOSUK : "Autumn Mountain" : OGAWA MIMEI : The Handstand : HAYAMA YOSHIKI : Letter Found in a Cement-Barrel : IBUS MASUJI : The Charcoal Bus : YOKOMITSU RIICHI : Machine : KAWABATA YASUNARI : The Moon on the Water : IT EINOSUK: Nightingale : NAGAI TATSUO : Morning Mist : NIWA FUMIO : The Hateful Age :-5-</p> <p>9 35 45 65 81 90 101 138 144 162 173 185 204 211 223 245 258 302 320</p> <p>HAYASHI FUMIKO : Downtown : HIRABAYASHI TAIKO : A Man's Life : SAKAGUCHI ANGO : The Idiot : INOU YASUSHI : Shotgun : NAKAJIMA TON : Tiger-Poet : DAZAI OSAMU : The Courtesy Call : MISHIMA YUKIO : The Priest and His Love : Selected Bibliography : Index of Authors : Index of Translators :-6-</p> <p>349 365 383 416 452 464 481 503 510 511</p> <p>ACKNOWLEDGMENTSACKNOWLEDGMENTS are due to the Japan Quarterly for permission to use the translations of "Seibei's Gourds " (there called "The Artist "), "Autumn Mountain, " "Tiger-Poet " ("The Wild Beast "), and "The Hateful Age "; to Today's Japan for "Under Reconstruction, " "The Handstand " ("Wager in Midair "), and "The Courtesy Call " ("A Visitor "); to the Paris Review for "Tattoo " ("The Victim "); to United Asia for "The Moon</p> <p>on the Water "; to Grove Press for "Downtown " ("Tokyo "); and to Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., for permission to translate works by Tanizaki, Kawabata, and Mishima. -7-</p> <p>FACTUAL NOTES 1. Japanese names are given in the usual Japanese order, with the family name preceding the personal name. Well-known writers in Japan are often called by their personal names, especially after their deaths. Thus most people refer to Ogai and Sseki, although their respective surnames were Mori and Natsum. 2. Japanese vowels are pronounced as in Spanish or Italian, each being given approximately its full value. Consonants are much as in English, except that g is always hard. Macrons, used to indicate long o's and u's, have been omitted from such common place names as Tokyo and Kobe and from words like Shinto and Shogunate. Acute accents have occasionally been used in such words as Ab and sak that might otherwise be mispronounced. 3. The period names Meiji, Taish, and Shwa are frequently used in the introduction and in the notes on the authors. These refer to the reigns of the three modern emperors and have much the same significance in a literary discussion as do Victorian, Edwardian, and the like in English. The periods are: Meiji, 1868-1912; Taish, 1912-1926; Shwa, 1926 to date. 4. A rough indication of money equivalents may be helpful since prices, wages, etc., are frequently mentioned in the stories. One hundred sen equal one yen. In terms of English and American currencies, since 1949 the value of 1,000 yen has remained stable at approximately $2.80 or 1. By referring to the date of a story, the reader can determine the approximate money equivalent from the following table, which is based on the price of rice, the main staple commodity; the second figure in each pair shows the value of one yen in terms of 1958 prices: 1912=615.00; 1930=456.00; 1940= 286.00; 1944=232.00; 1946=42.00; 1949=-1.70; 1954=1.08.-8-</p> <p>INTRODUCTIONBY Ivan Morris CONTEMPORARY literature in Japan, despite its remote ancestry, may be regarded as a new literature, scarcely beyond its formative stage. The Meiji Restoration, which ended two and a half centuries of strictest seclusion, marked a departure in Japanese writing, as it did in politics, education, and so many other fields. For a general understanding of the modern Japanese novel or short story it is hardly necessary to go back more than a century. The Japanese language has undergone a continuous development since the earliest times and to this extent modern fiction derives stylistically from classical and medieval writing. Even here, however, the Restoration had an important effect by bringing the literary language closer to that of ordinary speech. The major influences can be found among works of foreign</p> <p>literature introduced into Japan after about 1860 and among certain important Japanese writers of the Meiji period. This introduction cannot attempt to present a systematic history of modern Japanese literature, but it may be worthwhile to indicate a few general trends that can help the reader to view in context the twenty-five stories presented here. A note concerning each of the twentyfive authors and his place in modern Japanese writing has been placed before his story. The historical approach has many dangers. Too much concentration on "social backgrounds," "literary influences," and "schools of writing" may lead us to read the stories, not as independent works, but as representatives of some particular period, and to regard their writers, not as unique individuals having their own views of life and their -9characteristic methods of expression, but simply as members of certain literary schools with established outlooks or programs. When, however, we are faced with a writing as remote from most Western readers as that of Japan, the historical approach can hardly be avoided. As Mr. Angus Wilson has said: "To read the literature of a civilization or age entirely or almost entirely unfamiliar emphasizes one's unconscious dependence on historical background. To begin with, the unfamiliar is likely immediately to present a number of specious qualities--the 'quaint', the 'charming' the 'horrific'--which are merely attempts to come to terms with a strange world on a surface level. Greater familiarity always destroys the immediate impressions." In few countries is the dividing line that marks the beginning of the "modern" period so clear as in Japan. What historians term the Meiji Restoration was the result of interacting processes that had been continuing for a very long time. When these processes finally reached their culmination, the collapse of the old regime, which had given the country some two and a half centuries of peace and stability, occurred with remarkable speed. In 1867 the gradual stagnation and disintegration of the economic system, increasing pressure from foreign powers, and the revolt of four of the great clans combined with numerous other factors to bring about the downfall of the centralized feudal government that had been in the hands of a succession of military rulers belonging to the Tokugawa family. Political power was handed over in 1867 to the Emperor Meiji and his advisers. In the years that followed, every effort was made to abolish feudalism, especially in its political and economic aspects, and to turn Japan into a centralized nation-state on the European model. The political structure was completely reorganized and a capitalist economy rapidly developed with the impetus of a belated industrial revolution. In the effort to become "modern," countless old customs, habits, and heritages were scrapped in a wave of cultural iconoclasm which at one stage went so far that there were serious proposals to replace the Japanese language by English and the native religions by Christianity. Following 1868 every effort was made to adopt the techniques and culture of the West. Japan, which for two hundred and fifty years had -10to a large extent been isolated from the main stream of Western development, tried in the period of a few decades to absorb everything from the outside that would turn her into a modern nineteenth-century state; such a state might be able to deal with foreign nations on a</p> <p>basis of equality and, above all, to avoid the fate that had overtaken other materially backward Asian countries. By the last decade of the century the Meiji oligarchy had succeeded in forging a modern military establishment which enabled the country to defeat China in 1895 and, one decade later, to win the war against Russia, thus establishing Japan as one of the Great Powers. The cumulative effect on the country's literature of all these immense changes can hardly be overestimated. Nonetheless, the destruction of the old and the adoption of the new was not immediately reflected in Japanese writing. The original aim of the oligarchy was to import the techniques of the West while preserving the Japanese "spirit" intact. Chimerical as this ideal eventually proved to be, it caused the emphasis to be placed at first on the material aspects of Westernization. There was a cultural lag of some fifteen years during which literature continued on its course, relatively unaffected by Western influences. This literature, it should be noted, had sunk to a remarkably low level. The prose fiction of the late Tokugawa period was in a groove of mediocrity, having largely lost the power and originality that animated the work of the great prose writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, such as Saikaku, Kiseki, and Akinari. Frivolous tales about courtesans, banal stories of licentiousness in the gay quarters, and prolix works of a didactic nature were the stock-intrade of the early nineteenth-century prose writers with only two or three notable exceptions. Had late Tokugawa literature been more vigorous and creative, it is possible that the literary impact of Western culture would have proved to be less overwhelming. As it was, the introduction of European culture resulted in a major break with the past that has no parallel in any of the important literatures of the West. Until about 1860 the only foreign literary influences of importance had come from China. For over two centuries, contacts with Europe had by and large been limited to the small Dutch settlement off Nagasaki; and there the focus was on trade rather than culture. Translations -11of European literature began in the 1860's, but it was not until 1878 that the first complete novel from the West was translated into Japanese. As in the case of many of the early translations, the choice, Bulwer- Lytton's "Ernest Maltravers," strikes one as peculiar. Practical information was at least as important a criterion as literary value in introducing books from the West and one of the most successful of all the early importations was Samuel Smiles' utilitarian tract, "SelfHelp." The novels of Disraeli, reflecting modern political processes, were also given a strange degree of attention. In the 1880's the trickle of Western works grew into a stream and, by the end of the century, into a mighty torrent which is still continuing in the present day. Several of the most gifted writers of the Meiji period devoted much of their energies to the translation of one or more European authors; indeed, it was mainly through these translations that the reading public first became acquainted with the various aspects of modern fiction. In many cases Japanese writers then tried to produce the same type of novels in Japanese, with rather surprising results. One Japanese author, for example, under the impact of "Crime and Punishment," wrote a story about the life and tribulations of a man belonging to the untouchable eta class. For even in these early days of direct assimilation, European literary influence was rarely a matter of straightforward imitation. Naive interpretation, and often misunderstanding, of the models played a capital part in the process of absorbing Western literature. As a modern Japanese critic, Mr. Yoshida Kenichi, has pointed out, Tolstoy "Resurrection" when first introduced into Japan was considered to be merely a romantic tale of unhappy love.</p> <p>The main effect of the influx from the West was not so much to provide specific literary models as to encourage Japanese to break away from sterile traditions and to describe in a more or less realistic way the brave new world that they saw growing up about them. The year 1885 is generally regarded as a key date in the development of modern Japanese fiction. That year saw the publication of "The Essence of the Novel" (Shsetsu Shinzui) by Tsubouchi Shy ( 1859- 1935). Not only was this the first important critical work of the new era, but it was the first serious theoretical study of the novel in Japan. During the Tokugawa period, and indeed ever since the days of "The Tale ofGenji," -12Genji, scholars had looked down on prose fiction, which was widely regarded as being fit only for women, children, and the lesser breeds. Writers like Saikaku were largely ignored and critical attention was concentrated on tanka and other forms of classical poetry and, to a lesser extent, on dramatic works. As a rule, the only novelists who were accorded any respect were didactic writers like Bakin. One result of the introduction of Western literature was to enhance the position of prose fiction in Japan. Like so many of the important literary figures of the Meiji period, Tsubouchi Shy devoted a considerable part of his time to translation. He was a specialist in English literature and among other things he translated the complete works of Shakespeare into Japanese. His acquaintance with the writing of the West brought home to him the low state of fiction in Japan. A considerable part of "The Essence of the Novel" is concerned with criticizing the current state of Japanese fiction in the light of literary lessons from Europe. Tsubouchi referred to the recent resurgence of the novel in Japan as a result of new printing methods and of increasing literacy. The standard, however, was low: "An endless number of the most diverse novels and romances is now being produced in our country and the bookshelves groan under their weight; yet they all consist of mere foolishness." * Tsubouchi blamed this on the lack of discrimination among readers and on the failure of writers themselves to cut loose from the late Tokugawa tradition of tedious didacticism. In the typical spirit of the Meiji...</p>

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